Transporter 2 took this premise and ratcheted it up to “11”.
Here we have the 3rd movie, directed rather appropriately by Oliver Megaton (no doubt a “shoo in” director for Transformers 3), where reality is again suspended, added to and then left behind completely.
To ensure that the story has some relevancy, the plot mixes in a bit of corruption in high (ish) places. Luc Besson on writing duties, then retrofits a pointless “green enviro” slant to an otherwise by the numbers second tier, action movie.
The only note of interest is that Frank and the “package”, are fitted with handcuffs that will explode if taken more than 75 feet away from the car. Statham must by now, just wish he could be in a movie without such plot contrivances.
Statham again gets to beat up disposable “Euro baddies” in bloodless set piece battles, where 10 nameless heavies decide to attack one at a time with wrenches and screwdrivers rather than the preferred and more effective, albeit less cinematic, machine gun. Statham looks in as good a shape as anyone his age possibly could but here he has no-one to act against.
Whilst we expect actors to act against green screens for special effects, this is not normally so when interacting with the other characters. Here, there are no named actors and even the bad guy (Robert Knepper) gently mauls the scenery rather than chewing it, as required in movies such as this.
Of course the kidnapped daughter is a beauty (a freckly Natalya Rudokova) who does nothing to save herself apart from drink vodka and take party pills, good to see female empowerment in the movies. Naturally Valentina makes time between two wheeled car chases to fall in love with Frank, “I want to make the sex now” she tells him. Maybe she would better spending the time taking acting classes. Dialogue is issued without inflection or believability, in a stilted pseudo Russian/Ukranian pantomine accent.
Inspector Tarconis is again conscripted to largely do nothing, other than follow along cleaning up Frank’s mess, even assisting in restarting Franks Audi A8 W12 at one point. Impressive work, bearing in mind the car only minutes before, was at the bottom of a river following a jump off a bridge. Nonetheless, with a quick wipe down and before you can say – does this invalidate the warranty, the car is ready to jump off another bridge onto a moving train
There is no harm in a movie being unbelievable but you have to believe the unbelievable, the actors have to sell it to the audience.
For a movie that is all about the “car porn” we get few chases and stunts and those we do get, are speeded up and slowed down so much, that some scenes resemble a “Benny Hill” episode. It is doubtful this is what the director intended. CGI is used relatively sparingly but the Bourne series has shown how this needs to work and here the action is clearly on a cheaper budget and not nearly as effective.
Statham emerges yet again with his credibility intact but he can do better and it is frustrating to see his physical and acting talents again being wasted.
With a half decent story and decent stunts this could be filed under “guilty pleasure”, however with neither, this can only be placed in the avoid category.
Will someone please give Statham a decent film to recognise his undoubted talents?
Fans of Eurotrash action movies may just be satisfied, everyone else can delete the word Euro.