‘Crank’ Keeps the Hilarious Action Pumping

September 28, 2007

I’m sure you’ll agree with me here: bad guys are stupid. When they finally have their nemesis overpowered, they can’t avoid talking just a bit too much or coming up with some ridiculous “slow death” to kill their victim. It is usually their downfall. Without these precious moments, our hero wouldn’t have enough time to free himself. (Take, for example, Tuco and the one-armed man from “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly”; after killing him, Tuco says, “When you have to shoot, shoot, don’t talk.”)

“Crank,” starring Jason Statham and Amy Smart, can basically be seen as an essay on just how absurd things can get when you don’t kill your victim immediately. It’s that small instant of freedom stretched into 90 minutes of movie mayhem. And oh, what

mayhem!

The movie’s premise is simple yet clever: Chev Chelios needs to keep the adrenaline pumping or else his heart will fail; he’s been injected with some “synthetic Chinese sh*t” that should kill him within the hour. Being the professional hit man that he is, he figures he can stay alive long enough to execute his revenge.

Watching Chelios look for his next hit of adrenaline is absolutely hilarious. He starts inhaling coke: good, but not good enough. He lands any fight he can get.He rides his car through the mall. He takes artificial adrenaline (after breaking into the hospital, of course). He pays his dear girlfriend a visit.

He must do everything and anything he can to stay pumped up, or else his heart will stop and there will be no more crazy epinephrine-searching moments.

Insanely funny and chock full of imagery for pop-culture enthusiasts – for example, Google Map is used to illustrate the different locations where the action takes place (I guess they reduced the movie budget there quite a bit) – “Crank” gets the juices flowing and never lets up.

Don’t expect plot or character development (though they’re there, and not exactly moronic) beyond the basics. This is a fullblown action movie that makes fun of its surroundings, though never to the point that you don’t take the action seriously. The action scenes are excellently crafted and the camera work is dizzyingly good.

A certified B-movie effort in an unusual style, “Crank” is among the funniest, action-packed movies you’ll see this year. But you can’t take it seriously. It’s an amusing, wild ride meant to entertain for the length of its duration. No more can be asked of it. Except maybe a sequel…

 

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