Crank Movie Review
The best parts of the film are those you don't expect. We know that Statham, being a hit man (and British at that), will go after the men who wronged him. We know he'll get into all manner of complications along the way. That's Action Film 101. Where Crank excels is in its inventiveness. Like Pulp Fiction before it (or the recent, underrated Running Scared) the thrill is in the unexpected turns. And the plot of Crank is geared for constant invention. Stratham needs to stay mobile, needs to stay pumped, so the film never passes up an opportunity to shove some action his way. When Statham begins to flag (the sound flutters, the picture dims) and he needs an adrenaline fix, the audience is cued for another round. It's almost William Castle-like in its fun gimmickry.
It's therefore fitting that co-writers/directors Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor throw every imaginable angle and edit into this crazy mix: split screen, solariztion, overcranking, undercranking, CGI, slo mo, still photography. They cut their teeth as behind the scenes wunderkinds - stunt coordination, cinematography - and Crank comes across like a speed freak hybrid of every film they've ever worked on. There is nothing avant garde here however. The tricks are all in the service of the over-caffeinated action. Imagine Run Lola Run without the artsy pretension. And then add some crack.
Statham reprises the thug role he perfected in the Transporter films. But this time he's giving the whole thing a thorough ribbing. The best of the cast plays against type: Efren Ramirez (Pedro in Napoleon Dynamite) is a flaming club kid while Dwight Yoakam (Sling Blade) is a sleazy mob doc.
Down and dirty (the title screen looks like it was designed for a Sega Genesis game) and bursting with '80s hard rock (not to mention the weird '70s exploitation stylish asides), Crank tears up the screen like a muscle car on fire - a brash, sinfully stupid joyride.
Looks like good odds.