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Action movies have different rules, it’s true. If you’re anything like me, you expect flaming car crashes and intricate fight scenes, but a plot with the structure of swiss cheese is easy to ignore because the rest is so thrilling. Fortunately for me, Crank offers funny and frenzy simultaneously. All hail the rise of the Action Comedy because Jason Statham does not disappoint.

Chev Chelios (Statham) is a brooding hitman with hopes of switching gears to the straight and narrow to settle down with his little lady, Eve (Amy Smart). As is explained early in the film, he has spared his final target, Don Kim, in an effort to start this new life. He begins the film with a literal rude awakening - he has been fatally poisoned by another henchman and seemingly disgruntled coworker. What follows is a series of literally adrenaline-fueled stunts in an attempt to find an antidote and to exact his revenge. Our antihero is facing certain death unless he’s able to maintain a constant flow of epinephrine through his body by whatever means he can.

There is truly a relentless stream of action from the very first scene of this movie. It’s exhilarating. It’s exhausting. It’s not for kids. This man powers through piles of cocaine, a giant syringe of epinephrine, and literally runs barefoot from place to place lest his consciousness fade. He has aggressive sex with his girlfriend in front of a large crowd of foreign tourists who actually seem to enjoy the show. It’s the kind of graphic ridiculousness that leaves you waiting for the real explanation - like it was actually a drug-induced hallucination and the picture shifts to him coming to naked in a subway station.

And while no one ever expected any Oscar nods, the acting is refreshingly good for your typical action flick. The characters are a bit absurd, albeit, but the movie becomes more than just flash and gore when you’re laughing at witty side remarks about an insane situation. The accent helps Statham, of course, but Eve (Smart) and Kaylo (Efren Ramirez), a friend with surprisingly apt street intel, deliver plenty of personality as well. Sometimes the lines are cheesy, but it works for me. I also really appreciate the relationship between Chev and his doctor-by-phone played by the ever present Dwight Yoakam. It offers a believable source of exposition on the effects of the Chinese drug he’s racing to stay ahead of. And maybe his tactics are technically unethical, but this doctor is using his talents to help a friend who seems like he deserves it.

It’s true that the quick transition from scene to scene might cause a few viewers some minor motion sickness, all in all the camera work is precise and engaging. Unlike your usual action flick, it’s relatively easy to follow the plot through his manic zig zag across Los Angeles. The web of characters involved is simple and to the point - you know why each person is targeted and killed. And it delivers proper violence as you’d expect for everyone’s motives and states of mind. They are killers for hire after all.

In the end, Chev finds that the crime boss, the very mild Carlito has exploited his act of mercy and Ricky Verona was just an operative in his plot to tie up loose ends. Yes, I know. It’s so predictable. And while I admit that the final twists and turns of this story are less than mind-blowing, I suspect a few of us missed a detail or two because our attention was so saturated with Chev’s hysteria. Don Kim is a (sort of?) surprise ally in the final battle scene that offers a well-played middle finger to the bad guys. But Verona’s final power move of taking out Carlito is especially generic.

Crank is a fast-paced, constant flow of action and agitation. It is perpetually in motion and keeps all senses engaged at all times. Be careful, though - it will likely suck you in and make you believe that loud, public sex and cocaine are proper fuel, and that’s probably ill-advised. The biggest disappointment was a lackluster crew of villains facing an epic antihero. But in truth, Chev Chelios is fighting the deadly drug coursing through his veins and seemingly inevitable demise. He is actually fighting stagnation and forcing the audience to keep up with a dark and playful explosion of cool. Maybe I have a crush on Jason Statham...maybe you do, too. I give this a one shot rating! Funny and exciting, bring a pair of dry pants for this one.
 


Comments

07/30/2017 6:56am

I loved the way you started off the review by giving a jist about yourself and then proceeding! Really like the post and your writing style

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I couldn't agree more. You have good writing skills, I must say. You did the review with a good manner, it is very concised and straight to the point. Please continue on reviewing movies. It helps me decide on what movie to watch next. I don't want to waste my time and effort with boring movies.

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