“You’re going to make me late, and I hate being late.”
Could there be a decent Transporter movie? Yeah, I honestly think so. But when something tries so damn hard to act so damn nonchalantly cool, you can’t help but just roll your eyes in disdain. The Transporter Refueled is a merry-go-round of action film clichés, showing a complete and sometimes strangely impressive reliance on things we’ve seen many a times. Let it be known that I have never and do not intend on seeing any of the previous three installments. While they can’t be worse, it’s hard to imagine they’re much better. And despite that, it’s clear that this movie isn’t in the same league. No matter how expensive the sunglasses, how high tech the car, or how precisely tailored the suit, you can’t fake cool. Oh, Jason Statham, where art thou?
Say what you want about Statham. That his one-dimensionality (save for this year’s Spy) hinders him from going outside of his comfort zone. He doesn’t need to because he is good and dependable in his little whittled niche. The same doesn’t apply to newcomer Ed Skrein as Frank Martin. For this rendition of the transporter, he could not have played the character any flatter. Statham has a brooding tough-guy presence to him that Skrein simply can’t match, and never does he create his own take. He sounds like an Autumn breeze, so slow and light and airy. Play hardass all you want; it’s hard to intimidate when you’re as soft as a feathered pillow, only giving us the occasional prick from the equivalent of a middling bar bouncer.
Most B-movie action flicks like this rely on summer audiences willing to dish out a few bucks, sit down in a cool theater for two hours, and leave just as they came. They are cinema’s version of the TV dinner; quick, tasteless, and bad for your health. However, I will admit that this shows enough storytelling competence to at least allow a viewing, although it’s nothing I’d recommend. Far greater films are out there to be seen and discovered. Only Camille Delamarre’s second directorial effort, he worked as an editor on other low-budget action flicks, and he clearly draws from his past experience. We do what we know. And as a result, the story and the film itself is something we already know…a door to door salesman pitching the same product with only the dumbest willing to bite. The action and the set pieces are entirely forgettable save for one ridiculous, laugh worthy stunt. The most you get out of The Transporter Refueled is that you should own an Audi. They can do anything!
Who are all of these people? They seem erased from existence, memory banks and all wiped clean, neatly hung stockings filled with the typical goodies and treats. Bland bland bland. Frank must go along with a bank heist because his father (Ray Stevenson) is held hostage by a group of women, all of whom are getting back at their former thuggish pimp. The ladies seek retribution against a man who put them through sex trade, but they willingly sleep with Frank and his dad, behaving like Pavlov’s dog unable to control their desires at the sight of a strong bearded man. It’s ridiculous, and even though the movie itself is one big cacophony and fast-paced chorus, I just felt discouraged by the few brief glimpses of real style. These specific genre films need a Cindy Crawford beauty mark, a director with a flashy signature to say, “this is what makes this different.” Yet you can’t do that without a solid script serving as the foundation. I’m sure this was cheaply made and only produced to see what the results would be…if the franchise could continue. Movies made for little can be good if they remain little. The Transporter Refueled goes Fast and Furious big. The ambition doesn’t match the price tag. Here’s to hoping that they syphon what’s left remaining in this tank and put their focus elsewhere.
“Out of the car, all of you, now!”
Rating: 1.5 out of 5