I’m not entirely sure why The Transporter Refuelled needed to be a part of The Transporter series of movies. As entertaining as the trilogy (released between 2002 and 2008) was, it’s not particularly remembered as a classic series of movies. So this begs the question of whether a prequel movie (rumoured to be the first in a new trilogy) was necessarily needed. The answer: no.
The Transporter Refuelled could quiet easily have been Taken 4, or a movie about a completely different transporter, or just about any other action movie to grace the big screen. Its ties to the original trilogy aren’t explicit enough to warrant another outing for Frank Martin.
But disregarding all of this, The Transporter Refuelled is entertaining enough.
Ed Skrein is set to take Hollywood by storm after his brief stint in Game of Thrones – he’ll next appear in Fox’s Deadpool. And he’s engaging here as Frank. He is made for this type of role – the antihero, the gruff-talking no-nonsense flawed fighter, the romancer of women and the killer of men. In short: Ed shines.
What’s good about The Transporter Refuelled is that the package, and the rules, aren’t as important as in the original trilogy – perhaps this is a hint of why he places so much emphasis on these in later instalments. Here the package is four women who hold a vendetta against a typical Russian villain that is so forgettable I have literally forgotten his name. Villains in this type of movie typically are one-dimensional. Even the hints of a history with Frank aren’t enough to redeem this villain.
But the plot, revolving around for prostitutes after revenge on their pimp, is excellent. Loan Chabanol, Noémie Lenoir, Gabriella Wright and Tatjana Pajković as Anna, Maissa, Gina and Maria respectively are engaging as the mysterious, wig-wearing accomplices, and even Ray Stevenson as Frank’s father gets a few drawn-out laughs from the audience. In dressing the same, the angry prostitutes ensure that their identity isn’t entirely conspicuous, and this draws in both the villain, and the viewer.
As is typical with this sort of action movie, its the stunts and fighting that will be remembered, and thankfully The Transporter Refuelled has a few unique shots. Whether its Frank and co. driving through an airport terminal, or Frank’s car driving itself slowly whilst he deals out blows on forgettable henchmen, or even Frank popping a quartet of fire hydrants to aid his escape in a haze of spraying water, these scenes will be remembered for all the right reasons.
It remains to be seen whether The Transporter Refuelled will make enough to warrant a sequel (spoiler: I wouldn’t hold your breath) but a sequel is certainly teased at the close of this movie. If it doesn’t happen, this is still an enjoyable romp. Though, given its premise results in Frank’s father being kidnapped several times, you’ll spend the majority of the movie waiting for Liam Neeson to pop up and say: ‘I will look for you, I will find you, and I will kill you.’
The Transporter Refuelled definitely feels more like a sequel to Taken 3 than anything else. And that’s not strictly a bad thing.