Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Witz Flickz: Crank!

I knew it was time to take a break from Netflix when the three movies at the bottom of my extensive queue were shipped to me because all of the others had varying degrees of "wait." I opened my mailbox to find The Night Listener, Crank, and Employee of the Month (added simply to fill my queue, but never intended to actually be received or viewed-- other movies along this line included Doogal, The West Wing Season 2 Bonus Features DVD, and The Fantastic Four). My excitement of receiving 3 dvd's turned to dismay at my options, and I quickly looked at my account and cancelled one day before I was billed again. I will return to Netflix, but not yet. Not yet.

Having received my final three movies, I vowed to watch at least 2 of them, or else I wasn't getting the most out of my cancelled membership. I actually tried to put on Employee of the Month to watch while cleaning the apartment, but my girlfriend thankfully put me in my place, saying she couldn't handle a movie with Jessica Simpson. Good call. Which left The Night Listener, a creepy Robin Williams/Rory Culkin flick or Crank, a movie with That Guy from Lock, Stock, & Two Smoking Barrels and more recently, The Transporter(2). After getting a rejection on a possible nightmare giving movie, I was left with Crank, and put it on with intentions of watching half and then going to bed....

....TOO BAD CRANK IS THE SHIT! 87 Glorious minutes later, I was entirely content with my decision/indecision. Because this movie is amazing. Not amazing good, mind you, it's not a "Good" movie, but it is an "Entertaining" movie, and that's something a lot of "Good" movies have failed to do recently. And it wasn't even bad, really, like most action movies, it was simply what it was.

SO WHAT THE HELL WAS IT WITZ? Fair question. I am 99.9% positive that the idea for Crank was created when one dude said to another, "What if we made Grand Theft Auto into a movie? Wouldn't that be sweet?" and the other guy said, "Yes-- yes it would be." They realized that you can't just make a movie called GTA (although they still might) where one guy rushes around inexplicably punching a dude in the face and then spray painting his car yellow, so they had to give him a reason. Poison. He is poisoned and has to keep adrenaline pumping or else he dies. Perfect. Now he can drink a red bull like a freaking insane person, punch out old ladies to get jacked up, and bang anything anywhere without repercussion. The stage is set. This leads to a romp throughout LA where the main character rages through the city finding interesting and scientifically questionable (but believable) ways to keep his heart pumping. They don't waste time with side-plots or extraneous explication that won't matter, they simply have our hero seek out the people who poisoned him before he dies. Brilliant.

But shockingly, it's not just the action that keeps it interesting. The whole movie is actually shot LIKE a video game. The first scene includes a first person "Doom Hand" shot. When setting up locations, instead exterior establishing shots, they use a giant map of LA, zoom to the location, and label it something such as "Eve's Apartment" or "Carlito's Place." EVERYTHING in this movie is fast except when it slows down for a second for comedic effect or to show his heart slowing down. That's the other thing-- It's funny! They manage to be funny without drawing attention to one liners like in most action movies. Things just kind of ARE funny, and not because they're overdone, but because they are ironic, or hilariously necessary, or just plain amusing. Crank is an action movie, that knew it had an alright idea IF it didn't try and pack anything into that idea that didn't belong. No rider themes. Just the meat. I'm not saying Crank is a great movie, but it had me entertained for 87 minutes without hesitation, and that's more than I can say for most of the movies that were at the top of my queue.


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