“Transporter 3”
Lionsgate
At the Quality 16 and Showcase

Courtesy of Lionsgate

1.5 out of 5 Stars

Jason Statham (“The Bank Job”) likes to kick the crap out of people. And when you watch him kick the crap out of his 2,383rd anonymous black-jacketed bad guy in “Transporter 3,” you’ve got to wonder how long he can keep this up.

Statham has been developing a Bruce Willis-like film persona over the last decade. “Transporter 3” makes it clear he’s not giving it up any time soon.

Statham plays Frank Martin, the “transporter” of the title, a person who moves goods from one place to another. The items he moves can be legal or otherwise — he doesn’t ask questions. As it turns out, the illegal items are usually the ones that get him into trouble.

This time Martin is trapped in a bad deal with an innocuously smooth and evil villain, which requires him to utilize the most effective means of transporting things in an action movie — a pimped-out car. With a sassy woman in the passenger seat and aid from his friends, he must deliver the car to a certain destination before time runs out. Why? Well, do you really care?

The movie features the usual high-octane action fanfare: karate, exploding cars, exotic Euro-girls, shirtless scenes and half-assed plot devices. In short, “Transporter 3” is everything you’ve come to expect from a “Transporter” flick. And that’s why the movie sucks. It’s just another dumb “guy movie.”

This isn’t to say that all action flicks are brainless testosterone-fests. “The Italian Job” and “The Bank Job” were great films. And, to give “Transporter 3” some credit, there’s actually one decent chase scene where Frank is pursuing an Audi with a motor bike. The Stooges’s punk-rock thrasher “I Wanna Be Your Dog” plays in the background, producing just enough driving energy to push the action forward as Frank plows through the backstreets. But this is just one scene in a film full of otherwise generic set-pieces.

If you’re a fan of the “Transporter” series — and there must be a lot of you out there or else this wouldn’t have become a trilogy — then there’s probably no point in trying to convince you these are bad movies. The film’s got the formula pretty much right, though: Fans will love this movie. It’s big, loud, aggressive and cut like a poor man’s Jerry Bruckheimer flick. Tony Scott (“Top Gun”) would be proud. For the rest of us, though, these films will probably elicit a migraine.

The better thing to do would be to save your $12 and just wait the year and a half for this film to appear on TV. And, between Statham’s all-too-similar violent, head-smashing roles in films like “War,” “Crank” and “Death Race,” it’s no wonder Statham has trouble keeping down serious work. It seems like he can’t go one film without flaunting his abs mid-roundhouse kick, a la Chuck Norris. It’s not impressive anymore.

Statham’s got the potential for better roles. But, to put it bluntly, he’s only as good as the movies he’s in. Being typecast as the beefcake action-man is the perfect path for someone looking to become a Jean-Claude Van Damme or Steven Seagal. “Transporter 3” is not even as good as “Star Wars III.” The film actually feels more like “American Ninja 5.” Don’t remember that one? Well you won’t remember this one either.

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