Crank and Transporter remind me of what got me into movies in the first place, albeit through the back door.
January 12, 2012
Jason Stathom is my new favorite action hero. Dude is a perfect cross Bruce Lee and James Bond, my previous two favorite action heroes. In the Transporter series, he plays a courier with very special skills. Screw FedEx, this is the guy you go to when your package absolutely, positively has to get there overnight. He delivers. I know I’m late to the party with Transporter. All three movies came out last decade, the most recent one in ‘09. But man what a party. Directors Luis Leterier and Corey Yuen, working from a character and story by Luc Besson, have put together a trio of movies with muscle and panache.
And then there’s Crank. Here Stathom plays a hit man injected with a “Chinese Cocktail” that will kill him if he slows down. It’s like Speed but instead of a bus that can’t idle it’s him. Total bullshit but damn if it doesn’t work! The movie is pure adrenaline. For 90 minutes we watch an ever-more tweaked out protagonist go after his killer and God help anyone who gets in his way. Yeah, baby! The writer-directors are Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor. I haven’t seen Crank 2 but I will.
That’s right. I’ve spent the last couple nights burning through movies like a teen gang-banger on crack. Why? Because I ran out of good horror movies. Because I just don’t frickin’ feel like watching The Tree of Life. Because it’s fun.
When I was a kid, my father, unbeknownst to my mother, took me to the Riviera Theater in Uptown to see a hard R movie called The Seven-Ups.
Directed by Phillip D’Antoni and starring Roy Scheider and Tony Lo Bianco, it was kind of a poor man’s Bullitt but man it was fun. Naked ladies. Cussing. Violence out the ying-yang. I had no business seeing this movie. I think I was 12 years old. But that’s part of why it was so cool. Kind of like sneaking into the now-demolished Parkway Cinema to see triple features such as Enter the Dragon, Fists of Fury and Deadly Weapons. Those who know know the latter picture is about a woman who kills her enemies by smothering them with her enormous breasts. (What a way to go!) The first two films, of course, made Bruce Lee an international star. All together you’ve got one helluva day at the movies.
And now, instead of being too young for such racy fare, I’m too old. Fuck it. Fun is fun. Watching Stathom kick ass and drive fast reminds me of what hooked me into movies in the first place. It wasn’t Spielberg. It wasn’t Disney. It was badass and reckless films like Crank and Transporter.