Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Jason Statham could use a decent Ham Sandwich.

I just rented the latest in the 'Transporter' series, which should put to rest any notion that I'm some kind of a film snob. I can't help but like Jason Statham, even though he's made an entire career as an actor –– movie star, really –– without ever once cracking a smile.

This is, of course, a blog dedicated to lessons in filmmaking and the lesson I want to deal with today is internal consistency. Or to put it in simple terms, The Ham Sandwich.

The Ham Sandwich is capitalized because it's a concept I learned about in film school. The notion was attributed by my professor to Alfred Hitchcock, although a quick Google search didn't bring up any relevant hits. So take it as an idea that may or may not have come from Hitchcock, by way of a teacher whose name I can't remember.

Enough premumble. The story, as I heard it, was that Hitchcock screened his latest masterpiece only to have somebody point out a logical flaw in the story. Hitchcock told him (or her, who knows?) that it was okay because it was a Ham Sandwich. The idea being that sure, it was a flaw, but it was the kind of flaw audiences wouldn't notice while they were watching the film. It was only later, while they were eating a ham sandwich, that the flaw would become apparent.

Which brings me to 'Transporter 3'. Frank Martin is coerced into transporting Valentina, the minister's daughter who's been kidnapped. He doesn't know she's been kidnapped, but she does. And she doesn't tell him until 3/4 of the way through the film, even though they exchange not only conversation, but bodily fluids.

My point is this: There are two flaws in the story. (Okay, there are a lot of flaws in the story, but I'm only going to talk about two of them.) The first is that a kidnapped minister's daughter needs to be transported in the first place, the second is that a kidnapped minister's daughter wouldn't think to mention to the guy who's clearly been coerced into transporting her against his will that she, too, has not chosen to be put in this situation.

The first flaw is excusable because, well, it's called 'Transporter'. I'd allow that to be a Ham Sandwich. The second flaw is a hole. A big fat hole. The kind of hole that doesn't wait until after the film to present itself to you.

I'm okay with a Ham Sandwich. Where I draw the line is with stuff that takes you out of the experience of the film.

No wonder Jason never smiles.


  1. Sounds like something Hitchcock would come up with. The Ham Sandwich that he has with his "MacGuffin" and Tea.

  2. that sounds good rite about now