Action Crime

'The Transporter Refueled' Film Review: A franchise running on empty

September 3, 2015Ben MK

When Jason Statham first took on the role of Frank Martin in 2002's The Transporter, he was still fairly new to Hollywood. Now he's one of the most sought-after action stars in the business; and as such, he's moved on to bigger and better things. So what do you do if you're producer Luc Besson, and you want your franchise to continue, despite the absence of its lead actor? You recast the role with Game of Thrones' Ed Skrein, who takes over for Statham in The Transporter Refueled.

The fourth entry in the high-octane series, the story this time around follows Frank and his dad, newly-retired British secret intelligence agent Frank Martin Sr. (Ray Stevenson), as they team up with a mysterious woman named Anna (Loan Chabanol) and her three sultry cohorts to take down a Russian crime lord (Radivoje Bukvic).

Of course, what follows involves a steady stream of vehicular mayhem and hand-to-hand combat sequences, all of which are staged by director Camille Delamarre against the stunning, sun-drenched beauty of the French Riviera. But despite the fact that Skrein manages to hold his own fairly well in the film's action sequences — performing such feats as single-handedly pummeling a gang of would-be car thieves and outmaneuvering the French motorcycle police — The Transporter Refueled still ends up running out of gas well before its climax.

Blame it on the slightly-above-mediocre acting, the barrage of flat one-liners, or the far-too-obvious product placements. No matter which way you cut it, The Transporter Refueled feels less like an adrenaline-pumping thrill ride and more like a halfhearted attempt to reinvigorate the series. Then factor in the movie's disappointingly lackluster villain, not to mention some awkwardly shoehorned romance, and what we have is a sequel that doesn't just fail to (pardon the pun) transport audiences — it may just put the brakes on the franchise once and for all.

The Transporter Refueled releases September 4th, 2015 from VVS Films. The film has an MPAA rating of PG-13 for sequences of violence and action, sexual material, some language, a drug reference and thematic elements. Its runtime is 1 Hr. 36 Mins.

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