Plot: An assassin's been poisoned by some guy who wants him dead for reasons that are almost explained, but it's a special kind of movie poison where he'll die if his heart rate falls below a certain rate. He searches for an antidote while doing anything he can to keep that heart pumping. Meanwhile, our hearts pump right along with him.
I'm sure I'm not the only person who thought this, but Crank is like Speed but with a human being instead of a bus. It's probably no significance that the titles are monosyllabic. The producers know their audience and how many syllables they want to utter at box office windows. This movie really is dumb, but it's also an edge-of-your-bean-bag-chair thrill ride from start to finish. Beginning in medias res, this wastes no time at all to get to the techno-music-fueled first action sequence. And then, you get another action sequence. Then another. Then twelves more. By the halfway point of this fairly short movie--a short movie that moves so quickly that it seems like it's fifteen minutes--you're out of breath and have your pants around your ankles.
You know what this is? This is a movie for people (let's face it--probably guys) who thought the Fast and the Furious movies were a little bit too realistic.
The action's both cartoonish and frenetic, visuals that almost force you to have Carl Stalling music in your head. Somebody should mash-up a scene from this with "Putty Tat Trouble" or something just to see if that gels. I bet it will! There's Red Bull product placement, possibly the most appropriate product placement I've ever seen. Midway through these shenanigans, I felt like I had taken in a Red Bull or three, probably intravenously.
I should point out that this isn't a movie without its problems. The camera is almost always doing the exact wrong thing. The music is obnoxious. You feel a little jerked around while watching this, mostly with loud sounds accompanying the jerking. And there are lines like "He's gone dipsy doodle, yo." Now that I've typed that, however, I can't figure out how that would be a "problem" exactly. But this is the sort of adrenaline rush where the ridiculously awesome outweighs the bad. A character saying "How frickin' awesome was that, huh?" after cleaving off a dude's arm. Public sex in Chinatown ("I'm alive in Chinatown!"), absolutely necessary since the guy needs to do what he can to stay alive. A great scene where Statham's walking around with a giant erection. A bad guy playing Berserk of all things. A moment when Statham erupts with goat bleating. At least I think that happened. A terrible special effect where Statham bounces off a car!
Holy hell! I think humanity has reached the apex of stupid with this crazy work of macho art, and I loved every minute of it. I'll see the sequel soon.