Rumour has it that Jason Statham bowed out of the Transporter franchise citing monetary issues. A martial artist by training, Statham is easily recognizable as the star of the Transporter films. Now that he will no longer be part of it, it remains to be seen if his replacement, English actor Ed Skrein, will be able to fill the big shoes as Frank Martin.

The basic premise applies – Frank, the best Transporter in the business, agrees to transport packages. Likewise, the rules of the game remain – Once the deal is made, it cannot be changed. Names must never be used, and he can never open the packages. Of course, being the action thriller that it is, none of the rules are followed. This time, the former special ops mercenary finds himself inadvertently involved in a game of revenge with a femme fatale and a Russian gangster.

Skrein is best known for his role as Daario Naharis, or Daenerys’ sultry companion, in Game of Thrones. His confident demeanour as Frank is convincing, though it never gets near the coolness that Statham exuded in the past. This time, Frank’s father is brought into the picture as well – an old-timer played by Irish-born actor Ray Stevenson.

Camille Delamarre, director of Brick Mansions, helms this new instalment to much fanfare. However, though there’s clearly more focus on style over substance, the style that’s executed appears a tad too convenient. There is action aplenty, yet it’s carried out too “perfectly”, much like the perfectionist that Frank is. Viewers don’t see the difficulty that it takes to handle the obstacles Frank faces, and this alone makes it hard to sympathise for Frank.

Of the screenwriters involved in the previous Transporter films, French filmmaker Luc Besson remains to co-write the script, on top of being a producer. Having directed films such as Lucy and Taken, he is known for making full use of visuals to tell his stories. Hence for this, Besson’s input could be the numerous slick action set pieces that are shown in almost every action sequence. That being said, even his contribution may not have been enough to fully capitalise on its potential.

In a genre where action takes precedence over plot, both turn out to be relatively weak in this movie. Its saving grace then becomes the attractiveness of its leading ladies – Loan Chabanol, Gabriella Wright, Tatjana Pajkovic and Yu Wenxia. Since Statham didn’t return, this has since been touted as a reboot for the French film franchise. Being a reboot, this latest movie is therefore aptly titled The Transporter Refueled.

The Transporter Refueled opens tomorrow, 10th September 2015.

Directed by: Camille Delamarre
Genre: Action, Crime, Thriller
Classification: NC16
Rating: 2/5

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