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    The Transporter Refueled (2015): Movie Review

    “A pointless, low-geared and short-driven reboot of a well-loved action series.”

    Seven years after the final instalment of Luc Besson’s action trilogy which originally starred Jason Statham, director Camille Delamarre reboots the franchise with a younger version of Frank Martin. Ed Skrein sits behind the wheels and becomes the new soldier-turned -getaway-driver in The Transporter Refueled. 

    The film is set in 2010. Frank Martin (Skrein), an ex-Special Forces army who now works as a first-class driver for hire in Europe, is having a cozy bonding time with his dad, Frank Sr. (Ray Stevenson), in Monaco when he receives a call for a new job. Anna (Loan Chabanol), a beautiful femme fatale, hires Frank for a delicate work which must be accomplished within a couple of hours. But when Frank shows up at the appointed hour outside a bank, blonde-wigged Anna emerges with her package and two similarly outfitted conspirators, Gina (Gabriella Wright) and Quiao (Wenxia Yu).

    Frank tries to call off the deal but it turns out that there is a fourth accomplice in the name of Maria (Tatiana Pajkovic) who holds his father captive. He successfully does the job but there is still something more in stored for him. With his father poisoned and likely to die within 12 hours, Frank is forced into helping them exact their revenge against Russian human trafficker Arkady Karasov (Radivoje Bukvic) who pushed them into prostitution 15 years earlier. Robbing his henchmen is only part of a bigger plan.

    It can’t be helped but compare The Transporter Refueled to its predecessors and unfortunately, the present film pales in comparison to the original series. As a reboot, it should have attempted to tread new grounds or provide a deeper understanding to Frank Martin. But no, the movie is an utter disappointment. It has a dense narrative filled with terrible dialogues, weird visuals and illogical sequences. Absence of reason is too obvious and absurdity is very common. Is Frank Sr., a salesman upfront but secretly a espionage expert, that dumb to be kidnapped twice in the course of 24 hours? Would you make out with your kidnappers, especially if they lied several times already? When they gassed the club and everyone was knocked out, it is depressingly hilarious to watch the desperate-to-be-blonde threesome tiptoeing ala-models through the piles of unconscious dancers. But nothing beats the movie’s instant formula for treating gunshot. When one of the women received a bullet in her midsection, the rest played doctors and she was administered with a number of things, including sugar, vodka, perfume and the secret ingredient – cobwebs (as anticoagulant). Defy science and viola, the patient is up and ready to kick some ass the next morning.

    On a positive note, the film has a number of well-choreographed and jaw-dropping action set pieces. Frank is not only skilled in high-speed driving without running over casualties but also in various martial arts. Carrying no gun or any weapon, he has to rely on his brute strength, agility and instincts to fight off enemies, as well to any object that comes handy at the moment. Notable action scenes are the cabinet fight where he used a line of drawers to attack and evade the assailants, and the airport terminal car fly/leap. Since this a Transporter movie, car chase is relentless and after Hitman: Agent 47, Audi has another fabulous advertisement.

    Skrein has the guns and the goods. He is really good-looking with piercing eyes and well-trimmed stubble, moves well and gracefully executes the fight scenes, and has a deep rumbling voice. Yet, relative to Jason Statham, he lacks enough charisma and machismo. His performance is monotonous and humourless throughout. With the film’s lack of character building motive, his Frank Martin is a forgettable common driver. Aside from Stevenson who infuses much-needed energy and comic relief, all the other actors are terrible and flat.

    Except for its decent action pieces, The Transporter Refueled fails in most aspects. Its narrative is bad, as well as the acting, dialogues and even the costumes. Its biggest mistake is casting a new lead actor, considering that the last Transporter movie happened less than a decade ago. Frank Martin is Jason Statham. If the production team can’t cast Statham on the film, they should have created a new character like some sort of Frank Martin’s protégé or an Asian- or American-version of him. 

    Production: EuropaCorp, TFI Films Production, Fundamental Films, Belga Films
    Cast: Ed Skrein, Ray Stevenson, Loan Chabanol, Gabriella Wright, Tatiana Pajkovic, Wenxia Yu, Radivoje Bukvic, Lenn Kudrjawizki, Anatole Taubman, Noemie Lenoir, Yuri Kolokolnikov 
    Director: Camille Delamarre 
    Screenwriters: Adam Cooper, Bill Collage, Luc Besson 
    Producers: Luc Besson, Mark Gao 
    Director of photography: Christopher Collette 
    Production designer: Hugues Tissandier 
    Editor: Julien Rey 
    Costume designer: Claire Lacaze 
    Composer: Alexandre Azaria


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