The Transporter Refueled
Dir: Camille Delamarre
Starring: Ed Skrein, Ray Stevenson, Loan Chabanol, Gabriella Wright, and Tatiana Pajkovic
Monte’s Rating: 1.50 out of 5.00
Tom at the Farm
MONTE YAZZIE ~ THE FOOTHILLS FOCUS~ 9/9/2015
There may be a new driver, but the fourth film in the rebooted “Transporter” series still focuses on high-speed car chases and fist-fighting extravagance. Gone is Jason Statham, the star of the first three films in the franchise, replaced by the deadpan, whispery-voiced Ed Skrein, who viewers may recognize from a small part in the “Game of Thrones” television show. Director Camille Delamarre, who last year helmed the parkour action film “Brick Mansions”, doesn’t bring anything new to the fledgling franchise but instead caters to the most fundamental elements of action movie making: car chase, gunfight, fistfight, explosion, repeat, a method that worked much better with Jason Statham in the driver’s seat.
A gorgeous Audi sits in a dark parking structure, spotlighted as if it was a showroom. A group of men gaze at the shining beauty, readying to take it as their own. Out of the shadows a lone man in a perfectly tailored suit disrupts the theft. It ends with one man standing alone with his car. Frank Martin (Ed Skrein) is a very particular, professional driver that operates a business by a specific set of rules. Frank is hired by a beautiful woman (Loan Chabanol) to assist in the robbery of a Russian crime lord who has been running a prostitution ring in France.
Regardless of what the trailer for “The Transporter Refueled” may imply, there is a narrative at work underneath the car chases and fistfights. A desperate woman out for revenge with the help of a quiet tough guy: sound familiar? Here, it’s the women imprisoned into a life of prostitution by a Russian bad-guy archetype, heavy accent and all, who are seeking revenge through an overly elaborate and often absurd scheme. The plot just floats around from scene to scene, making an appearance between action set pieces to make the viewer remember why the characters are dodging bullets, wearing disguises, and chasing after speeding jets. Jason Statham’s charisma and screen presence, along with the composition of the fight scenes, had a factor in masking these narrative flaws in the first three films; here, they are harshly apparent.
While Ed Skrein plays the role completely straightforwardly, even displaying a decent physical performance during fight scenes, the narrative undercuts all the characters by giving them terrible dialog and illogical decision-making. Making the most of a character that is utilized as a plot device, Ray Stevenson plays Frank’s father with a lighthearted and sometimes comedic approach.
“The Transporter Refueled” wants to be an aggressively charged, adrenaline pumping action film but instead offers rehashed actions scenes that were done better in other films. That’s a problem for a film that looks to provide 95 minutes of mindless entertainment. Without Jason Statham, a key piece of what made these films appealing is missing, and all that remains is the transport without the Transporter. This ultimately keeps the film stuck in neutral, revving its engine with nowhere to go.