Rajeev Masand

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The Transporter Refueled

Rating: 2

September 04, 2015

Cast: Ed Skrein, Ray Stevenson, Loan Chabanol, Radivoje Bukvic

Director: Camille Delamarre

Going in to watch a Transporter movie that doesn’t star Jason Statham feels a little bit like cheating on your wife. The first three films were what you’d describe as a guilty pleasure thanks to the undeniable charisma of Statham, his deadpan delivery, and his no-nonsense fighting style.

In The Transporter Refueled, the latest installment of the franchise, Statham is replaced by rising British star Ed Skrein in the role of lethal courier-for-hire Frank Martin, who undertakes to transport any package anywhere, no questions asked. Unfolding in the South of France, this reboot sees our hero hired by a mysterious woman named Anna (Loan Chabanol), who along with her three female accomplices forces him to help them exact revenge on the men who sold them into the sex trade. To ensure that they have Frank’s co-operation, they hold his grizzled father (Ray Stevenson) captive.

Director Camille Delamarre brings nothing original to the new film, choosing instead to stick with the franchise’s dependable mix of high-octane action and wafer-thin plot. So we get repeated scenarios where Skrein dispatches an endless procession of henchmen in occasionally interesting ways, including one bit in which he niftily employs a row of drawers to vanquish them.

Despite the breakneck pace, the film’s 96-minute running time feels long. It’s because there isn’t a modicum of wit or genuine feeling to fall back on in the few moments between all the car chases and violent encounters. There’s also something particularly exploitative and distasteful about Frank and his father indulging in sexual relations with the girls they’re helping, even if it’s mutually consensual.

The Transporter Refueled smells like a hack job at best, a lazy attempt to cash in on a successful brand. Leading man Ed Skrein can act and looks the part too, but he’s got very little personality.

I’m going with two out of five. Bring Statham back. Or inject something fresh into these movies.

(This review first aired on CNN-IBN)

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