Unlike the title suggests, The Transporter Refueled actually missed its pit stop on the way to the big screen. There’s heart-stopping action, jaw-dropping stunts, beautiful people along with a beautiful location to accompany them, but unfortunately, there is no story to make this action film memorable. It is entertaining at times, but in the end, it’ll race right through you.
The plot centers on a quartet of prostitutes who have been under Russian kingpin Arkady Karasov’s (Radivoje Bukvic) rule for over a decade. They’re hurt, they’re angry, and 15 years later, they want revenge. The ringleader is femme fatale Anna, (Loan Chabanol) who enlists the services of transporter, Frank Martin (Ed Skrein), and whenever they’re not holding him hostage, his father, Frank Senior (Ray Stevenson). Through a series of well-executed heists, the girls slowly, but deeply gnaw away at Karasov’s criminal empire.
The ride is enjoyable, especially with the outrageous stunts. One specific scene has a nonpiloted airplane and a blistering Audi that defies the rules of gravity and airport security. It’s a good time seeing all of the explosive tricks and skills and ploys. However, each trick and each skill and each ploy isn’t enough to keep the film afloat. The lack of charisma from the characters along with a predictable storyline leaves a feeling of faux after taste. With a reboot you hope to feel something new from the franchise that you’ve come to know. You hope to feel and see something original despite the fact that what you’re seeing is literally an imitation of the original. Unfortunately, after 96 minutes of the latest installment of The Transporter franchise, the only thing you’ll feel is déjà vu.
Ed Skrein as the titular transporter is bland and forgettable. His silent, but strong type gets lost in all the action and car chases. His only saving grace is his father, who brings comedic relief in an otherwise insipid story. The femme fatale and her squad are also, not surprisingly, disappointing. They have a chic, close-knit dynamic that resembles Dumas’s The Three Musketeers, and the movie never lets you forget it. From reciting lines verbatim to actually having a copy of the book in their lair, they are constantly reminding you that they are modeled after the famous trio. It ultimately feels cheesy even if they are avenging themselves for a reasonable cause because in addition to the poor dialogue, the protagonists somehow find a way to strike a pose in the midst of all the mayhem.
In the end, The Transporter Refueled feels more like an ad and less like a movie. The French Riviera, the fast Audi, the man in the suit, the femme fatale. It’s all the makings of a sexy, action packed movie. However, it’s also all the makings of a quick 30-second TV spot for a new fragrance or a new car. And unfortunately, these 96 minutes could have easily been 30 seconds, and it may have even been for the better.
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