Frank Martin, the world’s toughest and most dangerous limo driver is back in this fourth instalment of the TRANSPORTER franchise. But this time Frank has a new look – Ed Skrein, better known for his role in GAME OF THRONES steps in for Jason Stratham who’s had the role since 2002 – and some fans Transporter fans aren’t happy. With all due respect to Jason Stratham and to the fans who can’t imagine a Transporter film without him – Ed Skrienas the new Frank Martin is up to the task.
I was never such a Transporter fan as to have developed any nostalgia for Stratham. Skrien still plays Frank as an unflappable ex-special Ops agent who now transports unidentifiable packages for high end, high level clients. Skrien adds a small measure of something that comes close to vulnerability. He’s still the toughest guy on and off-road. Frank’s role as a high-end deliveryman is meant to be a quieter life – but it never is – at least not with any of the assignments that make it to the big screen. In this film he’s been recruited by a small group of women who have used rather unscrupulous means to secure his employment.
There’s more playfulness to this Transporter reboot than I remember the other Transporters having. And here Frank is not the sole “hero” in the film, which gives the secondary characters a bit more to do. Plus there’s an added twist to thestory in that Ray Stevenson stars as Frank Senior, Frank Martin’s father. How does the movie deal with this new father and son interaction?
I like Ray Stevenson and it’s great to see him in this film. Dad pays son a visit and despite some father/son baggage they have a respectable relationship and the banter between the two actors work. They’re fun to watch. The father and son dynamic has been done before to lesser effect when Sean Connery stepped in as Indiana Jones’s father and Jai Courtney shows up as John McClane’s son in A GOOD DAY TO DIE HARD. But unlike the most recent DIE HARD, the dynamic between these actors work.
In the film Frank Senior is kidnapped and held hostage to ensure that Frank Junior follows orders although it seems pretty clear that Frank Senior can pretty much handle things on his own.
So how does this reboot work in comparison to the first Transporter films? The franchise has never been one of my favourites and there is plenty left to be desired in this reboot. But overall, the action and the somewhat more involved plot that includes a heist and an array of interesting – if not stock – characters.
I found the film to be charming – mostly because of Skrein and Stevenson’s interactions. Every now and then, a film that faithfully follows the tropes of a specific genre and does it well can be a refreshingly familiar.
TRANSPORTER REFUELED will not stay with you long – but it’s a sight better than a similarly plotted film, HITMAN: AGENT 47 released a few weeks ago.