Crank | Chicago Reader

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In a variation on the old Edmund O'Brien thriller D.O.A., Jason Statham wakes to discover he's been injected with a “Beijing cocktail” that will kill him unless he keeps his adrenaline flowing, a dandy excuse for the near-constant chase sequences as he tries to track down his murderer-to-be. Writer-directors Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor embrace the contemporary spaz-action aesthetic (pounding metal, split screens, black-and-white freeze-frames, bio-graphics of the hero's frantically pumping heart), but I was more impressed by their ruthlessly efficient narrative, which confines the setup and resolution to a matter of seconds and seems to stop moving only long enough for Statham to boff his willing girlfriend on a crowded street. This is one of those movies whose empty-headed premise is so pure it's witty: with his insatiable need for excitement, the hero is a perfect stand-in for the fanboys in the audience. With Amy Smart, Efren Ramirez, and Dwight Yoakam. R, 88 min.

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