The Transporter Refueled (2015)
The Transporter Refueled (2015)

Genre: Action Running Time: 1 hr. 36 min.

Release Date: September 4th, 2015 MPAA Rating: PG-13

Director: Camille Delamarre Actors: Ed Skrein, Ray Stevenson, Loan Chabanol, Gabriella Wright, Tatiana Pajkovic, Wenxia Yu, Noemie Lenoir, Radivoje Bukvic

 


 

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imply placing eggs, flour, and sugar in a bowl doesn’t make a cake. The creators of “The Transporter Refueled” appear not to realize that while they may have the ingredients for an action movie – tough heroes, sexy seductresses, fast cars, and outlandish stunts – haphazardly throwing them together with little concern for plot or artistry doesn’t craft a credible adventure. And while the title may bear the franchise’s recognizable name, all the elements that made the original “Transporter” series popular have been curiously omitted.

When transporter-for-hire Frank Martin (Ed Skrein) accepts a job from Anna (Loan Chabanol), an enigmatic damsel in distress, he is quickly drawn into a dangerous game of lies and deceit across the scenic French Riviera. What begins as an escort from a bank heist soon becomes personal as Anna and her cohorts Gina (Gabriella Wright), Maria (Tatiana Pajkovic), and Qiao (Wenxia Yu) kidnap Frank’s father (Ray Stevenson) and force the professional getaway driver to aid them in their perilous mission of revenge against ruthless Russian crime czar Arkady Karazov (Radivoje Bukvic).

Quick zooms and quirky editing immediately attempt to bamboozle audiences into forgetting about the horrendous dialogue. But despite the many efforts of visual diversions, the screenplay is built entirely upon imbecilic conversations, clichéd observations, and trite retorts. Never do two characters speak in a manner indicative of a rational Special Forces counterintelligence thriller. What’s worse is that many supporting players only ever get to chime in with words that restate exactly what viewers are currently seeing.

If that weren’t bad enough, the story proper begins with several flashbacks to the opening scene, as if audiences are expected to have forgotten what just happened; it’s a forewarning to the generic nature of the villains and their deeds when they’re portrayed (and interpreted by the filmmakers) as indistinguishable, nameless robots. And the title sequence forgoes action for various shots of a flashy Audi; this isn’t an action movie as much as an advertisement for a luxury car. Later on, when Frank spirals about the streets of southeast France, his vehicle is used to smash open fire hydrants, spraying water all over the place (intended to thwart motorcycle cops). But with the excess of slow motion, the stunt more closely resembles a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit shoot, with the sleek ride replacing slender women in bikinis. In many regards, the chase sequences are nothing more than car porn – with the added strangeness of inanimate objects serving as victims of destruction and a shying away from intensity, as if the cinematographers were conscientiously hoping not to influence teenagers to drive recklessly.

Although the title suggests that this project is a reboot, the original franchise is far from ancient. Because of that, a proper setup is absent, content instead to briefly reiterate the transporter’s code of conduct before jumping straightaway into a kidnapping/coercion/revenge plot that has very little to do with transporting anything at all. The heists tend to more closely resemble elements from “Mission: Impossible.” All the while, random workers stumble into covert missions just to generate another martial arts altercation (or fistfights spill into a room adorned with medieval weaponry for a spontaneous swing of a battle-axe or the outrageous flailing of nunchucks), and the prostitutes-on-the-lam change costumes just to show a bit of PG-13 skin. It’s all insipidly routine.

Adding to that is a complete change in the lone wolf antihero design. Rather than paralleling Martin’s particular skills with that of a solo assassin, his lifestyle takes on a team dynamic involving his sidekick father and a foursome of femme fatales (cracking plenty of references to “The Three Musketeers” that the target audience will surely miss), preventing him from doing anything by himself. He’s not a transporter anymore; he’s simply an ex-mercenary with a soft spot for helping hot blondes.

– The Massie Twins

  • 2/10