Movie Mom

Frank Martin (Jason Statham) is in the transport business. If he accepts the job he guarantees delivery with three rules: once the deal is made, no details may be changed, no names provided by either side for deniability, and a promise that he will not open the package.

Rules are made to be broken, of course. And it is one of the unbroken rules of Transporter movies is that seeing how Frank keeps and does not keep those three rules is part of the fun. The other unbroken rules: there will be a DoD (damsel in distress) who will be both lovely and smitten. Frank will have to take on many bad guys at once but they will not gang up on him at the same too much time or try to shoot him so he can show off his acrobatic hand-to-hand, kick-to-face combat skills, and Frank will do some truly amazing things with his car. These rules are inviolate but some other guys’ rules will be broken: those principles from people like Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein. Who cares about the laws of physics when there’s a chance for some really cool and stylish acrobatics? That’s what athlete-turned actors and special effects are for!

The third in the series is a return to the form of the first Transporter with no pretense of the sentimentality of the second, which involved a child and his mother. Frank and his car are stripped down to essentials here. There’s no delay while his friend the French cop (the reliable François Berléand) has to pretend he is a suspect because they are fishing together when the mayhem begins. Next thing we know, Frank has been forced to accept a new delivery job. His car has been emptied of all of its special gadgets (except for the revolving license plates) and he has been fitted with a wrist cuff that will blow him to bits if he gets too far from the automobile. There’s one just like it on the arm of the DoD, a freckled red-head with an accent and an attitude.

Americans and polluters seem to be the villains du jour (see also “Quantum of Solace”). Nothing much there, but there are some lovely fight scenes courtesy of martial arts choreographer Corey Yuen, who also worked on the first two films. But by the time Frank has to find a way to rescue not just himself but his car after they drive off the side of a bridge into the water (being shot at by lots of bad guys) and somehow gets the trunk of the car to open underwater while taking a couple of hits of oxygen off of the tire and at the same time creating a sort of parachute apparatus to get them both back up to the surface not to mention being able to drive it as soon as they get on land — the series seems to be in need of a few hits of oxygen, too.

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