Frankly, I don’t even know where to begin. “The Transporter Refueled” dropped into theaters Sept. 4 for all the action-loving car movie fans with high hopes of being stunned with a new twist on a crowd favorite. Unfortunately, it failed in just about every way imaginable.
It’s nice to watch Ed Skrein, who plays Frank, sliding into previous actor Jason Statham’s role. He kicks the crap out of people, but fails to deliver anything substantial. But I don’t blame Skrein. He was given a role that had already been played out.
I stopped watching the Transporter movies after the first installment in the Statham series. Since the first one, the films have failed to impress me. So when I say it failed to deliver, know that I am not trying to compare the franchises.
In the way of acting, the characters were forced. With Skrein and his father (played by Ray Stevenson) getting into all kinds of trouble with foreign prostitutes bent on revenge against their Russian pimps, it plays out more like a three stooges episode on crack.
Both Skrein and Stevenson play characters with military and spy backgrounds, yet the whole basis of the film relies on Stevenson getting kidnapped – not one, but two times – by multiple parties.
Another thing I found disgruntling is the femme fatale that were chosen for the film. Normally these characters would be strong independent women working to overthrow the patriarchy, as is to be expected in most new action films. Instead, nearly every female character in the movie is an over-sexualized love interest.
These women are paraded around in scanty clothes throughout the whole film, compensating the father and son duo for their help with sexual favors. It is James Bond without class.
Aside from the acting, there are several plot problems. Most importantly is why the women decide to kidnap Frank’s father to do business.
I say that because Frank’s character is a businessman: a wheelman known to do anything as long as you play by his rules. He is simple and efficient, and he always gets his job done. So why would you need to kidnap his dad to get the job done? Why wouldn’t you just hire him to do the job? It doesn’t make any sense.
Also, there are huge chunks of backstory missing in the film, such as the thread of a relationship from Frank’s army days with the Russian pimp.
Unfortunately, the story behind their relationship is barely told, making yet another weak platform for character development. But sitting through another 15 minutes of backstory would have probably have made me want to smash my head through the seat in front of me.
With those incongruences, I found that the entire basis of the film was ridiculous. With such a weak base, it is no wonder the film completely fell apart.
There are some highlights. For an average moviegoer looking for something entertaining and visually stunning, this film accomplishes that.
It is filmed well and has great action scenes. I understand that when you watch an action flick, you aren’t worried much about plot.
In that aspect, the film was a success. The fight choreography is great and the stunts are well-done in classic Transporter fashion. But in the end, it wasn’t enough to save the film. I borderline regret spending the money on my ticket.
If you go, I suggest you catch a matinee showing. No point in paying more for a night show. If you plan to use this kind of movie on date night, you’re probably not going to get a second date. You’re better off staying at home.
“The Transporter Refueled” is rated PG-13 for violence, sexual material and drug references and is playing at Cinemark in Conway.
This article originally appeared in the Sept. 16, 2015 print edition of The Echo.
image via www.ign.com