Crank Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor

It would seem as though the title, Crank, has less to do with the drug and more with a guy on the street who shouts at passers-by. Like him, the film traffics in a stream-of-conscious affront peppered liberally with obscenity and engages in antisocial behaviour as frequently as possible.

Ex-Transporter Jason Statham is at the centre of the storm; he’s a hit man who’s just been administered a deadly poison that will kill him if his adrenaline level drops, thus he never gives himself the chance, as he searches for his killer while destroying as much property, human life and respect for civility as possible. Amy Smart shows up as sex-interest window dressing but mostly it’s about a man in love with his fist pounding somebody’s face.

Writers/directors Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor assist him with the loudest, fastest-cut and most digitally tweaked production imaginable, while populating the narrative with an array of foul-mouthed racial stereotypes calculated to pop your head with outrage. Except you never can muster the indignation — the film is ludicrous, willing to try things and so completely beyond the pale that you have to give it points just for trying.

Say what you will about the film’s stone age politics and seething macho aggression but it’s never dull or sanctimonious; the movie just wants to astound you and refuses to ladle on some phoney moral message to cover its tracks. Just when you think Neveldine and Taylor have gone as far as they can with a particular tangent they slam something into it that makes you jump. And while the duo have lamentable taste in loud, grinding music, one can’t fault their attempt at pulp virtuosity even when they don’t quite pull it off. (Maple)