Easily the dumbest action film of the year, Camille Delamarre’s “The Transporter Refueled” makes Jason Stathem and the previous three “Transporter” movies look like Al Pacino and the Godfather trilogy.
In another attempt to emasculate the masses, Transporter badass Frank Martin (Ed Skrein) is quickly pushed aside as the film’s anti-hero in favor of a foursome of deadly French Riviera super hookers who apparently picked up Jason Born-esque skills while prostituting themselves on the streets for Russian pimp Arkady (Radivoje Bukvic).
The biggest waste of 96 minutes of my life begins with Arkady and his sidekicks Yuri (Yuri Kolokolnikov) and Leo (Lenn Kudrjawizki) randomly shooting a bevy of Jamaican prostitutes milling about on a corner – Russian hooker sidewalk now. Quick pan to a crying, supposedly 12-year-old, Anna (Loan Chabanol), and the film abruptly skips forward 15 years.
Arkady and friends are lounging about enjoying the highlife while director Delamarre finds it appropriate to flashback 15 years to remind the audience through a series of slow-motion black and white images of the characters who were just introduced. Apparently a $5 haircut and updated outfit rendered these actors completely unrecognizable from their former selves of three minutes ago.
Unhappy hooking for high rollers, Anna and friends decide to get back at Arkady and his friends through an elaborate plan. The plan’s success hinges on the employment of Martin and his Audi. Martin, weirdly sporting the Duck face throughout, reluctantly agrees because these Vodka swigging hotties from the great Commie north kidnapped Martin’s father Frank Senior (Ray Stevenson) to ensure Martin plays ball, or rather hockey.
So, car chases ensued and fistfights were abundant, but ultimately even these action sequences fell woefully short of entertaining. Skrein is not Statham. Statham at least looks like a guy who could throw down in an English pub whereas Skrein looks like a confused, pouty-faced model. Also, if a car flies through buildings, knocks into fire hydrants, runs into other vehicles and is all around abused, it shouldn’t look like it did the moment it rolled out of the dealership.
Perhaps I’m beating around the bush, this film is terrible. Half the actors are French or European, which is fine, but it seems apparent that something was lost in translation from French action-director Luc Besson’s script. I assume the script wasn’t meant to be funny, but the longer the film droned on the more the absurdity of the dialogue began to make the audience laugh out of disbelief.
After a summer with action films such as “Mad Max: Fury Road,” “Transporter Refueled” felt uniquely out-of-place in 2015. Straight to DVD, sure; hidden somewhere in the back of Netflix’s catalogue, perhaps, but asking an audience hard-up on cash in this still struggling economy to fork over the price of admission, absurd. I read someone in the deep interwebs that this was the first of a planned trilogy, good grief.
It appears inevitable that when incumbent President Trump readies for his inauguration and the second installation of the “Transporter” reboot sweeps the box office nationwide, the wise sages who wrote “Idiocracy” will laugh as those still not drooling into cups while eating fried chicken in their mobile chairs at 25 years old worship them as living Nostradamuses. In other words, don’t see this film.
1 star out of 5
“Transporter Refueled” is rated PG-13 for sequences of violence and action, sexual material, some language, a drug reference and thematic elements.