Monday Morning Critic – The Transporter: Refueled, Jason Statham, Ed Skrein And The Curious Theatrical Relaunch Of The Transporter

MMC New>

Something that really interested occureed when the reboot of The Transporter franchise was announced, with Jason Statham sitting out the relaunch for any number of reasons. The franchise had been fairly solid, quality wise, but there was a limited ceiling to it. The franchise never crossed $50 million domestically, relying on foreign box office revenues to make most of its profits, and it made Statham into a low budget action film star that Hard to Kill and the like had done for Steven Seagal.

Which is why Statham not returning to the franchise is interesting to speculate about on the grander scale. We know he didn’t return for the reboot because they didn’t give him a script before, wanted him to sign on to three films (like most actors do) when they sign up for a franchise and didn’t cut a check to him the size of one that an actor of his stature warranted. If he needed this film, like Vin Diesel needs CGI to make him look big as Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, he’d have said ok. But without a script and a smaller check he passed, which is the right thing to do in this case.

The one thing that made me curious about this film, and how admittedly terrible it looks, is why everyone involved aimed for a theatrical release instead of going direct to video?

The Transporter: Reloaded sounds like a direct to video piece ala The Scorpion King 2: Rise of a Warrior or any of the Death Race sequels. The fact that Europa is going into theatres with this is a huge vote of confidence in the franchise, not Statham, is a curiosity because the film franchise was always an August staple that could do just well enough to make a profit. It was more of Statham’s signature franchise than anything else; the film was a good martial arts action franchise that existed because Statham was this new and unique action star.

Statham isn’t a stranger of going direct to video, as half the films he makes a year wind up going that route, but that Europa is banking on this franchise to find an audience when its signature star didn’t return is something. When this film crashes and burns at the box office, ala the failed Hitman reboot, it’ll be curious whether or not Europa tries to continue on.

What Looks Good This Weekend, and I Don’t Mean the $2 tall boys of Red Fox and community college co-eds with low standards at the Fox and Hound

Rififi – The film that invented a handful of the staples of the heist film gets a re-release into theatres. Very limited.

See it – It’s one of the staples of heist cinema.

The Transporter: Reloaded – Frank Martin is now a guy not good enough to keep a role on Game of Thrones.

Skip it – This will be in the discount DVD bin in a couple weeks.

A Walk in the Woods – Nick Nolte and Robert Redford go hiking.

See it – Redford is never dull and Nolte going wild man is usually interesting at worst.

Scott “Kubryk” Sawitz brings his trademarked irreverence and offensive hilarity to Twitter in 140 characters or less. Follow him @ScottSawitz .

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