When I asked a fellow critic if he could catch me up on the plot of the first two Transporter films, he replied, “Jason Statham’s kicking ass and taking names.” The third time around we get more cartoon violence (a car leaps into overdrive, spinning vertically on two wheels at 120 mph, whirling between two Mack trucks) and crazed romancing, now between our hero and an underage-looking sex kitten (Natalya Rudakova, as the “package” being transported) who bites on her thumb and becomes increasingly turned on by Statham as he fends off a dozen thugs using a variety of colorful props, including a grand piano, a necktie and a bicycle. The aesthetic seems less inspired by the jittery handheld chaos of the Bourne movies than it is by the ultra-slick, sexy-sheen, redundant style of car commercials, where the images drift over metallic surfaces as if caressing them like a lover. It feels like French filmmakers have gone beyond imitating American action flicks, transforming them into something else—the equivalent of a sexy McDonald’s ad where someone is munching on a Big Mac while drinking pink desert wine. Statham, an appealing superstar with a knack for elevating B-action flicks, is chiseled and remote as a steel plate, but his wry line deliveries recall, dare I say, the early days of Sean Connery as 007. An opening scene of him deep-sea fishing with his best friend, where they try and nab their big catch of the day while discussing the merits of Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin, is a ridiculous bid for generating suspense from mundane sport. The scene recalls the similarly, spectacularly absurd banality of Goldfinger, where the first-act cliffhanger hinges on whether our international super-spy will win against the nefarious mastermind of evil during a nine-inning game of golf.
- Olivier Megaton
- Luc Besson, Robert Mark Kamen
- Jason Statham, Natalya Rudakova, Francois Berleand, Jeroen Krabbé, Robert Knepper
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