Bringing up the rear in a season rife with wretched reboots and remakes — I’m looking at you “Terminator Genysis” and you “Fantastic (shudder) Four” — comes “The Transporter Refueled.”
It’s the most worthless of them all.
A reboot of the car-chase franchise that powered Jason Statham to not-quite-superstar status? Not quite. Statham — smart fellow — isn’t back for the fourth entry in the series about the high-octane adventures of Frank Martin, dashing driver-for-hire for not-exactly-legal jobs.
A remake, then? Not exactly. That term implies at least a smidgen of evidence that the filmmakers attempted to bring something at least a little new to the party.
Nothing of the sort here. “Refueled?” No. Recycled? Yes. Totally.
Luc Besson, the — ahem — driving force behind the “Transporter” franchise (he produced them all and co-wrote this one) is running on fumes here.
From its opening scene, when Martin decks a gaggle of burly thugs in a parking structure, to its south of France locations to a plot involving a deadly neurotoxin, an elusive antidote, gun-toting femmes fatale and a one-dimensional ruthless villain, “Refueled” copies elements from the first two “Transporters,” particularly 2005’s “Transporter 2.”
The car chases are less impressive. The fight scenes are less creative. Top Hong Kong martial arts choreographer Corey Yuan, who worked on the first two pictures, is much missed.
And star Ed Skrein, taking over the role of Martin, is a much lesser presence than Statham. Statham brought genuine star power and formidable martial arts skills to his performance. Skrein brings … sharply chiseled cheekbones. And a sneer. No star power though. Not even a smidge.
“Refueled” is a picture that’s out of gas.
THE TRANSPORTER REFUELED
1½ stars out of 5
Cast: Ed Skrein, Ray Stevenson, Loan Chabanol and Yuri Kolokolnikov.
Director: Camille Delamarre.
Running time: 1:36.
Rated: PG-13, for sequences of violence and action, sexual material, some language, a drug reference and thematic elements.