I don't know what it is about a tight-lipped scowl that is supposed to be appealing, but it's a look that seems to be working for Jason Statham. Although not as well established as the 007 series, his Bond-like character, Frank Martin, is back for a third installment of the Transporter franchise.
After the death of his friend (David Atrakchi), Frank is coerced into carrying a special package from Marseilles to Odessa. Waking up in a sterile cell, the transporter, who's been shanghaied by an American criminal named Johnson (Robert Knepper), finds himself cuffed with an explosive-laden bracelet that blows up if he gets too far away from his beloved BMW. Frank is also saddled with a sullen passenger -- the kidnapped daughter of a high-ranking official. Like her chauffeur, Valentina (Natalya Rudakova) is sporting a similar accessory that keeps her from wandering. In addition to the transmitter that monitors the wristbands, Johnson has outfitted Frank's car with all the latest GPS gadgets to ensure the gruff ex-special forces operator doesn't detour from his assignment.
Yet this delivery job is only one cog in a bigger scheme of governmental blackmail that involves Leonid Vasilev (Jeroen Krabbé), the Head of the Environmental Protection Agency for the Ukraine. Working on a tight schedule, Frank, with the help of his friend Inspector Tarconi (François Berléand) of the Marseilles police department, tries to stay one step ahead of another gang of gun-toting thugs who are tailing him and Valentina as they make their way across the continent.
Like the previous pair of films (The Transporter and Transporter 2), this mission is bloated with gunfire, dead bodies (nearly two dozen by my count) and explosive car crashes. Intense scenes of hand-to-hand combat between the stoic operative and a mob of wrench-wielding brutes combine with tire-screeching dashes through the narrow European streets. While the martial arts choreography by Corey Yuen and the stunt driving feats by Brieann Rich and Nicholas Rich will wow audiences, they are also void of any consequences or reality -- just the kind of thing teens and young adults will likely find appealing about this balding but buff tough guy's operation.
Breaking his cardinal rule of never getting involved with his cargo, Frank also strips off his expensive suit coat and tie for more than just a fight in this film. Yet the reason he would let a whiney little waif bully him into undressing when he can take on an army of heavies single-handedly is never exposed (unlike his chest).
Mixing up a toxic concoction of violence, profanities and illegal drugs combined with vodka, Transporter 3's driver-for-hire delivers a rough ride for any family viewers who unwittingly haul themselves into his theater for an evening of entertainment.