US Release Date: 09-04-2015
Directed by: Camille Delamarre
- Ed Skrein, as
- Frank Martin
- Ray Stevenson, as
- Frank Senior
- Loan Chabanol, as
- Gabriella Wright, as
- Tatiana Pajkovic, as
- Wenxia Yu, as
- Radivoje Bukvic, as
- Arkady Karasov
- Noemie Lenoir, as
- Yuri Kolokolnikov, as
- Lenn Kudrjawizki, as
- Leo Imasova
- Samir Guesmi, as
- Inspector Bectaoui
- Anatole Taubman, as
- Stanislas Turgin
- Robbie Nock as
- Co-pilot Air Yuri
Ray Stevenson and Ed Skrein in The Transporter Refueled.
As Eric commented in his review of the third Transporter film, "The sole success of the Transporter movies is Jason Statham." You only have to watch this reboot with Ed Skrein replacing Statham in the title role to realize just how accurate that statement is. Reportedly the producers wouldn't meet Statham's salary demands and so the decision was made to recast. I was never that big of a fan of the first three movies, but compared to this near total failure of a reboot they were cinematic gold.
Skrein, a former rapper whose biggest previous credit was a 3 episode stint on HBO's Game of Thrones, dons the suit and sunglasses dropped by Statham. It has to be said, he looks the part. His buzzed hairstyle and chiseled physique make him appear to be the heir apparent, but the resemblance to Statham is only skin deep. Where Statham brought a certain roguish charm to the character, Skrein's portrayal of Frank Martin is as flat as his washboard abs. Although the writing doesn't help as this version of Martin is completely without personality. He's an automaton who fights and drives. He's virtually devoid of humor and charm and not particularly likable or sympathetic.
The plot, which is superfluous to the film's main objectives of putting Frank in situations where he either has to drive or fight, involves Frank getting hired by a group of prostitutes on the French Riviera. They want to get out of the business and take their boss down in the process, by robbing him and his business partners blind. To make sure Frank goes along with their plans, they kidnap his father, Frank Senior. Eventually though, urged on by his father and one night of sex with one of the prostitutes, Frank is helping them of his own free will. The ending is as predictable as the means of getting there are ludicrous and overly reliant on unforeseeable coincidences that are somehow foreseen anyway.
By far the most entertaining character in the film is Frank Senior as played by Ray Stevenson. He's an ex-British agent who is retiring as the movie opens. Unlike his boring son, he actually seems to enjoy life and have a sense of humor. He throws himself willingly into helping the girls and even beds two of them at the same time. I'd rather have watched an entire movie based around his character and his aging physique than anything Skrein and his zero bodyfat can provide.
As with the previous three films, this one features scenes of over-the-top action and car driving. One of the girls' first actions is to rob a bank, with Frank acting as a getaway driver. He then proceeds to drive and smash his way through the crowded streets of a Riviera town. He has little regard to how many cars he smashes, people he hurts, or policemen he kills in car accidents (all the while his car remains without a scratch of course). Honestly, I was so bored by his antics, I began feeling sorry for the policemen who are just doing their job trying to stop a bank robber and are being killed for their pains.
It's been a long time since I walked out of a movie, but I was honestly tempted to do just that with this one. I only just managed to hang in there until the end because I couldn't bear the thought that someday Eric might review this one and I might have to watch it again.
This is supposed to be the first in a new trilogy. I can only hope that isn't true, or if it is, that the producers buckle under to meet Statham's demands. Forget The Fantastic Four, this is the worst movie of 2015.
Ed Skrein in The Transporter Refueled
With the lead character being as interesting as a male model, we are left with the plot to keep our attention. Frank gets forced to work for a group of vindictive prostitutes who threaten to kill his father if he will not complete their assigned task. From the very first action scene, the story started to lose me. As Scott wrote, our film's hero possibly kills and almost certainly injures plenty of policemen just for doing their job. Am I to excuse Frank's actions because his father's life may be in danger? How many of those police officers have, or had, children?
To take out some pursuing motorcycle cops, Frank does continueous donuts at an intersection that just happens to have fire hydrants on every corner. He taps each one just gently enough to open them all up without damaging his car. The action scenes are all pretty outlandish but the scene where Frank ski-doos onto the beach and flies, feet first, through a moving vehicle's window was pretty cool looking.
With the lead actor being as qualified as a soap opera actor and his character as admirable as a street thug, no matter how well dressed he is, I was quickly becoming bored. During an escape scene, Frank has the option of simply getting in his car and driving through some pedestrian baddies or walking in front of his slow moving car and fighting them all. Sure, the fighting is supposed to be exciting but stupid never impresses when a more logical option is available.
Although this is intended to be Frank Martin's movie, the story belongs to the revenge seeking, extremely well planning, prostitutes. They are all pleasant enough to look at and their motives are perhaps justifiable but their big gimmick is that they like to quote Alexander Dumas, "One for all and all for one." Seriously.
Like Scott wrote, the most interesting person on screen is Frank senior. Even when we think his life is in danger, he seems to be having a grand time. He has led an interesting and exciting life. He knows what wine to buy and how to heal a gun shot wound with spiderweb and sugar. Most importantly, he enjoys himself, whether it be in a life or death situation or a menage a trois.
The Transporter Refueled could have been a good film. They needed to give Frank more personality and a better motive for him to do what he does. His father being abducted is not only used once to motivate Frank but twice. What if one of these prostitutes was an old girlfriend of Frank's or a sister of his current girlfriend who had been forced to work for them. Either would have generated more of an emotional response than the abduction of his father, who never truly seems to mind the inconvenience.
Photos © Copyright EuropaCorp (2015)