movie coverI'd rather be watching TV![IMDB link] [Netflix link] Been meaning to watch this one for a couple years now. The premise is that the main character is given a synthetic Chinese drug that will kill him in an hour. But as long as he can keep his adrenaline up, he can extend his life long enough to exact his revenge, and keep his girlfriend from being tortured/raped by the guy who killed him.

HAIKU REVIEW: Instant, crazed action!
Ultimate anti-hero!
Fucking amazing!

PEOPLE: Jason Statham (The Transporter) is great, and does his own stunts. He’s the white Jackie Chan. Amy Smart plays his girlfriend. Directed by relative newcomers Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor.

QUIRKS: Highly-stylized film. Instant action. Non-stop action. Amazing anti-hero.

Also, keep a watch for Berzerk (the Atari 2600 game) and Robotron: 2084. They are subtly referenced in the movie. They also use Google Earth several times!

NOFX‘s “Kill All The White Man” is used in the soundtrack, but so briefly that never noticed. The soundtrack has 32 songs, including some fast punk songs. Yay!

VISUALS: Shaky cameras and surreal effects help keep the viewer inside the mindset of our main character/anti-hero. For instance, he yells, “Do I look like I have ‘cunt’ written on my forehead?” during one scene — and the word is written on his forehead, and slowly fades. Or he’ll be on the phone with someone while driving, and you’ll see the reflection of that someone in his rear-view mirror. Or he will start to fade away, and you’ll see his view, with everything distorting due to his condition. The entire movie is just a non-stop attempt to put you in the head of the main character. And it works.

MORALS: Morally, our main character goes on a literal rampage — injuring people, destroying property, committing armed robbery, the works. And yet, he is completely morally justified in everything he does. While nobody would want to trade places with a dead man walking, you can’t help but be jealous of someone who can commit armed robbery in order to steal a bunch of Red Bulls, and be completely morally justified in it. He is in a rare predicament — one which makes us question our morals. If you only have an hour to live, you sure as hell are justified in not allowing the police to arrest you for speeding. If someone in a criminal organization is going to rape and torture an innocent girl, you sure as hell are justified in putting a bullet into peoples’ heads to make them stop.

BAD STUFF: You would expect a pure action movie like this to be full of flaws which the viewer must ignore. When he got in the back of a taxi, I yelled: “Plot hole! How is he going to keep his adrenaline up if he’s just sitting in a taxi, not even driving it insanely?” But then he forces the taxi driver to crank Achy Breaky Heart to full volume, and bangs his head into the seat repeatedly. I’m pretty sure that song at full volume would raise anyone’s adrenaline; our military uses that song for psy-ops! The only real flaw is when he gets defibrillated — I don’t think that speeds up your heart. That either starts it, or stops it. There are a few over-the-top moments that aren’t as believable as the rest of the movie. Killing someone within 50 ft of your girlfriend, and her not noticing. But she’s this ultra-oblivious, optimistic stoner, so they at least found a way to make her naivete and obliviousness plausible.

CONCLUSION: This might just be the best action movie I’ve ever watched in my life. Not in terms of “feel good”, but in terms of raw, frenetic, non-stop, crazed action. Action that, with the combination of stylized shooting/effects, puts you right in the head of what may just be one of the most desperate fights any man has ever fought in film history. I had no choice but to rate this 5/5 stars on Netflix and 10/10 on IMDB. While action movies may not be as deep as movies that focus more on story — this movie really doesn’t let up, not even for a second. I can find no fault in this, not even enough to lower it’s rating to a 9/10. This is a top-tier action movie, for sure. And there’s going to be a sequel — but it doesn’t look nearly as good. It looks like it’s going to be more on the ridiculous side. You really can’t follow something like this. Ever.

Damn we loved this movie! Best movie I’ve seen in 2009 so far (this review was written on 2/18/2009).

Watch it on a big screen, while not sober. This will help put you into the headspace of the main character.

And if you have a nasal spray prescription (like Nasonex), or illegal stimulants — wait until you watch the movie, and do them at the same time the character does. Audience participation! (NOTE: If these instructions are illegal in your jurisdiction, do not follow them.)

And make sure to see the “Crank as a Nintendo game” bit after the end of the credits.

SIMILAR MOVIES: Shoot ‘Em Up is a pale echo of this movie. It’s the over-the-top not-trying-to-be-at-all-realistic laughable version of Crank. Crank 2 just might be that as well.

Chev Chelios: What is this stuff?
Doc Miles: Synthetic ephedrine diluted with some saline.
Chev Chelios: Feels sort of good.
Doc Miles: Yeah well. I got a little Meth in there too, so that’s the endorphins you feel running to your brain.
Chev Chelios: Wait a minute so I’m not better?
Doc Miles: Fuck no you’re not better. You’re in such shit shape it’s stunning. I can’t believe your heart’s still beating. Shit should be in a fucking medical journal.

FRIENDS’ RATINGS: Jordan liked it. I’m surprised more people haven’t seen this.

Mood: 138 138 138 138
Music: Tiamat – Love In Chains