The Transporter Refueled (2015)

(Netflix Streaming, May 2016) Rebooting the Transporter series without Jason Statham’s bigger-than-life stature wasn’t a good idea, and the best that The Transporter Refueled can do is fight its way to a generic thriller with a few occasional good moments. Ed Skrein is serviceable but unremarkable in the lead role: he doesn’t embarrass himself, but doesn’t shine either. Ray Stevenson is more fun as his father, and one of the film’s two good ideas is to make the film turn around a father/son relationship too rarely portrayed in movies—let alone action movies. The Transporter Refueled’s other good idea is to put much of the film’s propelling motivation on a group of vengeful women—although your mileage may vary on this, given the camera’s leering gaze on them and the feeling that this is merely another way to crank up the film’s exploitation content. It wouldn’t matter so much if the result were memorable—but sadly, The Transporter Refueled feels far too much like everything else in writer/producer Luc Besson’s Europacorp’s generic action portfolio, with merely adequate direction, by-the-numbers writing and uninspired performances. Writing this review a few days after seeing the film, I can testify first-hand that the film doesn’t leave much of a lasting impression. Actresses presented as being more attractive than they are, unusually prominent father/son relationship, a climax set in an airport, some car chases and shootouts … and that’s pretty much it for the details. As far as the overall impression is concerned, you can line up The Transporter Refueled alongside a list of other similar thrillers and have a hard time picking them out of a line-up. As a franchise reboot, that’s not exactly a confident first step.

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