Ever wake up and just know it's going to be one of those days? Retiring hit man Chev Chelios (Jason Statham) is about to have his last, as at the beginning of Crank he's rolling out of bed with a dazed expression, a desire for revenge and a system full of a nasty synthetic toxin that'll kill him as soon as he runs out of adrenaline. You'd expect this would happen shortly after writing-directing duo Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor run out of amusing ways to keep Chelios amped, but somehow the movie lumbers on well beyond that point.
Crank borrows the visual tics and lurid situations (and star!) of a Guy Ritchie caper--as well as the casual violence of a Tarantino flick--but achieves the momentum of neither. Statham, who's tailor-made for this kind of thing, nevertheless spends too much time doing his cool-menace thing to communicate the sort of urgency the (semblance of a) plot demands. Crank does get some well-deserved laughs, but for a movie that might as well be a one-man Speed, it just can't keep the pace.
--Alex Markerson
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