But director Olivier Megaton makes a muddle of this no-brainer. The fight scenes, in which Statham takes on 10 guys at a time while dressed in crisp business attire, look cartoonishly choreographed.
The lone driving stunt is so implausible that it appears to have been lifted from The Love Bug.
At one point, Statham chases down a sports car while pedaling madly on a kids' bike. Pathétique!
The plot: Statham is forced into an assignment that takes him from his base in Marseilles all across Europe. He's stuck with a passenger: the glum party girl Valentina (Natalya Rudakova). Both are fitted with bracelets that will explode if they venture more than 100 feet from the car. (Just for the purpose of consistency, shouldn't that be 30 meters?)
There's also a needlessly complicated subplot about a Ukrainian minister (Jeroen Krabbé), an environmental crusader who is being blackmailed into accepting highly toxic materials.
Statham as always is riveting, even in this dismayingly chatty action film padded with too much downtime.
None of those flaws, however, is likely to prevent Transporter 4.
Transporter 3 *1/2 (out of four stars)
Directed by Olivier Megaton. With Jason Statham, Natalya Rudakova, Robert Knepper and Jeroen Krabbé. Distributed by Lionsgate.
Running time: 1 hour, 40 mins.
Parent's guide: PG-13 (violence, sexual content, drug use)
Playing at: area theaters
Contact staff writer David Hiltbrand at firstname.lastname@example.org or 215-854-4552. Read his recent work at http:// go.philly.com/daveondemand.