The Transporter Refuelled: Film Review
Cast: Ed Skrein, Ray Stevenson, Radivoje Bukvic
Director: Camille Delamarre
The Transporter is synonymous with Jason Statham.
His relative charm and charisma, plus his utter dedication to kicking some serious bottom, meant that you were able to forgive the wildly ludicrous plots on offer and set your brain in neutral until the end.
Sadly, there's nary a Stath in sight in this attempt to restart the franchise - instead it falls to Game of Thrones' Daario Naharis aka Ed Skrein to suit up and fill his shoes. Skrein (soon to be seen in Deadpool) plays Frank, back in 2010, who finds himself caught up in a revenge plot on the French Riviera. That's been kicked off by four prostitutes who kidnap Frank's dad to help him bring down a Russian gang boss who once forced them into his employment.
And that's really it for plot.
But you've never come to a Transporter film for a cerebral offering - it's about the fights, the action and the car chases.
So, it's sad to say that Delamarre brings absolutely nothing new to the table, but employs every cliche in the book to bring it all to life.
With parts resembling an extended advert for an Audi, complete with slow-mo shots of the pristine vehicle, and with such a predilection with Skrein's suit, it's nothing short of cliched and soulless. It doesn't help that Skrein's relatively charisma-free, delivering his whispered Cockney lines through sunken cheeks and reverting to smirking (and at times, looking like Nicholas Hoult's older, more stubbly brother).
The whole thing resembles something short of a mess too, with only a smattering of fight scenes giving you something to amuse - Skrein channels Jackie Chan at one point using a series of drawers to vex some assailants; it's the only real scene that shows any kind of creative flair as it treads through its ludicrously logic free scenario for its fights. Equally, a sequence where the car takes out fire hydrants in a pivoting circle to maximum effect is crisply executed - unlike the rest where the camera swoops in, swirls around and pulls out again (but only after the Audi's been caught in all its glory).
There's an attempt to set up some kind of father / son bonding with Frank Sr spending most of the film jibing his son as Junior and trying to channel a Harrison Ford / Sean Connery in Indiana Jones vibe, but it's flat in its delivery and tedious in its continuing execution (though fans of the series may claim giving Frank some more backstory helps flesh him out).
There's one moment in the film where Martin says "Pretty soon, they won't need people like me" - I'd politely suggest that based on the utterly pointless reboot, The Transporter Refuelled has already outlived its use - and needs to be permanently shelved because right now, it's running on empty.