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Transporter 3


Stars: Jason Statham, Natalya Rudakova, Robert Knepper, Francois Berleand, Jeroen Krabbe

Director: Olivier Megaton

How much of this thriller is meant to be funny is hard to assess. At any rate, you'll admire the action and fall about at the rest, as transporter Frank Martin (Statham) who takes anything anywhere, breaks all his own rules - never ask for names, never open the package, never get involved - after a transporting colleague crashes into his apartment with a Ukrainian girl (Rudakova) in the back.

Before he knows it, Frank has taken his (now dead) friend's place, with bracelets around his and the girl's wrists, set to explode if they go far from the car. The girl is a hostage in a conspiracy to gain control of Ukrainian garbage (I think) and has to be taken from France to Odessa after which, of course, Frank will be surplus to requirements.

More invincible in action than Jet Li, Frank is on two occasions confronted with a dozen heavies, demolishing them in the blink of an eye. 'You fight good,' husks Natalya, adjusting the clean shirt and tie he has whipped from the car boot, 'but you tie bad.'

Frank continues to demonstrate miraculous skills - especially on a bicycle - to stay alive, and Natalya is tossed hither and yon in some Bondian car pursuits. 'I like-a da rough stuff,' squeaks the nymphet breathlessly, before ludicrously seducing Frank on a hilltop, after popping a couple of pills. Frank is hooked. 'Soon, ' he assures the pouting Natalya, 'this is all going to be a fading memory. You and me laughing over a chicken Kiev.'

Well, he's headed in the right direction, but first there's the depths of a lake to escape from and the dispatch of the chief villain (Knepper), who suffers from that familiar bad-guy bugbear of shooting his own henchmen.

It's hard to know where to look as Jason and Natalya feign passion against the setting sun; but calm your aching sides and wait for the slick crash-bang-wallop of the next action scene. And, even though he's no Sean Connery, nor even Pierce Brosnan, Statham should still sue scriptwriter Luc Besson for not giving him a few lines with just a little more wit.

David Quinlan

USA/UK/France 2008. UK Distributor: Icon. Colour.
104 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 1, Swearing 0.

Review date: 29 Nov 2008