Wednesday 24 January 2007

Crank (2006) Mark Neveldine & Brian Taylor

Crank is a strange little film. At heart it's Speed without a bus, in reality it's an 87 minute game video of Grand Theft Auto, as filmed and edited by Guy Ritchie. The sheer breakneck pace of it, as required by the plot, means that directors Neveldine & Taylor, sans first names, threw in everything you can see in GQ magazine or Maxim or whatever other competitor for an entire year long run. There are fast cars, fights, topless girls, snappy dialogue, guns, drugs, bad language, hallucinations, everything. Even the split screens can't keep still. I can see Spike TV channel showing this non-stop for a week at a time.

The lead is Jason Statham, who is always worth watching. He's at once the most unlikely Hollywood action star and the ultimate believable guy to do unbelievable things. Here he plays Chev Chelios, a professional hitman who has been poisoned by a competitor. It's no usual poison though, some sort of Chinese cocktail that takes a while to kick in, something similar to what they gave Edmond O'Brien in DOA. This one takes less than a hour but Chelios has to keep his adrenaline pumping or his heart will just stop. This leads to some bizarre scenes, like Chelios headbanging in the back of a taxi to Achy Breaky Heart, standing in public in a hospital gown with a raging hardon or starting a fight in a black biker gang hangout. There's also the most outrageous and hilarious public sex scene I've seen on film.

The directors throw in every trick in the book, and humour's only one of them. I lost count of all the devices they stole from Guy Ritchie to speed up time, and there are flashback scenes reminiscent of those in Run Lola Run but I couldn't tell if these went forward in time as well. There are new ones too though, including a cool way of manoeuvering around the city via a Google Earth overlay, dictionary definitions being thrown on the screen and a very cool look at a subtitle from behind. Even the ending wasn't a copout and that must have been tempting. I loved some of the little touches and for a 2006 movie I'm happy to even see little touches. Definitely one I'll be watching again soon.

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