DESPITE A LOT OF SHORTCOMINGS AND UNDERCOOKED ELEMENTS, THE TRANSPORTER REFUELED IS A MILDLY ENTERTAINING ACTION FILM.
Smooth-talking and sharp-dressed Frank Martin (Ed Skrein) is the man to call when you need no-questions-asked transportation. Frank serves an elite clientele – wealthy men and women looking for a quick and discrete getaway – and the Transporter requires that he and his customers adhere to a strict set of rules: The deal is the deal; No names; Never open the package; Never make a promise you can’t keep; Buckle up. For years, Frank has built a strong word-of-mouth-following, and a small fortune, servicing clients in the south of France – all while managing to avoid lingering complications.
However, when Frank’s father, Frank Senior (Ray Stevenson) retires from life as an global sales representative for Evian water, a group of well-organized criminals use the elder Martin to draw the Transporter into a dangerous high-stakes battle with powerful Russian crime lord, Arkady Karasov (Radivoje Bukvic). After fifteen years of abuse and exploitation, Karasov has made dangerous enemies – enemies that, with Frank’s help, are enacting swift and ruthless revenge.
Despite a lot of shortcomings and undercooked elements, The Transporter Refueled is a mildly entertaining action film that, sadly, is made worst by EuropaCorp’s attempts to shoe-horn Skrein and a relatively competent action-thriller storyline into The Transporter franchise. Following three films and a TV series, the Transporter frame actually holds Skrein, Delamarre, and the Refueled reboot back from doing something unique – a film that, with a little less desperation and a little more invention, could have developed its own cult-following. After all, The Transporter series got its start by iterating on prior getaway driver movies – rather than relying on a familiar label to sell it.
Viewers who enjoyed the action in prior Transporter movies, and don’t mind seeing a different actor behind the wheel, should find enough slick action to sate their appetite for vehicular thrills. Nonetheless, when all is said and done, Refueled amounts to little more than a (more often than not) subpar, and arguably unnecessary, franchise cash grab.