Crank (2006)
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Review Date: January 31, 2008
Director: Mark Neveldine, Brian Taylor
Writer: Mark Neveldine, Brian Taylor
Producers: Michael Davis, Gary Lucchesi, Tom Rosenberg
Jason Statham as Chev
Amy Smart as Eve
Efren Ramirez as Kaylo
A hitman with a heart of gold (well okay, maybe not) is prepping to give up the biz for his girlfriend with the sweet ass, but not before his baddie buddies decide to poison him with a “Bejing cocktail”, a concoction that generally kills anyone injected with it, within the hour. But our hitman isn’t a regular guy (he’s fuckin’ Statham, yo!!), and decides to try and fight his own demise by doing all kinds of crazy shit in order to raise his adrenaline glands, such that he can keep living. Non-stop action and fun ensues.
A lot of movies get released with the “marketing push” centering around its “non-stop action” or “thrill a minute” virtues, but CRANK doesn’t just plug those words into its press release, it actually integrates them into its cinematic DNA, and I’m talking from minute number one to minute number eight-five, folks. That said, if you’re one of those people who likes to bitch about a film’s implausibilities (“That could never happen!”), then this movie is definitely not for you, as its premise is about as over-the-top as an effeminate gay man at a Gay Pride parade, with its lead character inhaling about as much drugs in one day as Keith Richards might do in a week (that’s a lot of drugs, kids), while driving cars through malls, getting into major scraps with drug dealers, recklessly riding a motorcycle through busy streets (actually, standing on top of it, with his hands spread out in the sky), killing people left and right…and much, much more. Remember back in the 90s when every other film was being described as SPEED but…on a train, or SPEED but…on a plane? Well, imagine this film as being SPEED but…in one’s heart, as the entire premise of the film revolves around its lead character having to maintain a major adrenaline rush at all times…or die. And speaking of the lead character, this review wouldn’t make too much sense if I didn’t mention the amazing work of Jason Statham, the man who not only plays this character with heart, passion, strength and fearlessness (love the butt-shots, dude), but also provides enough sympathy for his character, so that we actually give a shit about him the whole way through.

Granted, the man is still pretty much an asshole, but he’s funny, he’s got heart and he loves his doofus babe of a girlfriend, and in a film like this, that’s enough! Speaking of his girlfriend, Amy Smart also does a fine job as his bootie-call, particularly when he rails into her bootie in front of a gaggle of spectators in the middle of Chinatown. Good times. I’ve only gotten head in front of a crowd in Chinatown, so Statham’s one-up on me there. The rest of the secondary characters were also a ton of fun, including both of the baddies, Jose Pablo Cantillo and Carlos Sanz, both of whom dug into the characters with plenty of ham and cheese for everyone. But at the end of the day, along with Statham, it really is the film’s non-stop energy and imaginative direction that makes this movie stand out from the others, and you gotta tip your hat to the writing/directing team of Neveldine/Taylor for all that, with a booming soundtrack, plenty of camera tricks, a blazing sense of pace, along with a handful of fun and disposable dialogue (“You haven't been tight since your brother fucked you in third grade” – said to a guy) that truly make this film what it is and that is entertainment for action fans from start to finish.

I’d always been a big proponent of Statham as this generation’s action hero and I believe this film confirms that theory once and for all! Rumors abound about a possible CRANK 2, and even though the conclusion of this film makes that rather difficult to envision (great ending, by the way…love that soft song in the background), I will be one of the first people in line when that film does hit the big screen, with a stack o’ nachos, cheese and salsa on my lap, a jug of root beer by my side and an action movie erection looking to be stroked once again. Thanks to everyone involved with this film for putting some creativity back into the action genre! Now do I look like I have “cunt” written on my forehead? Didn’t think so.
(c) 2018 Berge Garabedian

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