Directed by: Camille Delamarre
Starring: Ed Skrein, Loan Chabanol, Ray Stevenson, Radivoje Bukvic, Gabriella Wright, Tatiana Pajkovic
Still living and working in the South of France, Frank Martin finds himself embroiled in the plot to destroy Russian mobster Arkady by a femme fatale and her three beautiful accomplices. To make matters worse, his father, a recently retired British Agent, also gets mixed up in proceedings…
After two forgettable sequels, it looks like the Transporter series has regained some traction. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing particularly awe-inspiring here, but this film has been put together with more care and attention to details, especially the relationships between characters.
The film starts with a flashback to when young Anna is being forced to work for Arkady, who basically barges his way onto the local crime scene, taking over the running of the street prostitutes. Over the years, Anna works her way up the trade ladder until she and her friends are in a position to make a break for freedom.
Ed Skrein takes over from Jason Statham as Frank Martin, the ex-Special Forces operative who now acts as a driver-for-hire specialising in not asking any questions. His character gets a bit of a makeover here, rooting his military past as a specialist convoy driver who had a run-in with Arkady who was selling parts of their cargo on the black market. Its possible but not clear that Anna knew of their past connection which is why she chose Frank, not realising that he has his own code of ethics.
Skrein had put in a strong performance in the better-than-expected Northmen: A Viking Tale, and the role of Frank fits him like a well-tailored suit. He has a similar physicality to Statham and handles the fight scenes very well (although they are over-edited for my personal taste). He’s also a lot younger, which makes his relationship with this father more fitting.
Camille Delamarre hasn’t had a particularly strong run before this, having directed the lame and pointless remake of District 13 (Brick Mansions) but fares quite well here. The action is pretty smooth throughout (a huge street chase with the police, jumping from moving jet to car, numerous fist fights), and the cinematography makes the most of the South of France locations.
However for me, the standout is Ray Stevenson as Frank Martin Snr, a “real life” James Bond figure who has recently retired and decided to stay with his son, much to his chagrin. Skrein and Stevenson have a playful, antagonistic relationship throughout the film, bonding during life-and-death situations. Frank Senior will happily look death in the face as long as there’s quality booze involved.
This fourth outing for Frank Martin proves to be the second best of the series. Ed Skrein fits the role well and the action is better handled and less cartoonish (except for that whole airport sequence of course). Best of all though is the relationship between father and son, and I really hope that if there are to be more of these films, they allow Frank Senior along for the ride.
7 out of 10 (MikeOutWest)