Monday, 21 December 2015

The Transporter Refueled (FR, 2015)

Refueled (spelt wrong) because the franchise has been...refueled, refreshed, revitalised, rebooted...get it? clever huh (ahem!). Frank is back and ready to errr...transport things once again, only this time he's played by newcomer Ed Skrein. It seems Statham realised what a trashy mess this franchise was and decided to bail, probably a good decision there matey. So what are we left with now, well it appears to be a rather cheap and tacky looking reboot chock full of terrible action sequences, wait...yes I'm right.

Frank is still a transporter of anything no questions asked. He takes on a job for a quartet of women, the lead female turns out to be an ex-prostitute out for revenge against her ex-pimp. Now normally this probably wouldn't be an issue for old Frank, but these women alter the deal and also kidnap his father in order to gain his cooperation. Now Frank is forced to assist these women in bringing down a dangerous crime boss. That's the crux of it yet there are a few minor twists, nothing mind blowing though so don' get excited.

Right first up, the new boy, Ed, apparently a British actor and rapper, never heard of him but he does have a Statham-esque appearance I suppose. He has an odd look though, his lips are pretty thick with an usually strong pink shade to them, either that or it was the films lighting, just something that stood out to me. Plus I've not seen a man clench his jaw this much since Cruise and co in 'Top Gun', like wow! He is joined by Ray Stevenson who plays his father, a slick, womanising vintage wine drinker. A real slimy ladykiller of sorts who clearly knows the business his son is involved in, presumably used to do it himself, I think that was the gist. Despite that he's pretty bloody useless, I've never know someone get kidnapped so easily and so quickly. The ladies in question are a bland quartet also, they all look the same (attire and wigs don't help of course) and none of them can act too well either. What's really funny is they are clearly suppose to be desirable sex objects, but they sooo aren't, not for me anyway. Its actually quite amusing watching them trying to act and pose sexually at various times, very awkward.

Action, right well its pretty standard stuff really. Frank drives around in his top of the line Audi S8 D4, it never gets damaged...ever, and this time he has two apparently. The other just sits parked up in a multi-storey car park just waiting to be used. Although this entire notion makes no sense in itself because the first Audi he drives can change license plates at the push of a button, ala James Bond. So why would he need to abandon it, and then blow it up whilst changing cars, surely the changing plates cover you. Anyway the star of the show is clearly the car lets be honest, this thing has so many slow motion flybys and close ups you'd think it was car porn, oh is car porn. Heck even the car chases are a typically predictable affair with lots of small crappy police cars flippin' all over the show as they try to stop the Audi (all in slow motion of course, with lots of explosions).

The fisticuffs we see are again standard fluff and nothing to rave about, in fact its actually low quality fluff. All the fights looked terribly choreographed to me, very fake looking and quite slow, you can see the blokes getting ready to duck. Skrein handles himself OK but there is nothing impressive going on here, its all cookie cutter crapola and half of it feels totally unnecessary too. Example, Frank and the ladies are all in the Audi, the gates ahead are shut and there are a few bad guys lingering. So Frank puts the car into neutral (I think) and lets it slowly coast towards the gates. He then gets out and starts to fight the various henchmen surrounding the car as it slowly rolls towards the gates. Inside the ladies are frantic and don't know what to do as the car slowly gets closer to the gates. Frank beats all the bad guys up just in time, then leaps back into the car, puts his foot down and smashes through the gates. Now, what was the f**king point in all that?? why didn't he just drive the car through the gates in the first place whilst driving through the bad guys, I'm sure they would have jumped out of the way. This entire action sequence was utterly pointless and merely serves to showcase a fight, a pointless, waste of time fight that made no sense. Most of the fighting in this movie felt very much like this.

The main bad guys are you're typical Euro trash, plenty of bling and no brains, plus they all drink like fish. Anyone ever noticed this with movie villains and their henchmen? they always drink like crazy, everywhere they go, every scene, they're drinking expensive alcohol like water. Also, with all movie bad guys, none of them can shoot straight either. In the finale everyone is standing in a small cabin on a boat, all are armed with automatic weapons or whatever, everyone is pointing at everyone, yet when it all kicks off, they all miss each other at point blank range. Well a few faceless guys get blown away of course but the main characters all manage to dodge the hail of bullets.

Despite all that, one of many problems is the fact that there is no real tension or suspense here. The ladies kidnap Frank's dad, but he's such a man whore that he ends up trying it on with all of them! during his kidnapping! At no point was there ever any real threat because this guys trying to pull all the time and the ladies end up falling for it. To top that, in the end they all join forces and continue against the crime boss, so, why did we need the previous pointless plot about hiring Frank and kidnapping his dad originally. The ladies could of just hired Frank for the caper right from the start, the first half of the movie is, again, rendered pointless. I had to giggle at the scene where Frank's dad extracts a bullet from one of the girls and then seals the wound using an unusually large amount of spider cobwebs. Admittedly I have no clue if what he says about cobwebs is true, but it was the comically large amount the other girl manages to collect which just seemed so daft. Plus wouldn't the webs just fizzle away to nothing when set alight? its bloody spider webs!

You have to wonder just what exactly was the point in all this, this whole movie is such a poor mishmash of various other action flicks, its not even relatable to the original movie concept really. The original Statham flicks were almost like graphic novel adaptations, comicbook type actioners. But here they have tried to blend the serious aspects of James Bond with 'Ronin', they have actually tried to make a serious dramatic action heist...but its woefully lacking. But who actually wanted more from this long dead franchise? especially without Statham, bizarre reboot.