There is a ship containing a huge cargo of toxic waste afloat in the sea, but who takes responsibility for it is something that has not been decided yet, although for the man assisting that process, Johnson (Robert Knepper), he hopes it will all be resolved soon. In fact, he is going to make sure of it as he has kidnapped the daughter of the Ukranian minister (Jeroen Krabbé) who can accept the waste, and if the minister refuses to go along with his demands, the consequences will be dire. But what of professional driver Frank Martin (Jason Statham)?
He's having a quiet time fishing, but if you've seen the previous Transporter movies, you'll know that won't last. When he hears news of a car chase in the small French port where he stays, thanks to his detective friend Tarconi (series regular François Berléand), he wonders what may be up, but gets more than an inkling when that fleeing driver happens to smash his vehicle through the wall of his house. Something wrong with the doorbell? Anyway, he manages to get vital information to Frank before the ambulance takes him away, but omits the most important thing.
That being, he is wearing a bracelet that will explode with mighty force should he get seventy-five yards away from the transmitter in his car. Obviously something is up, but Frank only realises that he will be dragged into this when he meets the girl on the back seat, Valentina, who is, you guessed it, the missing daughter of the minister. She was played by Natalya Rudakova, a Russian hairdresser who writer and producer Luc Besson noticed on the street in New York and thought, that's our Valentina! Alas, you can tell that she had little acting experience, as while she may look striking, she can do little to make her character appealing.
For too much of the story Valentina comes across on the spoilt brat side of movie heroines, and it's an uphill climb to find much to warm to about her, but don't blame Rudakova, blame the hedonist clichés the script instructs her to perform. Soon Frank has met with Johnson, who he didn't want to have anything to do with, and has been forced to escort the girl to Bucharest for mysterious reasons - nobody tells him much of anything this time around, although he is aware he's working for the bad guys when he is given one of those explody bracelets to wear, meaning he can't stray too far away from his beloved vehicle.
This leads to some of the better scenes in the movie, though rest assured there is a fast-cut action sequence every fifteen minutes or less, but the notion that if Frank tries to get away he will be blown up is capitalised on with a neat sense of fun. It's not lighthearted exactly, but likely it will make you laugh a few times, as for example Statham gets into a Cory Yuen choreographed fight with about ten other guys where he just had to strip to the waist so we can get a good look as his rippling torso, or the bit where he manages to escape from pursuing cars by driving on two wheels between a couple of trucks, seemingly for the hell of it. Transporter 3 didn't do much that the previous two didn't do, but for a third instalment it was nice to see fresh ideas keeping the plot moving, and Statham was obviously in his element. Yes, it was bloody stupid at times, but that was not a problem if you wanted pure escapism. Music by Alexandre Azaria.