In Luc Besson’s Universe, Transporter 3 Is ‘Realism’


Luc Besson, a French term meaning “Joel Silver,” has latterly become xXx and The Fast and the Furious producer Neal H. Moritz’s lone rival as reigning king of action cinema du fromage, and the gleefully preposterous Transporter franchise is his ripest creation: a hurtling block-sized brick of Camembert that crushes anything in its path. Once again, good taste and common sense cower in the backseat as Jason Statham—super-ripped, bullet-headed, and expression-adjusted to Perma-Scowl—reprises his role as the world’s studliest deliveryman. The package, this time, is a Ukrainian diplomat’s kidnapped daughter (Natalya Rudakova), a bargaining chip played by thuggish corporateers to thwart environmental reforms; the gimmick is a liquid-bomb bracelet set to go boom if Statham strays more than 75 feet from his car. Fat chance of that: Statham’s single-minded gearhead only has eyes for his Audi A8, allowing himself to be seduced only so he can get back his keys (while baring his human-vibrator physique). Directed by Olivier Megaton (no shit) and scripted by longtime collaborators Besson and Robert Mark Kamen, the movie has more lags in action than either of the previous episodes, and somehow the dialogue is even more daft: When easygoing detective buddy François Berléand isn’t sidetracking the action with musings on Dostoyevsky, the leads pass the time between martial-arts throwdowns, 200-mph chases, and extinction-level explosions with not one but four separate discussions of cooking technique. But here’s all fans need to know: Yes, Statham strips to the waist multiple times; yes, two dozen hopelessly outnumbered kung fu goons take on our lone hero one by one; and yes, he manages to outpace his Audi by bicycling through a congested sweatshop, freestyling over tables and down hallways, and Evel Knieveling through an upstairs window. In the Besson universe, God bless it, this is called “realism.”