I am capable of indulging Jason Statham a great deal. I saw both Transporter films…in the theater, mind you. I can even explain to you why, despite the surprise factor of the original, Transporter 2 is, in fact the better movie. (The tough guy/cute kid dynamic is always more interesting than tough guy/whimpering chick. Plus, Transporter 2 has far superior evil henchmen, offering a Brigette Neilsen clone gone Blade Runner, as opposed to generic Asian gangsters.)
He’s dreamy, ok? Yes, I know he has more hair on his chest than on his head. He’s probably shorter in person. He’s not likely to win an Academy Award anytime soon. My affection for him irritates many of my male friends who whine things like “He was an Olympic athlete, you know” and “Normal guys don’t come that way” and “I could totally fight like that if I quit my job and took up martial arts training.” To all of them I say “Miss December? Real chicks don’t come that way.”
All of this is a long way of explaining how I came to watch the movie Crank in the first place, and why I was predisposed to enjoy it, even if it sucked. Wow. Did this movie suck. I gave it the old obsessive fan attempt to enjoy it. I failed.
I can’t complain about the flimsy plot, because I knew what it was before I watched the movie. We have a hit man, Jeremy, who has been injected with a “lethal synthetic poison”. Much is made of the fact that the poison, otherwise known as a “Beijing Cocktail”, in addition to being “synthetic” is “Chinese”. You’d think that, as descriptors go, the word “lethal” would be the one most distressing, but in this world “Chinese” is the game over sign. He discovers the only way to keep himself alive, at least long enough to kill the bastard who did this to him, and maybe fuck his girlfriend one last time, is to keep his adrenaline pumping. It’s like Speed, except with a person instead of a bus.
What follows is a very very very long chase scene during which our hero snorts coke, starts a gang riot, steals an endless number of vehicles, leads a cop car chase through a shopping mall, steals his girl some flowers but then loses them, provides continuous product placement for Red Bull, gets a friend killed, then uses his corpse as a shield, kills a lot of people, some on purpose, deliberately cooks his hand in a waffle iron and forces his girlfriend to have sex with him in public. (She said no at first, but then totally got into it, the way chicks do you know.)
Our hero, whose character’s name is so ridiculous I can’t even repeat it, calls his doctor, played, somewhat distractingly, by Dwight Yoakum. Using diagnosing skills that would amaze even Bill Frist, (Is your vision blurry? Does your chest hurt?) he is instantly able to diagnose irreversible lethal synthetic Chinese poison for which there is no antidote. There is a temporary fix though, a powerful drug which will keep him going long enough to kill the bastard that done did this to him. Our hero then goes on an incredible destructive rampage through a hospital to get hold of this powerful, mysterious drug, otherwise known as “epinephrine”.
I am not one of those killjoys who whines over minor lapses in cinema accuracy. The logic of a film does not need to sustain indefinitely. It merely has to last the length of the film itself. Our hero is a hit man who has worked for drug cartels. He is no stranger to illegal drugs. He snorts coke like a pro. You’re asking me to believe the guy has never heard of an epi-pen before? I don’t do drugs myself, but I saw Pulp Fiction.
And the rampage through the hospital to get his hands on one? They’re not rare. I have one in my medicine cabinet for crissake. My doctor prescribed it for me before I went to China, on the off chance my MSG allergy caught up with me while I was there. Obviously I should have been more concerned about encountering a lethal synthetic Chinese poison.
All the guy would have to do to get an epi-pen would be to stagger into the ER looking like death, which he already does, having been injected with a lethal synthetic Chinese poison, and mumble something about bee stings or bad clams or synthetic Chinese poison for which epinephrine is the only cure. It’s not like the guy is looking for methadone, or antibiotics. It’s like going on a hospital rampage to get Claritin. Excessive and probably unnecessary.
There’s more. There’s an ending. Explosions. Helicopters. There’s an egregious use of Loverboy’s "Turn Me Loose" on the soundtrack. It’s not bad enough to be funny. It’s not entertaining enough to be adequate, never mind good.
True fandom requires sacrifices, it’s true, but I’m afraid Crank is one lethal synthetic Chinese poison too far.