Starring: Jason Statham, Amy Smart, Dwight Yoakam, Jose Pablo Cantillo
Director: Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor
Probably the closest Hollywood will come to making a big screen adaptation of Rockstar’s popular “Grand Theft Audio” video game series, “Crank” is an 87-minute surge of unadulterated testosterone that never slows down; and quite honestly, would never want to, if only to prevent the audience from thinking too far into things. It’s a lot like a video game in many ways – the story is rubbish, the characters are beyond stereotypical, and the action is so violent that it borders cartoonish elements – but for those of you who consider themselves a proud member of the A.D.D community, “Crank” may be exactly what you’ve been looking for in a trip to the movies.
The film stars action star extraordinaire Jason Statham as Chev Chelios, a freelance hitman who’s just received some bad news: he’s been slipped a deadly synthetic poison by rival Ricky Verona (Jose Pablo Cantillo) and he’s only got an hour to live. With the guidance of his friend, Doc Miles (Dwight Yoakam), Chelios discovers that as long as he keeps his adrenaline pumping in overdrive, he’ll be able to exact his revenge on the bad guys and say farewell to his dimwitted girlfriend, Eve (Amy Smart), before checking out for good. In order to keep his heart beating, Chelios does just about everything imaginable, from snorting cocaine, gorging on Red Bull, shooting up on epinephrine, and even having public sex in the middle of Chinatown.
The concept behind “Crank” is certainly original – unless you count the 1950 film “D.O.A.” and its 1988 remake starring Dennis Quaid – but that doesn’t mean it work. Jason Statham is obviously tailor-made for this kind of stuff, but even he can’t bring the kind of charm that’s needed to make this film appealing to the masses. Ultra-foul language, ultra-violent deaths, and ultra-hot blowjobs courtesy of Amy Smart in the car – it’s all in good fun, but part of me wishes that they would have taken things a little more seriously. Heck, the basic premise could have easily been used for a third installment of Statham’s more popular “Transporter” franchise, but instead, it comes out looking more like a 90-minute music video than an actual feature film.
Still, directors Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor seem pleased with the finished product, and that’s all that counts, right? Well, no, not if you ever want to make another movie again (or for that matter, any money), but considering that the film is being distributed by Lionsgate, we’ll go ahead and mark it down as a promising debut from the visually talented duo, who seem to have subscribed to the School of Tony Scott. Fast edits, blurred stills and onscreen dialogue aside, “Crank” still manages to entertain as a B-movie joy ride with late-night material written all over it.
The single-disc release of “Crank” doesn’t offer much, but it does feature one of the coolest audio commentaries to hit DVD (“Crank’d Out Mode”) which includes audio/video commentary by the directors, behind-the-scenes footage and interviews with the cast/crew while the movie is playing. Also featured is a family-friendly audio version of the film (with all the expletives removes) that curiously still includes all of the nudity, violence and graphic expletives (like the “Fuck You” written on the CD in the opening) from the original theatrical cut.