“The Transporter Refueled” (2015) is the fourth installation in the “Transporter” franchise. In this latest sequel, former protagonist Jason Statham is replaced by series newcomer, Ed Skrein. A fresh face, however, does not save this reboot from falling into a dull monotony.
Skrein assumes the role of Frank Martin, ex-special forces and professional contraband transporter. While Skrein successfully captures the stoic, brooding and borderline-OCD persona embodied by his predecessor, he is bogged down by the heavily uninspiring plot.
Frank is forced to balance his job while maintaining a relationship with his lecherous, ex-spy father – presumably the director’s lazy attempt at ill-advised comic relief. Predictably, he is captured and held for ransom by a group of femme fatales who demand that Frank rescue them from the hands of former sex traders with fake Russian accents – offensive even by fake Russian accent standards.
Ultimately, the progression of the movie crashes and burns with overdone movie tropes – chase scenes with uncoordinated police officers, crime bosses involved in sex-trafficking, a techno club scene shoehorned in for no reason and, of course, a final fight scene involving some form of medieval weaponry (even though everybody’s been using guns up until then).
Nothing beats the scene in “Transporter 2” (2005) when Statham barrel-rolls off of a ramp and catches the underbelly of his car to the hook of a crane to dislodge a bomb just before it explodes. This high-octane hallmark of the “Transporter” series is hardly present in “Refueled.” There are only two noteworthy stunts performed by Skrein. Unfortunately, both are bland and unimaginative.
“The Transporter Refueled” is pure action-movie vanilla. It doesn’t do anything extraordinarily bad as far as what has been seen in the action movie genre. But it hardly does anything to make itself stand out. The series itself seems to be going the way of the “Taken” (2008-14) franchise. The original might be a blockbuster hit with all the nuances that begin to define a series, but eventually, people stop caring.
The action movie genre, as a whole, is exhibiting symptoms of Dreamworks’ films – take a great, or even okay, movie and run it into the ground with four sequels, a Christmas special, a spin-off title starring the annoying comic-relief characters and a short-lived cartoon series on Nickelodeon.
I hope “The Force Awakens” doesn’t suck.
Ehren Wydner is a senior journalism major. This review reflects the view of the writer only.