The discerning Jason Statham fan—cheers, mate—knows and loves the Crank films, movies in which the actor’s buzz-cut stolidity is counterbalanced by hyperactive camera moves and ridiculousness. This one’s his Cobra. (Sylvester Stallone even wrote the dopey, bring-back-the-’80s script, from Chuck Logan’s crime novel.) Statham is Phil Broker, or simply “Broker!” to everyone except his daughter. Two years after a bust gone bad, the former Interpol agent and widower only wants to lead a quiet life in a rural Louisiana town, riding ponies in the backyard. But will his former enemies and bone-crunching ways come back to haunt him?
Let’s leave that one open-ended. All of the B-grade elements are here, but none are animated into struck-dumb exhilaration. We know from Spring Breakers that James Franco does crackheaded menace like a genius, but his Cheshire-cat grin as a local meth dealer isn’t going to cut it. Why introduce two female characters—played by Kate Bosworth and Winona Ryder, both excelling at trashy desperation—if the script’s ultimately going to forget them? The worst sin is visited upon Statham: Sure, those fists fly, but his poetry has become a chopped-up hash.
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