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Any movie these days starring Jason Statham is going to be an adrenaline rush of action, speed, and wit. With Crank, we literally get all of the qualities packed together in an 87-minute orgy of fast-paced violence and sex. Statham’s character has done his last hit as an assassin and those who held that job in ill will have decided to take him out. Knowing that killing this sadomasochist while he felt the pain would probably be the kind of death he wants, they resort to injecting him with a poison concoction that slowly destroys his body by inhibiting his production of adrenaline. He now has a few hours to get back at the men who’ve plotted against him, say goodbye to his girlfriend, and die with dignity. The only way he will even come close to having the time to do it all is if he continues at break-neck speed with any stimulants available to course through his body and give him precious seconds of life.

Credit all involved here for knowing exactly what this film was going to be and sticking to their guns. Crank is shot with fast cuts, loud heart-pumping music, and gimmicks galore allowing the audience to join in on the fun and speed of Chev Chelios’ (what a great name) last day on earth. What would usually make my eyes roll—superimposed telephone conversations in windows and walls to avoid the use of split screen, filtered/polarized effects, diagramed layers of things to get, and text running across to emphasize words said—they all work perfectly here and add to the sense of a “Grand Theft Auto” type game that was started at the very beginning with the title shown in 8-bit game graphics. Everything that happens is unbelievable and on the cusp of being totally, comically outrageous, yet it all just adds to the ride. This film just beefs up Statham’s growing resume of action thrillers and is right up there with both films from the Transporter series.

Even the cast of supporting players adds to the fun. Efren Ramirez is hilarious in a small role, a great counter to his part in the very disappointing Napoleon Dynamite. Dwight Yoakam is great as the kook doctor trying to help Statham stay alive and Amy Smart equally effective as the girlfriend Chelios was going to leave the business for. Her obliviousness to the outside world was funny and her reactions to Statham’s antics priceless, (the sex scene in Chinatown makes the movie). Also, Jose Pablo Cantillo steals many scenes with his over-the-top villain Verona. He plays it up so well that you have to love the slimy jerk. Everyone seems aware of what kind of movie they are in and by acting accordingly they enhance the enjoyment. As far as these types of films go this is effective throughout on all counts. Even the ending fits like a glove, (despite what Statham’s character is doing during the scene, which is quite laughable); because if it ended any other way the movie would have lost everything it was building up to.

Crank 6/10

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photography:
[1] Chev Chelios (Jason Statham) and Eve (Amy Smart) in Brian Taylor and Mark Neveldine action thrillers’, Crank – 2006

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