31 August 2006 | ps42
They probably should have given him more of that Chinese s**t!
If ever a movie was made to get one's heart pumping, Crank is it. It takes a marginally believable and undeniably awesome premise, adds one of the brightest up-and-coming action stars around, stirs in some new ingredients that the genre hasn't really seen before, and bakes until the final product rises beyond all expectations. The catch phrase "a thrill a minute" doesn't really go the distance to describe how ridiculously action packed this film is. A thrill every ten to fifteen seconds is more like it. First time directors Mark Nedveldine and Brian Taylor relentlessly bash you over the head with the action hammer. Their cinematography is manic and the style is reminiscent of that used by Tony Scott in Domino. It fits the pace of the film quite well.
Jason Statham delivers to audiences the only thing he knows how to deliver, and that is pure, distilled ass kicking. That is his job, and he is very, very good at it. Make no mistake, the film is very strongly 'R' rated. There is a bounty of flesh, and a strong smattering of violence, and drug use. Don't be thrown off by Amy Smart's name on the poster. Even though she does a fine job as Statham's on screen girlfriend Eve, hers (and every other) part takes a deliberate and distant backseat to Statham's charismatic portrayal of hit-man Chev Chelios. He also manages to wind more than a few threads of pretty solid humor into the performance. All in all, its Statham's most impressive job in a leading role yet.
In a nutshell the plot revolves around Chev Chelios, poisoned by his employer after a hit went sour with a synthetic Chinese compound that blocks his adrenaline receptors. The only way for him to stay alive is to get pumped up and stay pumped up. Anything he can get his hands on to raise his adrenaline is fair game, from drugs to energy drinks to raunchy public sex and more as he tears a path of carnage and mayhem through the streets of L.A. in search of the man who tried to kill him.
Crank is everything you could feasibly ask it to be and more. The filmmakers take an iffy premise, work their magic (read 'good casting and direction') on it, and produce reel after reel of pure adrenaline on film. It packs over the top action in with incredible stunts, clever and biting humor, a decent story and some above average acting. It's one of the most entertaining films of the year and may well be a career highlight for Statham. It's one of those films that you'll definitely want to go see with a bunch of the guys. What it lacks in depth, it makes up for in pure fun and distilled manliness. A high 8 out of 10.