I have this agreement with Rosario: we will go to the movies together. But not, under any circunstances, to see something like Crank.
So, on wednesdays (cheap tickets, yipee!) if I am downtown, I will go see that kind of things.
This is a special movie. It may seem on the surface to be an ordinary brainless action/violence/sex spectacle, the kind many take for granted nowadays. However, there are some things noone thinks about when watching it.
When I was a kid, this movie's cinematography would have been impossible. It shows how action films made 20 (maybe 10) years ago look cheap today, because technical advance has been massive.
The script may be dumb, and medically incomprehensible (like the alternative uses of ephedrine and epinephrine for the same thing. They are not.), but you know what? It's an excuse to have a guy that can't stop. The movie is about a bad guy that can't stop, not about "Haitian hardcore shit. Made of plant shit, man!". Come on, is radioactive spider bite any better? Or brain cloud in Joe versus the Volcano any better? (Ok, bad example there).
No one complains that Spidey makes no sense. Or that Kong is too large. And that's OK. Then why is the idea of a guy that needs constant adrenaline stupid?
I think that this movie is seen as stupid speaks more about how many things we have already seen. This is not even the first movie about a poisoned character guaranteed to die looking for revenge I saw (That would be D.O.A. which is actually a pretty decent movie).
Look at action movies like Die Hard. Is it any less stupid? Maybe (and maybe not). But it was there first.
And at least Crank doesn't take itself too seriously.
As a bonus, it contains the best spoken-portrait-that-looks-just-like-the-guy-scene ever.
BTW: it's really not a good movie.
Warning: this below is a little personal, rambling, and probably not a movie review.
You can make a case for this actually being a good movie. It may not get all the way there, but it's a decent job, done by competent craftsmen. You have to consider the movie as part of a larger thing, the sports movie genre. In particular, the boxing movie.
Everyone has seen them ... Underdog ... Long Odds ... Training Montage ... Final Fight .. Last Round ... it's almost like the conventions lie besides conventional narrative, just a series of cliches waiting for you, coming at you like a river. You can hear the upper case initials like waves hammering at your temples.
But I have many soft spots. And one of them is for boxing, and it's for purely personal, subjective, undefensible reasons.
My dad had a stroke many years ago. He was always a dry man. Affection with him was not exactly a simple matter. We had very little in common.
But on late friday nights we would watch the fights. We would talk about them, he with the difficulty of not being used to talk to me, later that of the hemiplegic, me with the difficulty of talking to him.
After a while, I started living alone, but kept watching the fights, and when I visited him, we would do it together. Until Benn-McClellan, which cured me from any enjoyment of boxing I ever had.
But I can still appreciate exactly how hard boxing is. Any sport at a high level requires skills I don't have, and is hard. Now think about practicing a sport (Any sport. Figure skating, if you will!) while another guy, just as strong and quick as you is trying to beat the crap out of you. That's boxing. You are not going to convince me there is anything harder in sports (except maybe some other combat sport).
And Rocky Balboa is a tale about a guy whose heart is so broken he can only think about that skill he used to have, and he gets a miraculous chance at doing that again, and it's a goddamn fairy tale, and nothing else, but I know how the eyes of a guy who would die, who would kill for a chance at doing something he can't possibly do look like.
And that kills me. And this movie killed me. And I got shivers at the end. And I am a goofball.