Transporter Refueled

Ed Skrein in The Transporter Refueled (Photo supplied)
Ed Skrein in The Transporter Refueled (Photo supplied)

What it's about:

This reboot of the Transporter franchise finds Frank Martin and his father, Frank Sr., in France and involved in an elaborate revenge scheme by a group of former prostitutes against their former boss, a Russian crime lord.

What we thought

After the Transporter TV series crashed and burned – seriously, did anyone actually watch that show? – we are once again confronted with that crucial question: can there be a Transporter movie without Jason Statham? The answer, as you may well have expected even before seeing Transporter Refueled, is, of course, you can't.

It's not quite that The Transporter Refueled is an utterly terrible movie, so much as it's one that has no reason whatsoever to exist. While Ed Skrein spends the entire film doing a not very good Statham impression and Loan Chabanol spends her time looking for all the world like a pretty terrific mix of Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Olivia Munn and Chloe Bennet, everything around them feels like the warmed up leftovers of a thousand better action flicks.

We have the “witty” father/ son interplay that was already done so much better in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade – even if Ray Stephenson as Frank Sr. does his best to inject some life into the proceedings – and the action scenes are nothing we haven't seen before: more often than not in films starring Jason Statham. The story too goes nowhere we haven't seen before and even if it does rattle along at a decent enough pace and the characters are just likable enough to hold the whole thing afloat, it never comes across as anything more than perfunctory.

But, really, the biggest problem comes down to the thoroughly nonsensical decision to make a Jason Statham movie without the man himself. There's only so much the Stath can elevate trashy nonsense like this but he at least would be able to do something with the atrocious dialogue while giving everything else enough of that old Statham charisma to make it at least a bit less forgettable. As it stands, Skrein may or may not be a good actor (I've only ever seen him, I believe, in this and in a bit part in Game of Thrones) but as an action star, he's no Jason Statham. But then, who is?

Transporter fans may well flock to this reboot, but even the biggest fan would do well to stay away, as I can all but guarantee that this is not the Transporter they're looking for. Again, it's not utterly horrendous and might do to pass the time if you catch it late one night on whatever the M-Net Action channel is called these days, but it's certainly not worth forking over your hard earned money to see it at the cinema, let alone at IMAX (where it has already been inexplicably playing for the past week).

File this with Hitman: Agent 47 as a franchise reboot that won't even serve fans of the original property, let alone anyone else.