If you go into Jason Statham’s latest film expecting the over-serious tone and hyper-choreographed wire-stunt fight sequences of his Transporter movies, you’ll be disappointed… because Crank is funny, brawling, high energy mayhem all the way. It’s the closest you’ll ever get to a Grand Theft Auto movie – shot in the same disjointed MTV style of crime capers like Snatch.

The film has a fantastic, simple premise for an action flick – retired hitman Chev Chelios (Statham) wakes up to discover he’s been injected with a Chinese synthetic poison. Chelios is out for revenge, but in order to keep the fatal poison’s effects at bay, he has to keep his adrenaline flowing.

That means doing everything from snorting cocaine, to burning himself with a waffle iron, to gorging himself on Red Bull, to picking fights with inner city gangs, to staging hijackings and hostage situations, to spontaneous public sex with girlfriend, Amy Smart – who has always believed Chelios is a video game programmer.

What’s refreshing about Crank is its sense of humour. Leading man Statham seems up for anything, including a long stretch where he runs around wearing nothing but a hospital gown, and a huge erection. You know this is the movie for you if you laugh out loud at the thought of the hero staging a distraction by pulling a Muslim cab driver from his vehicle and yelling “Al-Qaeda!”

Then there’s the over-the-top violence – including cleaver fights and an encounter with an industrial sewing machine – that’s a throw-back to Schwarzenegger flicks of the 1980s, like Commando.

The only time Crank starts to falter is towards the end when writer-directors Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor finally take their foot off the accelerator – the film is a brisk 80 minutes – to devote some time to resolving plot twists. And I was particularly disappointed by the very end of the film, where events step a little far beyond the borders of reality, to the point where you can no longer suspend your disbelief.

Otherwise Crank is a wild ride - a fun popcorn movie for adults with a naughty sense of humour and strong stomach.


In other movie news, I TOTALLY AGREE with Harry Knowles’s Spider-Man 3 review over at Aint It Cool News.

On the same site, there are rumours that Master & Commander, Truman Show and Witness director Peter Weir could be considered to direct The Hobbit, as opposed to Spider-Man director Sam Raimi.

And Tim Roth has been cast as the villain in the Incredible Hulk – another fugly green giant who puts the Hulk’s (Edward Norton) powers to shame – called Abomination! Liv Tyler, meanwhile, is replacing Jennifer Connelly as estranged love interest Betty Ross.


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