You know how bad of a setup The Transformer: Refueled had? Jason Statham, who hasn’t had a hit in a long time that wasn’t an Expendables, declined to take part in this or The Transporter television series because they were still beneath him. Statham is a guy who’s starting to hit Steven Seagal territory with terrible films and even worse character names that almost universally go direct to video. It’s a bit of change considering once upon a time he was poised to be the next great action hero with a gritty, martial arts infused series called The Transporter that found an audience once upon a time.
Ed Skrein takes over the role of Frank Martin, made famous by Statham in the original trilogy. Frank is a transporter, transporting things and people of dubious origin according to his three rules. He never seems to follow them, though, and he always winds up in trouble with bad men because of it. This time around Frank is set to pick up a hooker (Loan Chabanol) at a bank. She’s just robbed it and Frank is now stuck inadvertently assisting her in her quest for vengeance.
Unfortunately this is a film that is all sizzle and no steak as Skrein can’t quite channel Statham’s coolness in any meaningful factor in the role. That was what made Statham so good as Martin and made the films, which were good genre pieces, into something that were insanely rewatchable. Statham was cool as Frank Martin in a way Steve McQueen emanated cool as Vin in The Magnificent Seven. Skrein is trying to play cool but he doesn’t have that “I’m the baddest dude in this room and everyone knows it” kind of cool that Statham, in a basic suit, does. Skrein has a good screen presence but this is the wrong role for him. He seems lost at times as well; it seems like someone thought it would be a good idea to get him into a film that hits theatres but took the wrong project for his abilities as an actor.
The film itself is pretty terrible with or without Skrein, as well. This film is more about designing slick action sequences that look cool than doing anything meaningful with them. This is a film that kind of lazily lumbers from one sequence to another with nothing to make it become worthy of any emotional investment. The difference between the Statham franchise and Skrein’s attempt at it is that there was grittiness to it; there was a lot of slickness to it but anytime Statham got into a fist fight there was grit to it.
This feels like a music video, much befitting the rapping past of its star, and if it had been direct to video one can kind of understand why this film turned into what it did. It failed to find an audience because it’s a slick music video of an action movie, nothing more.
Some EPK pieces are included but nothing else.
20th Century Fox presents The Transporter: Refueled. Directed by Camille Delamarre. Written by Adam Cooper, Bill Collage, Luc Besson. Starring Ed Skrein, Ray Stevenson, Loan Chabanol. Run Time: 96 minutes Rated PG-13. Released on DVD: 12.8.2015
Tags: Ed Skrein, Loan Chabanol, Ray Stevenson, The Transporter: Refueled