The Transporter Refueled – Review

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In a cinematic climate where needless, superfluous reboots and remakes are prevalent, comes yet another production that falls into this unwanted category, as Camille Delamarre brings The Transporter franchise back to the big screen, with Ed Skrein taking on from where Jason Statham left off. While the actor does a commendable job with what he’s given (which isn’t very much) – he carries that same charisma, and distinct ability to pull off a cheesy one liner, possessing a similarly gravelly voice – the problem is, it does absolutely nothing to redefine the eponymous protagonist at all, deeming this entire trip rather futile.

Skrein plays Frank Martin, a former mercenary turned driver, who spends his days taking passengers where they need to get to – without asking any questions. However that rules falls by the wayside, when a new client, Anna (Loan Chabanol), and her three unforgiving accomplices, use the elusive transporter as their getaway driver in an ambitious heist, in a bid to get back at a nefarious criminal Karasov (Radivoje Bukic) who had sold them into prostitution at a young age. With his father (Ray Stevenson) held hostage as a part of this complex, dangerous ploy, Frank realises that his involvement in this unfortunate set of affairs will be far more than that of just the driver.

Though Skrein impresses, unfortunately he’s been dealt a distinctively unlikeable character that becomes a struggle to root for and invest in. It doesn’t help that in a bid to complete the task at hand he persistently seeks in hurting innocent people just to get what he wants. But this film is hardly going for endearment: it’s perpetuating the male fantasy; the notion that guys wear suave suits, drive around in fancy cars, and sleep with attractive women whenever they want. Not to mention their ability to defeat a collective of savage men in a well-choreographed combative style. It feels like an old-fashioned ideology, and while the likes of James Bond thrive in such an area, they revel in traditionalism and survive off that sense of romanticised familiarity – and this simply hasn’t got that same fondness or pedigree. There are strong female roles within this title however, though for all of their hard-nosed antics and intelligently devised, vengeance filled schemes, are characters with little substance, or nuance, undermining their own standing.

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The Transporter Refueled is a generic action piece that will do little to inspire – but caught up within this clumsy narrative is an enjoyable middle act, that is simply, and shamelessly, entertaining. However, for all of the fun to be had, it doesn’t do quite enough to make up for everything that takes place either side of it.

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