Crank can’t match the sustained conceptual ingenuity of its inspirations, namely Speed and D.O.A.—hell, I’m not even sure if its makers could successfully spell D.O.A.—but the amount of stylish carnage on display generates its own cheerfully moronic slipstream. In a time of safe franchises and award bait, here, at last, is a movie that is completely, proudly, and deeply devoted to just being absolutely nuckin’ futs.
The plot, as boiled down to the high-concept basics: Jason Statham plays a hit man injected with an experimental poison. In order to stay alive long enough to get revenge, he has to find ways to keep his adrenaline pumping. Said prescribed exercise regimen includes snorting coke off of a filthy bathroom floor, nailing his girlfriend (the game yet wasted Amy Smart) in public places, and just basically kicking incredible amounts of ass at every opportunity. To call all this stupid and amoral is to be deeply charitable. Yet, aside from one really unfortunate gag involving an Arab cab driver, it all somehow stays on the enjoyable side of horrendously offensive.
Honestly, Crank’s guilty pleasure quotient is difficult to describe, other than to say that its sheer sinful glut attains some kind of idjit perfection. While most action flicks these days require their audience to turn their brains off, this movie somehow actually does it for you. Whatever few critical synapses you have left will likely be kept busy asking questions like: Why did the Head Bad Guy’s hideout contain a number of smiling bikini girls encased in giant plastic hamster balls? Was there really a nature clip of humping turtles being projected on the ceiling of that hotel bathroom? And where did all of this drool come from?