Review by Edgar Torres
With students of all ages going back to school and summer vacations coming to a close thus ends too the season of summer blockbusters. With the end of summer also comes this limbo of movies that are released after the summer season but before October, the month for horror films. This is the reason why we have had dismal movies being tossed into theaters around this time and why I wasn’t expecting much from The Transporter Refueled. Add to the fact that it is yet another series that has fallen to the reboot disease and you have a movie that audiences are expecting to suck. I was, however, surprised with what the director Camille Delamarre managed to do with The Transporter franchise in his hands.
Frank Martin (this is a prequel apparently, just run with it) is living in southern France celebrating the retirement of his father, Frank Sr., when he receives a job from a mystery woman. The mystery women dupe him into helping her and her girlfriends escape a bank heist AND THAT’S WHEN THINGS GOT KNOCKED INTO TWELFTH GEAR…*ahem*… the mystery women have kidnapped Frank Sr. and now Frank Jr. must help them at whatever the cost to save his father.
The Transporter series to me has always been about the action and the cars, this movie is no different. Frank drives around in *spoiler* two identical Audi S8 and they are stunning. This is obvious product placement but the series would be nothing without the cars so it gets a pass from me and makes me want to buy a car that I will probably never be able to afford.
The cinematography in the movie is also great. They take risks to showcase new ways of shooting fight scenes and I believe they were able to pull off an innovative look. To further explain, there is a scene where Frank is fighting some thugs and the camera has obviously been placed on a rig similar to that which they use in The Matrix to pull off “bullet time” however in this case the frame doesn’t freeze but rather move live along the room as if the audience is trying to move around the fight to get a good vantage point.
Ed Skrein is also a great replacement to Statham, his character is calm and collected most of the time and he would give Statham a run for his money. The female cast also does an amazing job. While watching the film I was reminded in thinking that the female lead in Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation was doing a superb job playing a femme fatale but this movie showed me what a character like that was like. These women are written to be strong, who are afraid and frail emotionally sure, but they will go to any lengths to save themselves from their current condition. It was disappointing though that towards the end of the film, their characters reverted back to women who were just there for men to ogle and use but that’s all I will say about that.
This movie is strange as an American because they all have accents. It is then difficult to tell if a person is just acting with an accent or just isn’t acting well. There is a moment where one of the villains appears to mess up a line but I couldn’t attribute it to bad acting. There is also a moment where one of the women gang hires guys off of the street by asking if they spoke English and if they wanted to make a thousand euros, they all shook their heads to the English question but then nodded when asked about the money! Which is it? Do they speak the language or not?
The technology in the movie is also portrayed horribly. There is a moment where one of the women is pulling a fingerprint off of a passed out villain but scans his finger on the verification light instead of the fingerprint reader, although it may have been my eyes playing tricks on me. The one I won’t let go though is when all hell is breaking loose, one of the villains is checking their bank account and the computer says that it can’t log them in because another user is on, but then tells them where the account is active on the boat. I wish my bank was that accurate!
The last little bit that I have to mention is a problem mostly with the use of cars in car chase scenes. There is a chase scene in which vehicular casualties are piling up with each car going into the air as they get taken out but if you look closely, you can tell that the underbody has mostly been gutted. Like I said, this problem is a movie magic flaw but it’s worth mentioning.
The Transporter Refueled did a lot of things right, it has rebooted the series on the right foot even though reviews say otherwise. There is enough there to where you will have a good time at the movies should you decide to visit the cinema on its opening weekend. I believe the series is planned for another two movies so we’ll wait and see where they take it next but I know they already have my money.