‘Transporter’ reboot nonsensical but a rush nonetheless
“The Transporter Refueled,” a reboot of the 2002 film and its sequels, doesn’t require much explanation: The transporter drives, no questions asked, no deviations allowed. You follow his rules and your package is delivered. You break them, it isn’t. Simple, right? But because you don’t have to expend much energy keeping up with the plot (or maybe in spite of the fact), you can sit back and enjoy the abundance of chaotic nonsense in front of you. It may not be Oscar-winning, but “Refueled” speeds along quite nicely.
Directed by Camille Delamarre, “The Transporter Refueled” trades in star Jason Statham, who led the the series back in the 2000s, for another British actor, Ed Skrein. Gone is the rough-and-tumble style of Statham, which worked well for in the earlier films, replaced by Skrein’s more James Bond-esque smooth flair. Skrein’s Frank Martin doesn’t possess the same magnetism as Statham’s, but his take on the character does have its own appeal. (Even if his backstory is absolute trash.)
In this iteration, Martin accepts a new job from Anna (Loan Chabanol). He lays out the rules: Bring exactly what you say you’re going to bring and don’t be even a minute late. Well, it would be quite dull if everything went to plan, right? Anna, along with her platinum wig-wearing trio, is quick to break the rules, forcing Martin to join the prostitutes in their revenge plot against their pimp. By the time Martin shows up, much of the women’s outrageous plan is already in motion, but it only gets more chaotic as the story progresses.
The supremely capable and revenge-obsessed women provide much of the motivation for “Refueled,” adding more background and detail than the film ever did for Martin and his father (Ray Stevenson). It’s nice to see women (even prostitutes) take a leading, competent role in such a film.
What follows is pretty typical fare for this type of film: lots of explosions, fist fights and “Mission: Impossible”-style antics. But the sheer size of the action helps to distinguish “Refueled”: Bare-knuckled fights occur as cars without drivers roll up, bullets fly on a plane picking up speed to take off, an ax plays a prominent role in a scene on a massive yacht. It’s pure visual chaos, and it’s just a lot of fun.
It doesn’t hurt that the cinematography is on point, knowing when to sweep out and show the grandness of the scene to zooming in tight for the close-quarter combat. And since this is a film about a driver, expect stunning, slow-motion glamour shots of Martin’s customized Audi, which serves as quite the formidable weapon. (If nothing else, “Refueled” cements the usefulness of remote-control doors.)
In the end, “The Transporter Refueled” is just nonsensical chaos incarnate, but it’s fantastic in its execution. It’s like a “Fast & Furious” film: You don’t (or shouldn’t) have to pay much attention to the thin plot, but that’s OK because that’s not why you’re watching. You want a spectacle, and you’re going to get it here. Just make sure to buckle your seatbelt: Things are going to get bumpy real quick.
Three “How much does that Audi cost?” stars out of five.