Fast-paced action and full of special effects, wild gunfire, and spectacular car chases, Transporter Refueled doesn’t contain much that is surprising, but it is done with style, sometimes in the most elegant of places. (It was filmed in France, including Paris.) Although this is the fourth in a series of Transporters (referring to one who transports packages for unknown clients), it stars for the first time Ed Skrein as Frank Martin reprising the role made famous by Jason Statham. The terms of the transporting contract are succinctly spelled out: No changing the deal, no opening the package, and the identities of the players are withheld.
In this feature, Frank takes on a job that involves highly skilled attractive women out for money and revenge. All he knows is that he is supposed to transport two packages and take them in his car to a certain destination. Little does he know what he is getting into, nor that it will also involve his father, Frank Martin senior (Stevenson). The two had been looking forward to some father-son bonding for the weekend, but that will be delayed.
In addition to hand-to-hand combat and firing weapons, the action includes a car driving up airport loading docks and through the lobby, eventually flying through the air and landing on all four wheels upright. This is in addition to two people who have to escape from a plane while it’s rolling down the runway. Skrein steps into the hero role with ease, carrying just the right amount of iciness, muscle power, and passion to be convincing. Of course, typical of this genre, the hero can do away with four, five, six bruisers all by himself. Frank’s humanness comes through especially when he is with his father. He cares so much about him, he’ll risk his life for him, and still, they have arguments and digs at each other that are typical father-son exchanges, slightly aggressive, impatient, and sometimes funny.
The group of women, led by Anna (Chabanol), have interesting back stories, and perform actions that in the past were mostly reserved for men, e.g., combat, electronics, and bank heists. Chabanol (Fading Gigolo, Third Person) is early in her acting career, but she has other talents too in modeling, art, and writing. In Anna, she fits the role well in its requirement that she be mysterious, crafty, physically tough, AND beautiful.
“Packages” get delivered; revenge is bittersweet.