The original transporter trilogy weren’t ‘good’ films yet they were fun to watch. Transporter Refueled struggles to even do that. The best analogy for this film is that it’s a 5 car pile up of a film.
Car 1 – The Lead
I might be… Statham the obvious… but Ed Skrein just isn’t Jason Statham. As Frank Martin he cannot throw a punch and make it look good like Statham can. Statham has a rugged athleticism and an underlying confidence that enables him to float on screen.
My thesis at university was about how a good fight scene must be more like a dance than a fight; timing and precision is everything in this regards. Where Statham can dance Skrein has to rely on editing and camera trickery to achieve the same effect.
Car 2 – The Fighting
Most of the fight scenes are actually OK but as I stated above they just aren’t the same without Statham but it’s some of the opponents that are embarrassing. One of the opening fight scenes is an encounter with some street thugs that have such lousy dialogue you just wish Skrein would just take an uzi to them and have done with the scene.
What’s more embarrassing is the amount of times the bad guys are sent flying simply by opening a car door. Are all these useless goons allergic to car doors? Is the car door made of chloroform? Is the car door being opened at 50 miles an hour? Who knows, in fact who cares, it’s such a terrible fight mechanic to use once let alone 5 times throughout the film.
There was one scene that was enjoyable though and that was when Frank is trapped in a tight corridor of security box like drawers on either side of him and people both in front and behind him; all wanting to punch his face in. Cue the opening and closing of drawers to trap appendages and block incoming attacks. That was a good dance.
Car 3 – Women
The story. 4 random chicks kidnap Frank’s dad and force Frank to do the girls bidding. At some point, they are locked in the Frank’s car. He says don’t touch anything and sets the car rolling at literally 1 or 2 miles an hour whilst he walks beside it and lays down the law on another group of idiots – again… opening car doors features here too!
Anyway, the girls start to panic “I don’t trust this guy”, “We need to stop this car”, “We gotta do something!”. They also start screaming as a few of the goons are hurled onto the (bulletproof) car.
If ever there was a time to scream what the actual fuck then this is it. What I didn’t tell you is that previous to being in the car they have: murdered 2 people, dragged a dead hooker into a hotel, burnt down that same hotel, robbed a security deposit box at a national bank at gun point, gassed a club full of innocent people and hacked into the club owners laptop and stolen about 120 million dollars. So WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK are they terrified about being an car going barely fast enough to damage a loaf of bread should it crash into one.
In fact all of the female cast in this film are a complete mess. At least 3 of the 4 have zero back story and they are all seemingly lesbians because… well why not? Maybe it will increase viewership? Who doesn’t like seeing hot women kissing each other?
I suppose they have a point… but anyway it’s just yet another aspect of unashamedly objectifying women within the film.
Car 4 – Villains
There are 3 main bad guys in this film. Arkady Karasov (Radivoje Bukvic) is our main antagonist and he’s alright but his two henchmen Yuri (Yuri Kolokolnikov) and Leo (Lenn Kudrjawizki) were picked, presumably, because they have a Russian accent and nothing else. They were then given lines that were so bad that it makes X-Factor rejects sound good.
Car 5 – History
You know how many people wondered about Frank’s background story in Statham’s transporter films? Precisely 0. Why? Well, because his appeal is his desire to lead a relatively simple life led by his own self-imposed set of strict rules. You didn’t need to know who he was or how he got there you just needed to know that he was good at driving fast and punching hard.
In Refueled they wedge in Frank’s backstory in a ham-fisted way presumably to attempt to flesh out the character. Something about the army? Maybe a thing about war crimes? I couldn’t really tell you because I say flesh out but really it’s as well fleshed as a cindered biter from the Walking Dead.
There was a couple of cars that managed to escape unscathed. The first is Frank’s dad (Ray Stevenson) who plays a playboy, ex army, anything-goes all round gentleman. His character is by far and away the best thing in the film, in fact it’s a shame he is wasted by being in it to be honest. It actually becomes a bit unfair because he is the most charismatic person on-screen, he has the best charactisation and has the best lines of dialogue.
The only other redeemable feature was the cinematography. They did a relatively good job of making the car chases look cool. This was thanks mainly to some low camera shots, smoking tyres and slow motion – All things you can also find in music videos or Top Gear.
This new entry into the series takes everything you enjoyed in the first few and quickly backfires. What you are left with is a burning wreck full of bludgeoned and messy characters. So when they say this is the ‘Refueled’; they obviously put in petrol instead of diesel. Oops.
- Some decent car chase cinematography
- Skrein isn’t Statham
- The women don’t make sense
- Laughable villains