Refuelled. Rebooted. Rehashed. Reheated. Reworked. Recycled. Reused.
This attempt to inject some zip into the Luc Besson franchise, a franchise about a guy who can drive a car well, is a total mess. In Camile Delamarre (one of the Besson family after calling the shots on Besson’s District 13 remake Brick Mansions) we have a director whose understanding of style amounts to nothing more than unnecessary slow motion and who is more interested in the bevy of beautiful bodies that stroll by his lens (in slow motion) than, you know, a story.
This is why we get shots of beautiful women undressing when the entire movie is being laid out to Frank (Skrein taking over duties from Jason Statham). If Delamarre isn’t interested in the plot, how can he expect anyone else to be?
The plan, for what it’s worth, is making Frank, a former special ops mercenary turned driver, help out a gang of four women – headed up by Loan Chabanol – as they set about a daring heist - robbing ruthless millionaire gangster Karasov (Bukic), a bad guy who was really bad to them fifteen years before. They have kidnapped and poisoned Frank’s father (Stevenson, who seems to be more interested in having sex with his captors than the toxin in his blood) and unless Frank does what he’s told then pops won’t be given the antidote…
The thing about the Statham Transporters is that with the Brit front and centre there was an inherent humour, a knowing wink. Ed Skrein, despite the Eastenders growl, doesn’t have the same charisma – imagine Nicholas Hoult doing Statham – but he’s got nothing to work with. No one seems to care that Chabanol and her cohorts (Gabriella Wright, Tatiana Pajkovic, Wenxia Yu) can’t act worth a damn, delivering their lines with a flat, lifeless thud; they’re there to look good, to undress, no more. They’re not helped by the bad dialogue: Poor Noemie Lenoir, a Karasov aid, has to say “They all look the same!” when the women are wearing the same disguise and, later, when they turn up in different clothes: “Same girls, different outfits!” Poor woman.
The rest is typical Besson fare. The bad guys are those who are unshaven, have bad accents, nice suits and who don’t treat women well. But the most annoying things about these rotten, thoughtless action movies is the inconsistency in its action: Frank is able to take on five guys without breaking a sweat, like he does in the opening sequences… because Delamarre wants him to. But then later he’s unable to take on five guys… because Delamarre doesn’t want him to.
It’s the kind of movie where you’re left thinking about nonsense like this because there’s nothing else going on. Part 5 and 6 on the way. Woo-hoo!