Jason Statham is the next Bruce Willis. Or at least that's what he thinks.
Trading off the same sub-Willis impersonation that he used to equally dubious effect in "The One", Statham's latest attempt to recast himself as a hard-man action hero is more "Hudson Hawk" than "Die Hard".
"The Transporter" was written and produced by French cinema's high-concept grandmaster, Luc Besson. It follows ex-Special Forces Marine Frank Martin (Statham), who works on the fringes of Monaco's criminal underworld as a no-questions-asked "transporter" of everything and anything.
When he finds that his latest package is a beautiful Chinese woman (Qi Shu), Frank breaks all his own rules about remaining neutral. He gets involved in a complicated plot involving people-smuggling, gunfights, and some martial arts action.
First off, Statham does a surprisingly good job. OK, so he's no Bruce Willis, but this unlikely action hero (check out the lifts on his shoes!) has obviously been taking a few tips from "The One" co-star Jet Li.
Fight choreographer turned director Cory Yuen stages the chop socky scenes well, including an inventive oil slick punch-up. But what lets the film down is the combination of some truly atrocious storytelling, dialogue, acting, and dodgy CG special effects.
Whether or not you're able to convince yourself that the inventive action sequences are good enough to endure the rest of the film's stupidity will depend on how desperate you are for a martial arts fix.
With a series of unconvincing stuntmen, overblown action, and a pumped-up soundtrack that seems designed to kill off whatever critical grey matter you didn't leave at the door, this is junk food cinema at its greasiest.