Blu-ray Review: The Transporter Refueled

By , Contributor
Producer and co-screenwriter Luc Besson pulls a fast one with The Transporter Refueled by replacing Jason Statham, star of the previous three films in the franchise. Why didn't Statham not return as Frank Martin for a fourth time? Who knows? Maybe the actor just wanted to pursue other opportunities. If Besson and sophomore director Camille Delamarre (his first film, Brick Mansions, was a remake of Besson's Banlieue 13) thought audiences were primed for someone to step in as a "new" Frank Martin, they guessed incorrectly. Refueled failed to ignite at the box office.

That's not really a knock against English rapper and Game of Thrones actor Ed Skrein, who was tasked with the unenviable job of replacing Statham after three hit films. Skrein is kinda/sorta okay as a younger, metrosexual Frank Martin. The problem is that Statham himself was a large part of the franchise's appeal. Without his particular brand of badassness, what good is a Transporter film? Not all that much, as Refueled feels like a direct-to-video also-ran, despite a wide opening in more than 3,400 theaters.
Transporter Refueled Ed Skrein (380x197).jpg Refueled (available now on Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital HD via 20th Century Fox) has enough action to (probably) satisfy the most easily-pleased of the genre's junkies. And even though it gets its job done in a relatively lean 96 minutes, it takes nearly an hour to really pick up any steam. Frank Martin is wrapped up with prostitute Anna (Loan Chabanol), eventually becoming deeply involved with her struggle to exact revenge on pimp and all-around bad guy Arkady Karasov (Radivoje Bukvić). His dad, Frank Martin Sr. (Ray Stevenson, Volstagg in Thor and Thor: The Dark World), has been kidnapped. The father/son dynamic between Skrein and Stevenson manages to add a bit of humanity to the overall mechanical proceedings.

It's far from enough, however, to save a confusingly-told story that never really justifies its own existence. Go back and rewatch your Statham Transporter discs, unless you really can't get enough of anything involving the Frank Martin character.

Fox's Blu-ray passes the test with a 1080p image and DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio that easily matches modern presentation standards. Predictably light special features grace Transporter Refueled, including three featurettes: "Rocketing From 0-60," "Frank Martin: The Reluctant Hero," "The Coeur Brise: Les Femmes of Refueled." Fox's Blu-ray package includes a Digital HD copy.

Transporter Refueled BD (314x380).jpg

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Chaz Lipp writes for The Morton Report.

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