Right, it’s time to go from a film which wasn’t really what its title boldly claimed, to a film which definitely is fast and furious. It’s “Crank”, one of the craziest films you’ll see- until you see the sequel, that is.
Action films have it tough these days. It’s got to be hard coming up with something that the audience hasn’t seen before. Take “Fast & Furious” for example, apart from the opening sequence, the rest of the action sequences were pretty well-trodden, with nothing jumping out at me as fresh or new. Plus, it took too damn long to get there, with every character spouting line upon line of shitty, hackneyed dialogue. Well, luckily for me, there are films like “Crank”, which takes all those boring plot development bits, punts them out of a window and calls them a certain naughty c-word.
Hitman Chev Chelios (Jason Statham) wakes up in his apartment to the knowledge that he’s been poisoned with a toxin known as the Beijing Cocktail which will kill him within the hour unless he keeps his heart pumping fast enough to slow it down. So Chev sets off on an adrenaline-fuelled rampage across L.A. to track down the people responsible. The plot is as brilliant as it is barmy. Imagine the film “Speed”, replace the bus with Jason Statham and you’ll have an idea of what this film is about. Talking of the Stath, I’m continually impressed by the fearless way he throws himself into his roles. He seems to love playing Chelios and does so with infectious enthusiasm. Amy Smart is good too, adding some laughs and making an impression as what is basically the thankless role of Chelios’ blonde bimbo girlfriend.
From the opening credits, “Crank” aligns itself with video games which is a smart move. The film plays out like one of the early “Grand Theft Auto” games, except with more Stath. It’s a fantastic example of meta-movie making, a club in which films like “Shoot ‘Em Up” also belong. It’s very, very aware of what its doing and doesn’t give a shit, which brings a big smile to my face. I love the overall look of “Crank”. It’s an assault on the senses from the very start and pulls out some seriously off-the-wall shots (Google Earth?!) to help it tell its demented story. My favourite has got to be the numerous crash-zooms onto the Stath’s heart, letting us know that the action is going to be kicked up a notch or twelve.
There are some brilliant scenes too. My favourite has got to be the scene where Chev is running around a hospital like a madman in a loose-fitting, arse-showing hospital gown and holding up a crash trolley for some synthethic adrenaline. It’s so utterly nuts and funny that it will stick in my head for a long time to come. In fact, I don’t think there was any scene that didn’t entertain me in some way. Seriously, “Crank” is almost entertainment in weaponised form. I don’t think it’s possible to be bored whilst watching Mr. Chelios doing something outrageous to keep his ol’ strawberry tart pumping.
I could go into more detail, but I get the feeling it would spoil the fun of “Crank”- the whole point being that it does something unexpected and usually funny and painful in equal measures. It’s your standard uber-violent action film boiled down, mixed with a refreshingly dark sense of humour. Word of warning- it won’t be to everyone’s taste (definitely not a film you should show your grandmother) but if you manage to stay the full 90 or so minutes, you’ll end up with a mile-wide grin on your face. See it.