THE TRANSPORTER REFUELED review by Ronnie Malik – Ed Skrein steps in for Jason Statham

THE TRANSPORTER REFUELED review by Ronnie Malik – Ed Skrein steps in for Jason Statham


The Transporter Refueled

Director: Camille Delamarie

Cast: Ed Skrein, Ray Stevenson, Loan Chabanol, Gabriella Wright, Tatiana Pajkovic, Wenxia Yu, Radivoje Bukvic, Noemie Lenoir, Yuri Kolokolnikov, Lenn Kudrjawizki, Samir Guesmi, Anatole Taubman

Rating: C

Car chases, scantily clad women, fights scenes, and mobsters make up the ingredients for The Transporter Refueled. The popular action franchise is getting juiced up with a new lead actor in Ed Skrien. The youthful lead in the film is the spruced contemporary version of the action hero, Frank Martin, originally played by Jason Statham who famously brought the charismatic macho character to life. Will the reboot of the Transporter series drive itself to box office fame or just be another film to loose speed before it ever reaches most moviegoers?

Frank (Ed Skrein) is an Uber driver in Europe spending time in Monaco with his dad Frank Sr. (Ray Stevenson) when he is approached by femme fetale Anna (Loan Chabanol), who wants to hire the best driver she can to transport something very valuable. She offers Frank a very hefty and attractive fee for the job. Anna instructs Frank to meet her outside a prestigious bank where he will pick up the valuable cargo. Unable to turn down the opportunity to make some fast cash, Frank does as he is instructed and waits outside the bank. To his surprise the cargo turns out to be Anna and two of her cohorts, Gina (Gabriella Wright) and Qiao (Wenxia Yu). Dressed in identical clothing and sporting blonde wigs, the threesome make it impossible for anyone to identify them after they have robbed millions from a particular bank account. Knowing that he has just stepped into a hot mess, Frank tries to cancel the job, but the three women hold him at gunpoint and inform him that there is a fourth partner – Maria (Tatiana Rajkovic), who is holding Frank’s father hostage. Frank Sr. will die in 12 hours if his son does not do exactly what he is told.

The four lovely ladies are all part of a prostitution ring run by notorious and wealthy pimp, Arkady Karasov (Radivoje Bukvic). Sold into the sex trade at a very young age, the women are on a mission to take revenge on their master and ruin him financially as well as take down his organization. Only then will they finally be free of him and be able to lead normal lives. They have masterfully plotted several complicated high tech heists to attack Karasov’s organization from all angles. Anyone involved with the dangerous mobster will be taken down. Frank is now sucked into their dangerous game for his father’s sake.

Ek Skrein, looking like a GQ model, fights off the bad guys with impossible odds in fights scenes and stunts that defy all logic. Unfortunately good looks are not enough to carry a film and Skrein just misses the boat on masculine charisma that audiences found with other action heroes like Tom Cruise, Liam Neeson or Daniel Craig. He does have some potential as an action star, but Skrein is given dialogue in this film that often falls flat making him very uninteresting to watch, and he comes off very one dimensional adding no complexity to the role he is playing.

The plot of the film is a big choppy and sloppy mess. The storyline tries addressing the horrors of human trafficking. But with leggy statuesque actresses walking (make that strutting) around in short dresses or lingerie the only thing accomplished is gross gratuitous scenes that only succeed in insulting the issue. There are so many ridiculous twists and turns that don’t make any sense. One of the conspirators gets shot and emergency surgery must be performed with no doctors using only perfume, a pair of tweezers and cobwebs – yes – that’s right – cobwebs. The same gunshot victim (that by all counts should not be able to get up from bed) winds up in bed enjoying a manajatwa within a matter of hours. Then we have the fact that female vigilantes are sophisticated well educated thieves. How is that possible when they have been held hostage since they were teenagers?

The script for The Transporter Refueled is just plain awful. With no character development, the thrown in romance between Frank and Anna is not believable. The relationship between son and father is hard to take seriously when tender moments are delivered without emotion leaving movie watchers with a stale and dry feeling. There is some absurd dialogue when one of the villains sees the robbers on video and makes a comment about all the girls looking alike then in the next scene states the obvious about seeing the same girls in different outfits.

The only things to distract from the clumsy story are some of the action sequences. There are some pretty cool car chases (great advertising for Audi) and vehicle stunts. One stunt in particular is of an automobile flying off an airport tarmac and landing safely inside a terminal. A pretty nifty choreographed get away on the streets of Monaco using a fire hydrants as a way to escape low life gangsters made for a cool visual. There is a very “Jackie Chan” fight sequence (using drawers from a filing cabinet to beat up the bad guys) that proves to be very entertaining.

There are no strong characters to hold this film together and the only entertainment value lies in the silliness of the storyline. The Transporter Refueled ironically just has no fuel to keep it going and more than likely will just wind up in a junkyard of failed action films.

THE TRANSPORTER REFUELED opens September 4, 2015

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