September 4, 2006

Movie Review: Crank

Crank is a gleefully over the top adrenaline rush that eschews everything concerning a deep plot in favor of keeping the action going fast and furious. The look of the movie could be described as Tony Scott on crack. A pure exercise in style over substance, Crank delivers an exciting, if insubstantial, trip into a tapestry of drugs, sex, and violence, with a side of adrenaline.

The concept is simple, a man is injected with a drug that slowly shuts down the flow of adrenaline, the end result of which is death. The only way that he can stay alive is to keep up the flow of adrenaline, stimulating it in artificial ways, if necessary. What results is a man on a mission, determined to have his revenge on those who did this to him, even if it is the last thing he does.

That setup allows a lot of creative freedom, since he has to keep going, that means the creative team needs to keep it moving at a breakneck pace. Forget the story, all you need to know is our man is dying, he is going to get his revenge, end of story. With the story out of the way, we can get right into the fights, shootouts, car chases, and a plethora of inventive ways employed to keep the heart going. This works not only for the actor, but for the viewers as well. My heart was pumping away as we careen from one scene to the next.

The writer/director team of Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor play the concept to the hilt. Somehow, they are able to keep it from careening wildly off the tracks, although it comes close to the edge on more than one occasion. Their style employed here is clearly from the Tony Domino Scott school of variable exposures with sped up and slowed down films and use of subtitles. They have crafted a film that may not feel all that original, but is injected with enough personality that I could not help but be captivated by it. The further we go, the more surreal it becomes until it reaches a climax that has to be seen.

Neveldine and Taylor have delivered a film that has an old school heart of 80s ultraviolence, dressed up in the trappings of the modern film. There is some nice effects and stuntwork, with an emphasis on practical effects. I always like to see a film that embraces the old school, in my opinion, we do not get enough of this type of film. I love these wild and crazy films that just blow up the screen, much like the Transporter films have done over the past few years.

Jason Statham once again proves his ability as an action star. He keeps the wildness grounded in some sort of believable reality, dealing with everything in a straight forward manner. He has the acting chops and imposing physical presence to pull it off. Statham's Chev Chelios is determined, and capable of doing exactly what he says. The rest of the cast don't really seem up to the task, as Statham just owns everything in this movie.

Bottomline. A wild ride through the world of a desperate man. Looking for something to have a little fun with? This could be the answer. It may not be to the same level as the Transporter flicks, but it is certainly a lot of fun!

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