Magazine article Screen International

'The Transporter Refuelled': Review

Magazine article Screen International

'The Transporter Refuelled': Review

Article excerpt

Dir: Camille Delamarre. France-US. 2015. 96mins

Refuelled but not reinvigorated: The first Transporter film in seven years is moderately entertaining and reliably ludicrous in all the predictable ways, but the film's new sharp-dressed driver doesn't possess the effortless stoic wit of the original trilogy's Jason Statham, which ends up making all the difference. Ed Skrein has the proper ass-kicking fervour and slow-burn intensity, but like the reboot itself, he's merely a handsome, slick, slightly generic facsimile of what was once relatively fresh and fun.

Hitting the US and UK on September 4, The Transporter Refueled arrives as summer slips away, which doesn't bode well commercially considering that most audiences will be focusing on back to school/work, or last-minute holidays and other non-film activities. It's been 13 years since the first Transporter film, and the three Statham-starring instalments grossed around $238m worldwide, suggesting that this franchise has never been a major money-maker. Expect modest returns with perhaps more robust showings in ancillary markets.

Like Statham before him, Skrein plays Frank Martin, a professional driver hired to deliver high-priority items, often under dangerous circumstances. Frank is approached by Anna (Loan Chabanol), a former prostitute who, along with two other hookers (Gabriella Wright, Wenxia Yu), wants him to help get vengeance on their onetime pimp, a ruthless Russian criminal boss (the boringly villainous Rasha Bukvic). To encourage Frank's participation, these women have kidnapped and poisoned his father (Ray Stevenson), promising to provide Frank with the antidote only if he assists them.

The Transporter Refuelled was directed by Camille Delamarre, who helmed Brick Mansions and edited Transporter 3, as well as other projects overseen by franchise producer and co-writer Luc Besson. Not surprisingly, then, this new film exhibits all the trademarks of a Besson production: gleefully absurd action set pieces; opulent locales (for Refuelled, it's the French Riviera); beautiful, lethal women; and a playful mixture of over-the-top violence and dashes of bombastic melodrama.

This formula can have its lowbrow delights, but too much of Refuelled suffers from an assembly-line familiarity, with even the notion of a taciturn transporter not exactly innovative by this point. …

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