Transporter 3: This is the movie that made Jason Statham’s name the best action star, watch the most impressive action scenes

Best fun of the week is, astonishingly, Transporter 3. It is directed by Olivier Fontana, a French graffiti artist who has decided to call himself Olivier Megaton, which tells you all you need to know about his style of directing.

This is a film dedicated entirely to satisfying the 15-year-old boy (or the Jeremy Clarkson) inside us.

Ridiculous motor stunts include driving on two wheels at 140 mph between two huge, overtaking trucks, and driving an Audi off a bridge and on to a moving train.

Even The Stig would think twice about attempting such Audiacities, which makes them all the more enjoyably ridiculous.

Gay 15-year-old boys are given the dubious treat of seeing ex-diving champ Jason Statham strip off to reveal his chest hair on at least three occasions. And there’s fighting. Lots of fighting.

For non-gay 15-year-olds, there’s another in an increasingly long line of nubile young East Europeans (Natalya Rudakova) mangling the English language with not the slightest trace of acting ability.

Since the script is co-written by Luc Besson, you needn’t expect a coherent storyline or female characters of whom Germaine Greer would approve.

Rudakova can barely string two words together, and when she does she comes out with things like: ‘Spenk me! I like ze rough stoff.’ We’re not talking Dame Judi Dench here.

The sharp-suited baddie (Robert Knepper) is the kind of mean hombre who thinks petulantly gunning down one sidekick is the ideal way to ensure the loyalty of the rest of his team. At home, he probably has a tank of piranhas, a shark-infested pool and an inscribed portrait of Auric Goldfinger.

He and his cohorts have concocted a fiendish if incomprehensible plot to bring eight toxic container ships into Odessa harbour, for which they need the cooperation of a Ukrainian minister (Jeroen Krabbe).

So they kidnap his daughter and  –  why, I’m not totally sure  –  hire Statham to drive her across Europe, with both of them wearing bracelets that will explode if they venture more than 75ft from the car. It’s a variation on the 39 Steps, where Richard Hannay was handcuffed to a girl.

Here, Statham can’t step away from his own vehicle or his 𝓈ℯ𝓍-mad, vodka-fuelled hot totty, who actually makes him do a striptease to get hold of his own car keys. It might be the ultimate 𝓈ℯ𝓍 fantasy, if your walls are covered with Ferrari and Paris Hilton posters.

Somehow, Statham manages this and all the other sequences without laughing. I can only respect this, and report that  –  despite the awfulness of Death Race, earlier in the year  –  he has matured into a terrific action actor.

He can do the cartoonish stuff brilliantly  –  in fact, sometimes I wished the director would stop all the fancy cutting and just allow us to watch Statham hit people  –  and he has mastered the art of doing practically nothing, facially.

He’s certainly a class or two above such superannuated musclemen as Stephen Seagal and Jean-Claude van Damme, and is starting to look like the new Bruce Willis.

He gave a surprisingly sensitive performance in The Bank Job, and  –  mainly through the Transporter series  –  he’s become that rarity: a bankable British film star.

Transporter 3 is going to make an awful lot of money. It has in abundance the ingredient that was missing from the last Bond film: a sense of its own idiocy.

I particularly admired the way a stuntman dressed as Statham outpaced a fast car by pedalling furiously after it on a tiny bike. Daft, yes, but entertaining.

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