Action Blu-ray Review

'The Transporter Refueled' Blu-ray Review: Fast, but not so furious

December 1, 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 the wheel from 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 find themselves reluctantly teaming up with a mysterious woman named Anna (Loan Chabanol) and her three sultry cohorts (Gabriella Wright, Tatiana Pajkovic and Wenxia Yu) to take down a dangerous figure from Frank's past: a Russian crime lord named Arkady Karasov (Radivoje Bukvic).

Of course, as per the franchise formula, 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 set-pieces — 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 early on, well before its climax.

Blame it on the slightly-above-mediocre acting, the never-ending barrage of flat one-liners, or the far-too-obvious product placements. No matter which way you cut it, The Transporter Refueled can't help but feel 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 transport audiences — pardon the pun — but it may just put the brakes on the franchise once and for all.

There's better news for Transporter fans when it comes to the film's Blu-ray presentation, however. Boasting a slick 1080p transfer, The Transporter Refueled displays detail crisp enough to identify the individual hairs in Skrein's stubble, vivid colors and deep blacks, perfect for showing off Frank's black suits, his black Audi S8 and the little black dresses worn by the film's four femme fatales. Sound-wise, the film also impresses, with a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 soundmix that cleanly separates Skrein's low-growling dialogue from the adrenaline-pumping score and the rest of the action-packed soundstage, comprised of the usual array of punches, screeching tires and, of course, explosions.

VVS Films' one-disc Blu-ray release isn't fully loaded, but it does include the following Blu-ray extras:

  • Frank Martin: The Reluctant Hero (9:17) - A look at the character of Frank Martin and Skrein's portrayal of him, touching mainly on the actor's physical training for the role and the film's fight choreography.
  • The Coeur Brisé: Les Femmes of Refueled (5:33) - A featurette focusing on the film's four femme fatales.
  • Rocketing from 0-60 (5:40) - A piece offering a behind-the-scenes peek at some of the film's high-speed vehicular action sequences.

The Transporter Refueled is available from VVS Films as of December 1st, 2015. The Blu-ray features English and French Dolby TrueHD 5.1 tracks. Subtitles are presented in English and French. The total runtime is 1 Hr. 36 Mins.

* Reviewer's note: Portions of this Blu-ray review were adapted from my original review of the theatrical release, published on September 3rd, 2015.

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