After a seven-year leave, audiences’ favorite courier driver, Frank Martin, still keeps his car shiny and its tank full. But abysmal performances and the wrong kind of gas make this latest run a mar on the resumé.
In the “Transporter” franchise’s fourth installment, the license to drive is passed from Jason Statham to Game of Thrones’ Ed Skrein. Though younger and more suited for an Armani campaign, Frank (Skrein) remains busy driving his clients around the French Riviera. All is well until Anna (Loan Chabanol) kidnaps Frank’s father (Ray Stevenson) in an attempt to persuade the Transporter to pull off a heist and leave her sinister employer (Radijove Bukvic) penniless.
The first three “Transporters” have natural, visceral stunts choreographed by Corey Yuen, but “Refueled” has tame set-pieces that are outrageously staged. Apparently, the people in the storytelling department stopped trying after they first introduced Frank Martin in 2002.
But none of these issues are worse than how the writers have forgotten what makes “The Transporter” an engaging character: He is dropped into situations that only he can solve. But in this installment, Frank’s client – and her friends – are doing most of the work.
On a positive note, Ed Skrein’s cold gaze and striking physicality render him a charismatic figure on screen. Nevertheless, Frank Martin’s character is barely a pass. Loan Chabanol is a refreshing contrast to the typical Hollywood leads, but the filmmakers chose to exploit her unique beauty by accenting her screen-time with plenty of stripping and lip-locking.
If “The Transporter Refueled” was a person, it would be the brash kid who finishes his driving test in record time, only to realize that he ran over all of the traffic cones. But at least Hollywood now has a contender for the worst movies of 2015 — or an extended commercial for the Audi S8.