The Transporter Refueled, a reboot of the adequate 2002 Jason Statham action-adventure, is a klutzy amalgamation of campy spy-spoof Our Man Flint and dopey Burt Reynolds vehicle Gator. The setup is promising: Professional getaway driver Frank (Ed Skrein) and a gang of blond-wig-and-black-lingerie-clad prostitutes square off with a pack of malicious Russian pimps.
But director Camille Delamarre (Brick Mansions) and co-writers Adam Cooper, Bill Collage, and Luc Besson overdevelop all the wrong aspects of the narrative — it's overstuffed, undercooked, and needlessly complicated.
Case in point: An introductory flashback -- ruthless crime mogul Karasov (Radivoje Bukvic) declares himself the king of prostitution along the entire French Riviera (!!!) after he assassinates a pack of West African human traffickers -- randomly takes place in 1995. Flash-forward to 2010: Ex-military man Frank bonds with hard-drinking womanizer dad Frank Sr. (Ray Stevenson).
Frank Sr.'s prominent role is the plot's most baffling aspect. He's inexplicably treated like the Swiss army knife of partners-in-crime: Frank Sr. is living proof of Frank's working-class background (Frank Sr. collects an inadequate pension!); a sadly unfunny source of comic relief (old people have sex too!); and a constant companion (Frank and his dad drink wine and talk about girls!).
The action's not much better. Phony-looking computer-generated sports and cop cars ineffectively double for real vehicles during crashes and sharp turns. Worse still, negligibly composed individual shots are unintelligibly juxtaposed, like when a dashboard close-up of Frank behind the wheel is matched up with a curbside view of Frank's car as seen over the shoulder of an unidentified patron of a sidewalk café.