The Transporter Refueled
Starring Ed Skrein, Loan Chabanol, Ray Stevenson, Radivoje Bukvic,
Action star Jason Statham’s entire career evolved out of The Transporter series which began in 2002. These films never set out to be a sleek like James Bond or even offer intelligence like The Bourne series; Transporter embraces the fact its third rate. When Statham turned down the chance to reprise playing Frank Martin, the producers sought a new face to continue the cheesy action flicks. Ed Skrein (pronounced “screen”) is a pretty unfamiliar face, his most well known acting gig was Game of Thrones, and being a fan of the show, I had to even look up which character he played. For those familiar with the previous 3 films, Refueled won’t be anything surprisingly new or different.
Four female prostitutes in Monte Carlo plan the perfect manipulative heist to rob their owner Arkady Karasov (Radivoje Bukvic) of his wealth. Anna (Chabanol) who was sold to Karasov as a child needs one more element to complete the plan, former special-ops mercenary Frank Martin Jr. (Skerin) also known as “The Transporter”. He has two rules, he doesn’t want to know clients names or what deals or packages they need moving, “plausible deniability”, he calls it. He also explains to Anna that if the arrangement is changed, he will drive away. His father Frank Martin Sr.(Stevenson), gets caught up in the femme fatal plot, but has a lot more fun being the hostage for beautiful women, than “Junior” has fighting his way through France’s underground crime gang.
Transporter embraces the fact its third rate.
You can almost admire an action thriller where women are given all the power, except for the fact that Mad Max: Fury Road already pulled that chain and in a more entertaining fashion. Still something has to be said for Refueled tweaking the redundant plot lines over the previous installments. Skrein has his own unruly charm with crooked teeth and Jude Law haircut, but its Stevenson who is the more suave and enjoyable alpha male. The father/son duality is another example of a forgettable action saga looking for ways to spice things up.
Wigs, clubs, car chases and many back alley fist fights are the elements to remind us this is still just an action movie aiming for cheap thrills. French police cars fly across the screen as often as bullets, although curiously Martin doesn’t carry a gun. Then again, why would he since he can take a 90 minute beating like a superhero. The script aims to be clever, holding the full prostitution revenge plot until the end, but it’s never about the plot, only flashy cars and stunts. There are sequences throughout the film that if unaccompanied by dialogue would look like the most dangerous Audi commercial ever filmed.
After 3 forgettable films, the series proves to have a little gas left in the tank.