"The Transporter Refueled" Review: Ed Skrein is solid; so is the film (until the silly climax)

The Transporter Refueled

I wasn’t expecting much from “The Transporter Refueled.” What’s a “Transporter” movie without Jason Statham? Not much, I thought.

I was biased because I like Statham in those films. Although after three of them, I wasn’t asking for another one, but still, if he cranks out more of them, I wouldn’t mind watching.

Apparently, “The Transporter Refueled” is a reboot. Taking over for Statham is Ed Skrein, a rapper-turned-actor whose most prominent work before this is a role in three episodes of “Game of Thrones.”

Turns out my skepticism was unfounded, Skrein filled in admirably for Statham. He has charisma and physicality, which is important in this franchise.

“Refueled” is action-packed, maybe even more so than its predecessors. The setup didn’t leave room for the viewer to think about much else other than creative fights, gun battles, and car chases. And when you do get distracted by dialogue, often times, half of the screen is filled with the derrieres of beautiful ladies (ok, they’re not ladies; they’re prostitutes). In other words, it’s a single guy’s movie.

The fight scenes are mostly solid. Each of them has a different setup and uses different weapons, which keeps them from being repetitive and monotonous. My only complaint with them is that they often lack impact and are missing finishing moves -- something to make those scenes pop. Also, compared to Statham, Skrein is not as intense, seeming a bit too smooth and relaxed during scuffles.

It’s a solid “Transporter” film until a silly stunt involving a jet ski and a jeep. The menage a trois just before that is also silly. The mano-a-mano in the finale is anticlimactic, not satisfying, and again … silly. There’s just too much silliness (two of them unintentional) in the end.

“The Transporter Refueled” is tightly edited and paced like last week’s “No Escape,” but the third act is disappointing like that of “Fantastic Four" (Critics are just as unkind). For action fans, it’ll be great on video.

Ed Skrein is solid as an action star. He’ll be great playing the villainous Ajax, trading blows with Ryan Reynold’s “Deadpool” in the upcoming film of the same name which also stars mixed martial arts fighter Gina Carano.

UPDATE: "The Transporter Refueled" pumped in $365K last night at the box office.

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