The Transporter Refueled (2015)
Directed by Camille Delamarre
If any movie producer had asked any person in the world if they were desperately waiting for another entry in the Transporter franchise, the answer would be a vehement no. Too bad no one asked.
The first of a planned trilogy of prequels, The Transporter Refueled shows an obviously younger, skinnier, less-stubbly Frank Martin picking up his recently retired father from a meeting about pensions. After a homemade dinner, Frank accepts a job, from a woman named Anna, to take place the following day. When the deal isn't what Anna claimed it to be, Frank cancels, telling Anna and her two friends to get out of the car. Anna reveals, via Facetime on her iPhone, that an associate of hers is holding Frank's father captive, forcing Frank to give in and continue the job. As events unravel, everything just gets more confusing and fucked up.
Everything seems to point to the fact that Delamarre actually tried to make a decent action movie. There's car chases, and fight scenes, and actual exposition. But for the most part, all of it is just terribly done. In fact, it's more like an hour and a half Audi commercial than a movie with a plot. The story is so ridiculous and lackluster, lacking any kind of logic or believability, that the original Transporter series seems amazing by comparison. The dialogue is like an action movie cliché wrapped in a middle schooler's dream: it's terrible. There's no subtlety or mystery. In one scene, a girl literally explains for us, because we never would've known otherwise, that the three girls (Anna and her two friends) are dressed identically and made up similarly so they can't be identified. In a later scene she explains that the three girls are the same from before, but wearing different clothes! YES! SHE REALLY DOES THAT!
It's honestly mind boggling how anyone could write such asinine dialogue and expect it to be taken seriously. Luc Besson has made good films before. So why is this such a far cry from those?
Ed Skrein, taking over Jason Statham's role, adds absolutely nothing to the character of Frank Martin. He looks scrawnier, like he's puffing out his chest, and doesn't feel particularly threatening in his suit, which he doesn't fill out. He isn't nearly the same kind of fighter as Statham, lacking the same kind of presence and bad boy charisma, seeming very like he's just fumbling through fight scenes and trying desperately to convince us that he can fight, despite lacking any consistency. In one scene, he gets the shit beat out of him by 3 guys before tipping the scales back in his favor, then immediately afterward is in full control of a many-more-than-3 brawl in front of his slowly moving Audi, then later has trouble taking on 2 guys, and at the climax has trouble fighting a non-fighter Russian. Ed Skrein, in short, has turned Frank Martin into a barely capable transporter
Similar to the bad casting (including Ray Stevenson as Ed Skrein's charming and multi-talented, ex-special agent father... which is just weird) just about everything else is strangely badly done. The car chases are very unmemorable, except for a hilarious scene at the end of one where Frank Martin [and company] ditch the black Audi and get into a charcoal gray Audi of the exact same model, you know... to fool the cops by the vast car change. The photography by Christophe Collette is mediocre, at best. It's neither original nor pretty, and features mediocre graphics and slow motion. The soundtrack is boring and doesn't help at all; there are huge stretches of expository shit; it's just really bad.
There literally isn't a single thing about The Transporter Refueled that makes it worth anything... unless you view it as a comedy instead of an action movie. It's so bad as an action movie that with a little extra effort it could've passed as a decent parody or satire. Besides which, you'll probably end up laughing at how ridiculous a lot of these scenes are. So thinking of it as a comedy will save you the disappointment of expecting any good action or a good story or anything besides some cheap, disappointed laughs.
TL;DR: This is not a good action movie. It's not a good movie at all, actually. I can't remember ever wanting to walk out of a movie this badly before, and I definitely can't remember as many hearty laughs during a serious action movie.
- Acting – 9 / 20
- Story – 4 / 10
- Cinematography – 5 / 10
- Soundtrack – 0 / 10
- Entertainment Factor – 3 / 10
- Comedy – 12 / 30
- Other – 0 / 10
- Acting – 3 / 20
- Story – 1 / 10
- Cinematography – 0 / 10
- Soundtrack – 0 / 10
- Entertainment Factor – 1 / 10
- Action – 6 / 30
- Other – 0 / 10