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Review: The Transporter Refueled

The Transporter Refueled
09.03.2015
3 10

PLOT: Frank Martin, transporter of mysterious goods, finds himself entangled with a bevy of sexy ladies as they attempt to rip off their brutal pimp.

REVIEW: Watching THE TRANSPORTER REFUELED is like watching the longest car commercial in the world. In one of its very first scenes, director Camille Delamarre lovingly gives us about four different, loving angles of a parked Audi; ostensibly, we're taking a look at the Transporter's bitching ride, but in reality it's a not-too-subtle plug for the car company, and a good indicator of what's to come. The film is hollow, silly and pointless; it's not even good on a "mindless action romp" level. Most distressingly, even Jason Statham couldn't have saved this dreck.

And man, is Statham ever missed. THE TRANSPORTER REFUELED gives the character of Frank Martin a young retooling in the form of Ed Skrein, who most of us know as "that guy who played Dario Naharis for a few episodes on Game of Thrones." Keeping with the movie's commercial aesthetic, Skrein appears to have walked off the page of a glossy Calvin Klein ad; he's a handsome guy with an impressive jawline, but he's neither imposing nor interesting as a screen presence. Statham seems like a man who could go off at any second, an intimidating brawler who bad guys should watch out for. Skrein is about as intimidating as a waiter in an extravagant restaurant, and that hinders the character and the movie, because if we don't think of The Transporter as a dude you don't want to f*ck with, you're not going to be very invested in the film.

Said film has the flimsiest of plotlines; not that we expect anything Shakespearean out of a TRANSPORTER movie, but this is pretty dull stuff. An intense young woman named Anna (Loan Chabanol) and three other model-pretty gals go about elaborately ripping off their Eurotrash pimp (Radivoje Bukvic) and turning him against his equally sleazy cohorts. They need Frank's help to drive them around while they do this, but both they and Frank are so conspicuous about what they do it's amazing they're not caught constantly: The girls all wear matching outfits and wigs (as one villain helpfully puts it, it's so we can't tell them apart!) while Frank drives around like a madman, smashing everything in sight. If you were searching for this bunch, you wouldn't have to look very far; just follow the girls who look exactly the same and the noisiest driver in the land.

But that's fine; as stated, we don't expect anything too subtle from a movie like this. But Delamarre and screenwriters Bill Collage, Adam Cooper and Luc Besson (yes, him again) are so lunkheaded about every aspect of the thing it's stupefying; you have characters explaining their actions every step of the way, hilarious on-the-nose references (Frank opines that the girls have modeled themselves after The Three Musketeers at one point and then we cut to Alexandre Dumas' book sitting right there!), subtitles when they're not needed; the list goes on. I've never encountered such a dumb movie that thinks its audience is even dumber. The silly script, moronic as it is, would be acceptable if the action were exciting, but it's incredibly by-the-numbers stuff, car chases and beatdowns that are neither intense nor special in any way. Delamarre paints a pretty picture once in a while (thanks mostly to the scenic French locations) but he can't make us care about any of it.  

The thing worth speaking of is Ray Stevenson, who plays Frank's dad, a former spy who gets caught up in Frank's whirlwind. Stevenson's Frank Sr. is a major league cad, rather enjoying his time around the women who kidnap him and use him as leverage. Watching Stevenson (who, understandably, clearly relished his role), it becomes stunningly clear that a movie focusing on his character would be a lot more fun than what we have here. Stevenson - and Frank Sr. - is a man who you believe can kick ass, chat up the ladies, stare down danger and just generally live life to the fullest. Whenever he's on screen, the film has a bit of a pulse, just because we're finally watching someone who is a flesh and blood human being, not a walking mannequin. Not unlike its lead, THE TRANSPORTER REFUELED is a stiff in every regard.

Source: JoBlo.com

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