Possible spoilers ahead!
“The Transporter Refueled” is one of those reboots nobody really asked for, but deep down I think transporter fans wanted. Let me explain: The original Transporter movie was a decent action movie and a modest hit. Its two sequels are better left ignored, and don’t get me started on the television series.
The point is, after a promising start in 2002, the Transporter series went down hill awful fast. Hoping to recapture a little bit of the old magic, last year EuropaCorp gave us “The Transporter Refueled.”
In the movie Frank Martin (Ed Skrein) is the man people call when they need a no-questions-asked transportation man. Frank serves an elite clientele of wealthy men and women looking for a fast and discrete service. And as usual the Transporter has a strict set of rules: The deal is the deal; No names; Never open the package; Never make a promise you can’t keep; Buckle up.
Everything is going well, but after Frank’s father, Frank Senior (Ray Stevenson) retires, a group of well-organized (and beautiful) criminals use the elder Martin to draw the Transporter into a dangerous high-stakes battle with powerful Russian crime lord, Arkady Karasov (Radivoje Bukvic).
After fifteen long years of abuse and exploitation, Karasov has made many dangerous enemies – enemies that, with help from the two Franks, are about to enact a swift and ruthless revenge.
“The Transporter Refueled” delivers some stylish action sequences and fun character moments. But all the best stuff in the film involves Ray Stevenson who quite frankly steals the show. They should have just made a movie about his character, because he was the best one in the film.
The movie’s plot is nothing new, but Refueled does have a fun dynamic between the film’s three leads: Frank Junior, Frank Senior, and the mysterious Anna (Loan Chabanol). On the plus side, Frank’s interactions with the supporting characters offer new layers to the titular hero making him a little bit more human.
But I should note that Ed Skrein is no substitute for Jason Statham. Say what you will about Statham as an actor, but the guy can do funny when he has to. Sktrein, not so much, but he does looks good in the fight scenes.
Anna was a surprise as she is a sharp and capable heroine on her own. For much of the movie it feels like Anna’s in charge of things, and she’s the only one that successfully keeps the Transporter on his toes, and Anna also gives the movie many of its plot twists.
Refueled’s main problems are its cookie-cutter villains, and cheesy dialogue.
These villains are some of the most generic and uninspired set of rogues to hit movie screens in a while.
Despite a lot of shortcomings, “The Transporter Refueled” was a surprisingly entertaining action film that I’m happy to say was much better than “Transporter 2” or “Transpoter 3.” At the end of the day Refueled was worth watching for Ray Stevenson alone. And if you got Amazon Prime, you can watch now for no extra charge.
“The Transporter Refueled” final score: 7