The Transporter series has, somehow, survived through four films and television series. The story of a, ahem, “transporter” who will deliver anything to anywhere as long as you “follow some rules” has potential, but none of the four films or the television series ever really made much with it. Instead, these films were an opportunity to watch shirtless Statham manhandle some other men. A new film, not-starring Statham, doesn’t bode well.
The Transporter Refueled is like a Lifetime movie. Not only in the fact that it has the film (and shot) quality of a low-end cable network drama, but that any hint of story that might’ve been interesting (and there’s nips here and there) is buried underneath such atrocious acting (aside from Ray Stevenson’s turn as a recently retired spy) you’re never able to really make a judgement call on what could of been. I’ll try anyways. The Transporter (Ed Skrein, a human being I’ve never seen before, but is like a taller, skinnier, less good Statham) is, you know, transporting some ladies, but the ladies turn out to have other plans (involving his Ray Stevenson Dad) and even though he complains, a lot, he gets pulled into helping the ladies (sort of). That’s it. Whole story. There’s Russian super-pimps with business cards (’cause nothing says “secret gang” like “secret gang business cards”) and a few more or less entertaining action heist sequences, but even if there was a brilliant script (which there is not) you’d never know as the film seems to be cast entirely based on mumbly foreign accents and an ability to shake your ass (the film is rife with ass-shaking). But where a good old fashioned shitty action picture might elevate the fight scenes so the startling lack of character and story would at least have something to hang on to, this one instead strips the majority of the action scenes down to generic shoot-outs and, again, lady ass-shaking, and rests its laurels on the acting (see above) and a slow, drudging b-story about relationships between assassins, hookers and their father figures. It actually ends with a woman screaming up into the sky. It is a series of a scenes pulled from other, better spy movies, forced through the Europa Corp. grinder and then pieced together with a blank-faced lead as the sticky tape. Hollywood, World, please, leave this sort of shit on the small screen where it can fester in the ratings and then disappear.
Ray Stevenson should be given his own Old Guy Spy Movie. I’d watch that.