IN CINEMAS NOW
RUNNING TIME: 96 min
REVIEWED BY: Dr Lenera, Official HCF Critic
In the French Riviera in 1995, a Russian kingpin named Karasov violently take over the prostitution world. Anna, one of his girls, swears revenge. 15 years later, Frank Martin is a professional ‘transporter’ whose three rules are No Names, No Questions and No Changing The Deal. He meets his next client who is actually Anna. She tells him that he’s required to transport her and two other things, who turn out to be two more pretty young women. He has little time to be happy with the situation though, as the girls have just committed bank robbery and the cops are on their trail. Frank is reluctant to help them further until the girls, intent on destroying Karasov’s organisation, arrange for Frank’s father to be kidnapped….
2015 hasn’t been a very good year for ‘guilty pleasures’, films which you know are a bit crap and/or aren’t generally liked but which you can’t help enjoying. However, The Transporter Refuelled certainly fit the bill for me. I was actually fully prepared to really dislike it, given that it’s a reboot of a franchise that, okay, dipped seriously in quality with its third movie, but is fairly recent. I would have also preferred it if the ‘transporter’ of the title wasn’t the same character that Jason Statham played, though at least Ed Skrein wisely doesn’t attempt to mimic the Stath. He doesn’t really have much charisma, though he’s convincing in the action scenes, being obviously actually able to fight, and nicely using what’s at hand Jackie Chan-style on occasion, though of course director Camille Delamarre, previously responsible for the dire District 13 remake Brick Mansions, employs frenetic editing and camerawork so the viewer can’t enjoy the action too much. He’s better than, say, the truly incompetent Olivier Megaton though. A fight scene in a service corridor with drawers on either side could be the best brawl because there’s no room to shake the camera about, but, considering that I’m sadly used to this kind of action directing, more distracting for me was the odd bit of obvious CGI that is inserted. A good old demolition derby involving lots of cop cars crashing has the stunts highly edited so that CGI can be substituted for the real vehicles, but the action lover in me still enjoyed such moments as a car driving up a ramp through an airport gate and around the airport. The film makes no pretence of existing in the real world, and is often over the top in a gleeful way.
The script is often truly dumb. When we first come across the bad guys in 2010 that we saw a few minutes before in the 1995 prologue, we are treated to black and white clips from the 1995 scene so we know who they are though anyone with even a crap memory would recognise them. Cash transfers in high security banks are depicted as a drag and drop on a tab. A bullet wound is healed with, get this, sugar and cobwebs. The overall story isn’t actually bad though and unravels decently, while the lads get more than the usual eye candy, though the so-called acting of the ladies is very poor and that of the guys, Ray Stevenson as Ray’s father excepted, almost as bad, all the baddies somehow being required to talk in low gruff voices. This film is apparently the first instalment of a proposed trilogy and I can’t say I find the prospect of the two other films altogether unappealing. With a good director The Transporter Refuelled could have been some kind of trash action classic. As it is, I still managed to switch my brain off and have a fairly good time even if I hated myself for doing so!