Frank Martin has been pressured into transporting Valentina, the kidnapped daughter of Leonid Vasilev, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency for the Ukraine, from Marseilles through Stuttgart and Budapest until he ends up in Odessa on the Black Sea. Along the way, with the help of Inspector Tarconi, Frank has to contend with the people who strong armed him to take the job, agents sent by Vasilev to intercept him, and the general non-cooperation of his passenger. Despite Valentina's cynical disposition and his resistance to get involved, Frank and Valentina fall for each other, while escaping from one life-threatening situation after another.
Trying to get out but regretfully pulled back in, uber-driver Frank Martin (Jason Statham), in his third misadventure in the Transporter
series, eschews retirement to hit the road again--but under unique duress. Frank's services as a wheel man are wanted by a pathological villain, Johnson (Robert Knepper), who pressures him to drive Valentina (Natalya Rudakova), the party-girl daughter of a Ukrainian official (Jeroen Krabbé), across Eastern Europe as part of an environmentally-unfriendly blackmail scheme. The story's gimmick is that Johnson outfits Frank and Valentina with wrist bracelet bombs that will go off if either of them gets more than 75 feet away from the car.
That limitation sets up several enjoyable suspense sequences, including a complicated chase after Frank's car is stolen, forcing him to keep up with the speeding vehicle via a bicycle. Car stunts, no surprise, are plentiful, capped by a breathtaking scene in which Frank drives atop a speeding train. Obligatory fight scenes are no less imaginative, involving numerous confrontations between the hero and a lot of very big bad guys, occasionally using articles of Frank's clothes as unexpected weapons. The script, co-written by the estimable French director Luc Besson (The Professional), has its flaws, such as an awkward striptease by Frank in order to secure the impulsive Valentina's cooperation. But overall, this is a fine popcorn movie with a satisfying conclusion and lots of comedy on the side. --Tom Keogh