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Summary / Analysis
Times of India
Former special-ops expert Frank Martin (Skrein) lives a quieter, less action-packed life in the present day. His day job involves transporting mysterious packages for clients on a strict 'don't ask, don't tell' basis. Heck, he doesn't even want to know any client's name. When the job is done and the cash is paid, the chapter is closed. He is approached one day by the gorgeous Anna (Chabanol) for a job. Soon, things take a dangerous turn and he also finds out his father (Stevenson) is being held hostage by Anna.
Frank Martin steps into Jason Statham's signature role in this new installment of the Transporter action franchise, to mixed results. Martin does his level best to act like and even talk in a manner that Statham almost patented, in the previous iterations of the movie. But while Statham looked like a genuinely rough-and-tough bruiser, Martin comes across as more at home on the pages of a fashion magazine. While his efforts are sincere, he's not as effective as Statham.
Martin accepts an offer for a getaway job from Anna after he meets her at a restaurant. He gets unexpected company though when two identically coiffed accomplices of hers - Gina (Wright) and Maria (Pajković) - join them in the car. Additionally, Qiao (Yu) is the fourth in this girl gang. They're all femme-fatale-style hookers who want to get revenge on their boss Karasov (Bukvić). Holding Martin's dad hostage is the only way they can have Martin motivated to help them with their plan. So, the movie is essentially about an angry dude, four hookers, a flirtatious dad and a mob boss.
Martin and his dad's bond is unconvincing, as is Anna's revenge motive. The other girls just seem to be in it for the ride. The bright spots are the action sequences (a lot of it involves Martin's Audi and gratuitous product placement too) and Luc Besson protege Camille Delamarre's aim at visual stylishness. So if you do decide to go see this, it will be for the babes, car chases and the action sequences.
Noémie Lenoir plays the villainous Maissa, gangster Yuri’s prostitute-turned-business-associate. “The other girls and I are part of the same mafia, but my character came in from the dark side,” says Lenoir. “Having lived through many hardships, Maissa has hatred in her so I didn’t want to show even a little bit of kindness. Instead, I wanted the other girls to be scared of me. I really enjoyed the role because I’d never played a bad guy in a film before!”
The script by Bill Collage, Adam Cooper and Luc Besson offered an entirely new take on the high-octane action series, which centers on a tough, tight-lipped, highly skilled driver-for-hire. “Refueled is more filled out than earlier Transporter movies because we have several layers, several characters, lots of subplots and revelations that get slowly revealed throughout the film,” observes Delamarre.
Another quirk that sets the character apart from typical action heroes is the fact that he refuses to engage in gunplay. “It was very important for Frank not to use firearms directly,” Skrein says. “I fight with an iPhone, with a shopping bag, with two rocks, with table legs and a table top, but not with guns. I disarm people and throw their guns on the floor, so it’s dangerous, but Frank’s a man of substance who’s trying to maintain his humanity in this criminal underworld. I like the fact that my character’s job is to transport and deliver, not to murder. Like a lot of people, Frank’s morally conflicted, but he always wants to fight the good fight.”
Although it features fresh faces and a new storyline, Refueled features plenty of the heart-pounding car chases that have made the Transporter franchise an enduring favorite among fans around the world. “I admit that I have a weakness for cars,” says Delamarre, who filmed dozens of car-chase sequences and car commercials before taking the helm of The Transporter Refueled. “When Michel Julienne staged the car scenes, we gave the big car wrecks everything we had, starting with the first sequence that takes place between Nice and Monaco.”
Delamarre’s team put together computer-generated 3-D pre-visualizations to determine the best camera placements before shooting key car chases. “We wanted to make sure we got ‘wow’ shots,” he says. But Delamarre insisted on old-school “in camera” action to maximize the impact of the film’s big set pieces. “I avoided using too much CGI because I really wanted crumpled metal. Sure, we could create that CGI, but it wouldn’t have the same violence as a real car crash. We purposely crashed dozens and dozens of cars for the film because I wanted to provide truly sensational visual impact.”
Skrein became very fond of the Audi S8 2012 sedan that was his near-constant companion during filming. “It’s a very beautiful car and a joy to drive,” says Skrein. “The only problem was that the Audi has such an intelligent computer in the engine that it won’t skid or do anything other than be completely safe. The stunt drivers had to take bits out of the Audi in order to make things happen the way they wanted.”
Before Skrein got a chance to drive the car during production, he took a crash course in high-speed auto racing. “The initial driving training we did was like a boy’s dream,” he says. “They sent me out into an airfield and asked me to drive as fast as possible in this beautiful car that cost $175,000. I learned small details that turned out to be extremely important, like how to position my hands on the steering wheel. Then we got into the stunt car and did the spinning, which was really fun.”
Ed Skrein left popular television series Game of Thrones for this movie.
Jason Statham was the first choice but declined to play Frank Martin again.
Frank Martin (played by newcomer Ed Skrein), a former special-ops mercenary, is now living a less perilous life - or so he thinks - transporting classified packages for questionable people. When Frank's father (Ray Stevenson) pays him a visit in the south of France, their father-son bonding weekend takes a turn for the worse when Frank is engaged by a cunning femme-fatale, Anna (Loan Chabonal), and her three seductive sidekicks to orchestrate the bank heist of the century. Frank must use his covert expertise and knowledge of fast cars, fast driving and fast women to outrun a sinister Russian kingpin, and worse than that, he is thrust into a dangerous game of chess with a team of gorgeous women out for revenge. The keep Frank dedicated to their cause by kidnapping his father and using that as blackmail for Frank. After story plays out and we come to the final conclusion, the transporter [Frank] and his dad are let go of. However, Karasov kidnaps Frank Sr as he has an issie with frank Jr for helping out the hookers in the first place. He tells Frank to turn in the girls to his custody, after which he will let Frank's dad go. So the final showdown is set when Frank and the girls go to a yacht to meet the pimp. The fourth hooker is there undercover. She tricks the pimp's partners into thinking that the main boss has embezzeled the rest of the bosses in the crime ring. Shots are fired and people, including some of the girls, die. Only Karasov, Frank and Anna are left. After the main boss is killed, Anna and Frank part ways. We then see her transferring money to the families of the dead girls and Frank along with his dad, sipping some wine.