The Transporter Refueled
Releases September 4th, 2015
1 hr 36 mins
Director: Camille Delamarre
Writers: Luc Besson, Bill Collage, Adam Cooper
Ed Skrein as Frank Martin
Ray Stevenson as Frank Martin Sr.
Loan Chabanol as Anna
Gabriella Wright as Gina
Tatjana Pajković as Maria
Wenxia Yu as Qiao
Radivoje Bukvić as Karasov
Lenn Kudrjawizki as Leo Imasov
Anatole Taubman as Stanislav Turgin
Noémie Lenoir as Maissa
Review by Stephen M.
Rather than rebooting the series, EuropaCorp opts to go for a prequel with The Transporter Refueled. With Jason Statham retired from the lead role of Frank Martin, Ed Skrein takes on the role as the younger Frank. In this film, Frank is coerced into a revenge plot by escorts seeking freedom and retribution from their John that forced them into the industry.
From the very first scene in the parking garage you see that the filmmakers wanted to follow a similar and very successful formula that the original trilogy followed. A formula of a lot of action, spectacular car chases, and one bad ass charismatic leading man as the anti-hero. Refueled does two out of the three successfully. Swapping out the BMW that Jason Statham starts off the franchise with for an Audi S8, the new old car seemingly has more bells and whistles than Jason's. The car scenes are as good if not better, especially when you are involving airplanes. The fight choreography looks slightly better with Jason's movies but the difference is not substantial. Statham's Frank had it a little bit too easy perhaps playing into Skrein's slightly younger Frank's inexperience?
The issue with the film is of course not the action. The action for the most part is pretty damn cool. The problem is with the plot and as well Ed Skrein's rendition of Frank Martin. Ed Skrein has more of that good looking model look than Jason Statham does, but that's not so terrible. His soft spoken delivery of dialogue makes me wish there were subtitles when he spoke. As well, considering the film is a prequel, I was more expecting an origins story for the character. We get tidbits, including his father played by Ray Stevenson, but not really enough to see his motivations or how he got into the business of transporting. With regards to the other characters, while the ladies are interesting, the male villains are fairly generic and predictable.
I would recommend watching the film as a matinee if you have to watch it. The action is very good, but everything else just isn't well put together. Instead watch Jason Statham's original The Transporter with the quirky but pretty Hong Kong actress Shu Qi. It is kind of weird watching the new film with the old film within a day of each other. Whereas the prequel is supposed to come before the old ones but has better technology shown than the original films such as his car and those iPhones which were not around when the first film came out.