Sunday, September 27, 2015

The Transporter Refueled - a redundant reboot

movie review

Jason Statham’s loss means The Transporter Refueled is the worst of the series

The Transporter Refueled

Starring: Ed Skrein, Ray Stevenson, Loan Chabanol, Gabriella Wright, Tatjana Pajković, Wenxia Yu, Radivoje Bukvić, Lenn Kudrjawizki, Anatole Taubman, and Noémie Lenoir
Directed by: Camille Delamarre

Ed Skrein takes the driver’s seat in The Transporter Refueled, a reboot of the French franchise spearheaded by Luc Besson. But EuropaCorp’s decision to resurrect the mediocre series sans its star doesn’t really pay off, not just because Jason Statham is no longer behind the wheel, but because the project, on the whole, is even less entertaining and more ridiculous than its three predecessors were.

Directed by Camille Delamarre, the fourth Transporter film — potentially the first instalment in a planned trilogy — finds driver-for-hire Frank Martin (Skrein) recruited by vengeful prostitutes on a mission to destroy the gangster (Radivoje Bukvic) who victimised them. But after being tricked into serving as their getaway driver in a bank heist, he discovers that the women who have employed him are holding his father (Ray Stevenson) hostage as leverage; he must, therefore, acquiesce to their demands and assist them in accomplishing their mission.

Silliness abounds as the frantic action ensues, with car chases, shootouts, and hand-to-hand combat sequences cropping up every few minutes throughout the film. The result just feels hectic instead of exciting. Coherency has been chucked out the window, and the threadbare plot serves only to connect one action sequence to the next. No attempts are made to add depth to the proceedings, nor to define the main characters and give them any sort of personality, which is why there is no reason to be invested in anyone’s story or care about their fate.

Then again, this is the fourth film in the series, so by now you know not to expect any brains from the franchise. What you do expect is a certain amount of exciting, albeit brainless, fun, but that too is in scant supply here. Jason Statham’s absence doesn’t help; while he may not be a terrific actor, he does have this role down pat. Skrein isn’t appallingly unsuitable for the part, but ultimately doesn’t have the charisma to convincingly pull off all this ridiculousness with any kind of grit or nuance.

On the whole, The Transporter Refueled is an unnecessary, forgettable addition to a series that wasn’t very good to begin with. If you want any kind of plausibility or originality to go with your action, then this isn’t the movie for you. If you do, however, like generic, derivative action films and don’t mind ludicrous plot developments, cringe-worthy dialogue, and unconvincing characterisations, then there is a chance you might mildly enjoy this film; just go in with very, very low expectations and they will be met.

Rating: 1.5 out of 5

- By Sameen Amer

Sunday Magazine, Express Tribune - 27th September, 2015 *

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