Sunday, 27 November 2011

Statham Sunday part one - On the suspension of disbelief


Flim 2012 continues today with two posts around a single theme - Jason Statham films. It takes a special type of actor to have an entire genre named after him. He is that type of actor. This morning, mindful of the fact I'm rapidly becoming the guest editor of my own blog, I'm going to do this post about the importance of good faith. This afternoon, an excellent guest post by Betsy, entitled "A Love Letter to Jason Statham". For all non-believers, this will surely be the day when the scales fall from your eyes.

I love Crank and Crank: High Voltage. They are astonishing, brilliant films. They are also terrible. Two of the most stupid, pointless films ever made. Crank: High Voltage might actually be the worst film I've ever seen. I love it. You should love it too.

There are some people who do not subscribe to the "so bad, it's good" school of thought. I am not one of them. Of course, I accept that some films are just bad. So irredeemably awful that no light can escape the surface of their black heart. Sliding Doors being the ultimate example. Crank and Crank: High Voltage are not. With a perky combination of profound self awareness and magnificent futility, they manage to break through to the other side.

Seriously, they do. If you want to get poncy about it, you could say that they so extend the elastic of their supposed generic conventions that it snaps, leading to the creation of a whole parallel set of semiotics required for the successful reading of what the film is trying to do. However, that's a bit high-fallutin' for a film franchise where Jason Statham shags Amy Smart in public to save his life. Twice. So instead, let's just say that it's complete unbelievablity, wilful stupidity and grinding pointlessness make you laugh and make you happy.

If you argue that action films shouldn't do that, I say you should untie the apron strings a little. Just go with it. Enjoy it. Suspension of disbelief is absolutely vital to the enjoyment of so bad they're good films.

Never is this truer than for Crank and Crank: High Voltage. In Crank, Statham is injected with a McGuffin of a drug which stops the heart unless it is continually pumped full of adrenaline. If you can't get past that, then you're going to have serious trouble with the Red Bull-chuggin, public porkin, drug-sniffin, epinephrine-shootin, car-crashin, boner-poppin lunacy which ensues. With a bit of good faith, though, this becomes a tapestry of good things. And after all, it's a film. If films were meant to be true to life, they'd be hours of crushing disappointment followed by a poo break.


If you didn't enjoy Crank, then you're going to HATE Crank: High Voltage, where Statham's heart has been actually physically replaced with an electric pump which needs to be continually electrocuted. Yes, the friction from wild public sex on a race course is sufficient for this, why not. And yes, he ends the film on fire. Who cares? He ended the first one falling out of an aeroplane to his certain death.

If you start asking questions of a so bad it's good film, even stop to question it for a single second, you need to abort the procedure. Watch Trois Couleurs Bleu instead and thoughtfully stroke your beard. Without good faith during films like Crank and Crank: High Voltage you would surely go insane. Anyone with even a basic working knowledge of US-UK immigration law, for example, would no doubt question how Chev Chelios manages to survive working as a freelance hitman without a visit from the IRS or the State Department, and that's before he even sets himself on fire. Maybe he's an illegal immigrant. In which case, keeping your head down and not chucking two up your girlfriend in public would be the way to go?

But there you go. Maybe Crank is not real. But that's OK. It's good for things not to be real. Especially when November sucks this hard.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Every Sunday should be statham Sunday. That's what Sunday's are for!
Ps I love Jason statham.

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