Frank Martin (Jason Statham), a professional "transporter," has relocated to Paris to continue his low-key business of delivering packages without questions.
For those who believe that more is better, "Transporter 3" is the best of the unapologetically ridiculous series.
The car stunts, which are really the main point, have virtually entered the realm of cartoons. The combination of digital effects and over-caffeinated editing gives the big automotive scenes a curious kind of humor. The big finish here may not match the moment where the helicopter flew into the tunnel in "Mission: Impossible," but it certainly makes no more sense. All you can do is laugh.
Once again, our hero is Frank Martin (Jason Statham), the gruff, taciturn, really ripped driver who always delivers his cargo. The plot has something to do with a shipload of lethal toxic waste and nasty American millionaire Johnson (Robert Knepper) who wants to get rid of it.
Meanwhile in Marseille, France, Frank and pal Inspector Tarconi (François Berléand) are fishing. After an explosive car crash, Frank and his beloved black Audi are forced to deliver a package to Budapest. Two catches: First, he has a passenger, the sullen, trashy, freckle-faced Valentina (Natalya Rudakova); second, Frank and Valentina are wearing bracelets that will blow up if they wander more than 75 feet from the Audi.
Mayhem, of course, ensues.
The hyperactive editing is most intrusive in the fight scenes, where violence is thoroughly sanitized. The sequences are so choppy that Frank can confront a dozen guys and dispatch all of them without the viewer seeing a single punch connect. Again, the comparison to cartoons comes to mind. Such are the fruits of the PG-13 rating.
Statham handles this silly stuff with the same brooding intensity that he brought to the first films, though it seems increasingly inappropriate and irrelevant. As he showed in the underrated "The Bank Job," he can handle more serious roles, but action fans probably aren't interested in that. Overall, the production has the polish and pace that producer/co-writer Luc Besson's work is known for. Any complaints about the lack of substance are pointless.
--Mike Mayo (Nov. 26, 2008)
Contains violence, sexual material, language and drug use.
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