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September 15, 2017

Transporter 4: Refueled (2015) --- "Refueled Doesn't Always Mean Full. Find Out The Difference."

Plot Summary
Frank Martin is living a less perilous lifestyle, or so he thinks, transporting classified packages for questionable people. Things get complicated when femme fatale Anna and her three accomplices orchestrate a bank heist and the kidnapping of Frank's father. It's all part of a grand plan to take down the human trafficker who victimized her years earlier. Now a pawn in her vengeful scheme, the former special-operations mercenary must use his covert skills to play Anna's dangerous game. (1) 

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Hello, Movie Buffs! 
The original Transporter film was first released in 2002 and while it was not well-received by critics, audiences loved it. As a result, two sequels followed one in 2005 and one in 2008 but neither were able to live up to the success of the original as each new sequel received lower ratings than its predecessor from both critics and audiences. By 2015 the franchise was – as the fourth film is conveniently named – running out of gas and so there were questions on whether this new film would have enough fuel to entertain audiences again. Producers were hoping that Transporter: Refueled (2015) would have been the first installment in a prequel trilogy depicting a much younger Frank Martin played by British rapper and acting newcomer, Ed Skrein (Deadpool). Writer Luc Besson (Transporter 3) tries to continue the franchise with Skrein replacing Jason Statham (Fate of the Furious) as a younger Frank Martin. Serkin has the Frank Martin smirk down and using him as a replacement is understandable considering Statham’s growing popularity (and thus becoming more expensive). However, Skrein is no Statham and instead could have been more convincing as a younger brother or new transporter initiative, like in the Hitman films. The film would have been better off if Statham did a cameo flashback where he hands off the baton to Skrein and possibly leaving room for a potential return, like Vin Diesel returning to The Fast and The Furious franchise.

     Transporter: Refueled has a reasonable story but it does use some of the same ideas that sustained the previous Transporter films, like having the main characters pursue justice while in the midst of car chases and plot twists. On the other hand, there was a big difference to this story, which gave audiences a bit of a background story on Frank and it established the connection he has with the Russian gangsters. However, the only down side to the story is that it doesn’t say much in regards to the four women Frank is helping but that could be due to the fact that their acting skills were a bit questionable, to say the least. I mean they were good but it’s not necessarily something I haven’t seen before and there were times when their acting felt out of place. Although Frank is portrayed by a different actor it is clear early on that he still the same, albeit a bit younger, man. He’s clever, a skilled driver, and follows the same three unbreakable rules: No Names, No Questions, and No Changing the Deal. Now the last one also includes being punctual but young Frank Martin is still working on his time management skills. There are times when Skrein seems a little too young to be as skilled as his character, however, there are moments which suggest that being a transporter is somewhat of a family business; perhaps passed from father to son? Speaking of the father, Frank Martin Senior is played by talented Ray Stevenson (Thor, Divergent), who was underused here. The relationship between Stevenson and Skrein is reminiscent of the father-son banters that Sean Connery (Dr. No) and Harrison Ford (Star Wars) deliver in The Last Crusade (1989). I believe that they are what made the film interesting because none of the other Transporter films offered a glimpse into the family of the transporter

     Overall, Transporter: Refueled (2015) is entertaining but it does not live up to the success of the original 2002 film. Instead, Refueled is the lowest rated film out of the franchise. There are some great moments of action and fight scenes but overall this film is not as action packed as its predecessors. The story unravels nicely as it takes some point from past films however, it was nice to see a bit of Frank’s background story. Ed Skrein pulls off the Frank smirk but he is no Jason Statham and could have been more convincing as a different character. Ray Stevenson and Skrein had great chemistry as father and son, and I believe it was this chemistry that made the film interesting. In short, The Transporter: Refueled eliminates some of the useless nonsense by adding some good story points but some of the cast (particularly the main four girls) are a bit lackluster. While I don’t believe that this franchise will ever make it through two more installments, this film is still worth to see at least once.

"You're going to make me late."
- Frank Martin

Final Vote
Worth Seeing:  2.7 of 5 star
Worth Buying:  2.7 of 5 stars

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Movies Similar 
12 Rounds (2009)
3 Days to Kill (2014)
The Bank Job (2008)
Bullet to the Head (2013)
Crank (2006)
Crank: High Voltage (2009)
The Expendables (2010)
The Expendables 2 (2012)
The Expendables 3 (2014)
The Family (2013)
Hitman (2007)
Hitman: Agent 47 (2015)
Jack Reacher (2012)
Jack Reacher: Never Go Back (2016)
John Wick (2014)
John Wick 2 (2017)
Man From U.N.C.L.E. (2015)
Transporter 1 (2002)
Transporter 2 (2005)
Transporter 3 (2008)
xXx 1 (2002)
xXx 2: State of the Union (2005)
xXx 3: Return of Xander Cage (2017)

Cast & Crew
Directed by Camille Delamarre
Produced by 
     Luc Besson               ---   producer
     J.C. Cheng                 ---   co-producer
     Camille Courau       ---   line producer
     Mark Gao                  ---   producer
     Gregory Ouanhon   ---   co-producer
Music by Alexandre Azaria         
Cinematography by Christophe Collette and Vincent Richard
Film Editing by Julien Rey       
Casting By Nathalie Cheron       
Production Design by Hugues Tissandier    
Set Decoration by Evelyne Tissandier
Costume Design by Claire Lacaze

Ed Skrein                                ---      Frank Martin Jr.
Ray Stevenson                       ---      Frank Martin Sr.
Loan Chabanol                     ---      Anna
Gabriella Wright                 ---      Gina
Tatiana Pajkovic                  ---      Maria
Wenxia Yu                              ---      Qiao
Radivoje Bukvic                   ---      Arkady Karasov
Noémie Lenoir                      ---      Maïssa
Yuri Kolokolnikov              ---      Yuri
Lenn Kudrjawizki               ---      Leo Imasova
Samir Guesmi                       ---      Inspector Bectaoui
Anatole Taubman                ---      Stanislas Turgin
Robbie Nock                          ---      Co-pilot Air Yuri
Michael Morris                     ---      Captain Guesdon
Nash Novcic                           ---      Ivan 

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