Death of the Critic

Why Did I Watch That? - The Transporter: Refueled

Written by: Tom Blaich


I watched a bad movie today. It is sort of a guilty pleasure of mine. Watching bad movies that is. I revel in the terrible plots, paper-thin characters, cheesy effects, and wooden acting. It fuels me. I love them in a way that I can’t quite describe, or feel about bad games or music. To me, bad films deserve to be recognized, talked about, and maybe occasionally ridiculed. This one is no exception.

The terrible movie was
The Transporter: Refueled, the fourth movie in the “beloved” Transporter franchise, and a quasi-reboot of the story. I say quasi because I have no damn idea if they are retconning the ridiculousness of the three Statham, movies, or if this is just one of Frank Martin’s past adventures that he had somehow forgotten about. Now it probably does not come as a shock to anyone that this is not a very good movie. The series has been in decline since they made the first.

What started off as an enjoyable, if forgettable action romp carried solely by the presence of the stone-faced Statham and a few good car chase/action scenes has gotten drastically worse in each iteration. From a simple smuggling operation to international espionage, chemical weapons, and intrigue, the series has been circling the drain for years. It appears that this time around they decided to flush it, putting out this movie.

Ed Skrein plays the titular Transporter, Frank Martin, who you might recognize as the villain from
Deadpool, Dario Naharis from Game of Thrones, or as aspiring British rapper The Dinnerlady P.I.M.P. Unfortunately, the threatening presence that he has brought to screen before is lost, seeming instead like he should lose every single fight that he finds himself dropped into. The fights themselves are choreographed decently, but poor camera work, and the uninspiring Skrein fail to carry the action. It feels like he is acting out fight, as opposed to actually fighting.

Joining him are four utterly forgettable female co-stars who seem like they confused bleach blonde hair with intimidation. I could barely distinguish between them, even in the scenes in which they were supposed to be distinct, and their cookie cutter tragic backstories were a bore, coming across as monologues instead of character building. Ray Stevenson might be the highlight of the film for me, joining the cast as the father of Martin. You might recognize as Volstagg from
Thor, The punisher from The Punisher: Warzone, or exploding bright bug guy from G.I. Joe: Retaliation. He looks like he doesn’t care much about the performance, and his cavalier attitude comes across well, even as he phones in his performance for a paycheck.

The convoluted plot steals too much from the first
Transporter film. More women being sold as sex slaves. Another clichéd bank robbery scene with a gun to the driver’s head. They even attempt to lift the claustrophobic hallway fight scene from the first, which I loved, but falls flat in this iteration. They confuse complexity of plot with good storytelling, adding in unnecessary plane hijackings (I wish I never have to say that again), crazy drugs, nightclub gassings, and a yacht.

What that leaves us with is a fragmented mess of a story that replaced genuine character development moments with monologuing about tragedy, unbelievable - and not the good kind - action that made me question why I was wasting my time with it. I usually enjoy bad movies, but this time I found myself watching the clock and waiting for the end. Instead of this, you should probably just watch
The Transporter again, and drive your car around the block too fast to feel cool. It will be a more satisfying experience.



Tom has been writing about media since he was a senior in high school. He likes long walks on the beach, dark liquor, and when characters reload guns in action movies.

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