Crank (2006)

(In theaters, September 2006) “Gloriously insane” is how I would start to describe this film, which seldom hesitates to use showy cinematic techniques whenever it gets bored, which is about once every twenty seconds. This meshes unusually well with a concept that goes straight to the heart of the modern action film: If you stop, you die. The director uses just about every single trick in the book to keep the film hopping and if the action scenes themselves aren’t all that spectacular, the mash-up of images, techniques and approaches makes for a deliriously cool viewing experience. Think Domino, Running Scared and a bit of Saw and you’ll be in the right ballpark. Jason Stratham is fabulous in the main role (the movie wouldn’t have a worked as well as it does without his pure action personae), but the real star of the show is the director and his catalogue of effects. Small touches like video-game graphics, satellite-picture scene transitions and gratuitous public sex basically ensure that I’ll pick up this title at least once on DVD, especially if it has an audio commentary by the directors. No, there’s nothing respectable or admirable about this mixture of nihilism, misogyny and absurdity. But damn if there isn’t something in this film to appeal to the baser instincts of the action crowd –or the postmodern hipster sensibilities of those who think they’re above all that. Surprisingly, Crank may actually be a lot more clever than anyone is willing to acknowledge.

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