Cranky Statham Cranks up the Action
Having woken up dazed and confused, professional hit man Chev Chelios (Jason Statham - Cellular) discovers he has been injected with a cocktail of lethal drugs by bad guy Verona (Jose Pablo Cantillo - Disturbia). Determined to get his revenge on Verona and hopefully find an antidote to the drugs Chev goes on a rampage where he discovers that if he keeps his heart pumping with enough adrenalin fuelled action he can slow down the lethal drugs from killing him.
If I was to say there was a complex, intelligent storyline to "Crank" I would be laughed off the planet because frankly there isn't, there's barely a storyline worth mentioning. What we get is Chev Chelios on the verge of biting the dust from a killer injection going on a rampage to get those who are trying to kill him. That's all folks, that's as complex as it gets and as such there is one violent, over the top action scene after another. Not that it really matters because complexity is not the order of the day and it doesn't matter that Chev's girlfriend Eve is unaware that Chev is a hit man or why the bad guys want him dead because we don't really care and we're not meant to.
This means that "Crank" is a movie which trades on the action generated from both Chev's violent crusade to get those who are trying to kill him but also to find enough adrenalin packed thrills to stop the lethal drugs from killing him first. It's all rather far fetched, often comically so with action sequences being both visually violent but also comical such as when Chev picks up a gun off the floor which still has the decapitated hand gripped to it from a baddy he just dispatched with. The comedy continues through the far fetched way that Chev tries to keep the adrenalin flowing including having mad sex with Eve in the middle of China Town with all and sundry looking on. It sounds stupid and it is, but it is also bloody funny and in all fairness one of the craziest and most memorable sex scenes you will ever watch.
But "Crank" has an 18 certificate for a reason and it's not just for the occasional drug use, excessive swearing, nudity and sex scenes which include a blow job during a car chase. "Crank" does have a lot of violence going on enough to remind me of the blood filled action from 80s movies such as "Commando" and "Running Man". It's over the top action but with hands being chopped off, bullets through heads, bodies blown up and a high body count there is a lust for blood and a lot of killing go on, all of which is delivered in an in your face way which for some will be too in your face even if it does try to be comical at the same time.
The visuality of "Crank" carries on in other ways and directors Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor employ various techniques which will appeal to those with a low attention span. There's a snappy feel to it all with speeded up scenes, freeze frames and experimental camera angles which makes it at times a dizzying experience as it tries to imitate the buzz of an adrenalin rush. It works if that is what you like, but if you don't then the chances are you will find "Crank" a struggle.
As for the performances well "Crank" is all about Jason Statham playing that same sort of psycho, action hero he does in many a movie. So what we get is Stratham delivering that gruff London accent, delivering lines in his own comical manner and basically kicking his way through various scenes unless he is driving which he seems to do a lot of. It's a fun performance and Stratham like the movie doesn't take it seriously making it work. "Crank" is in fact so much about Statham that no one else makes any impact, not even Amy Smart as his generically blond girlfriend Eve or Jose Pablo Cantillo as equally generic bad guy Verona.
What this all boils down to is that if you want an incessantly daft action movie full of far fetched bloody violence with a comedy streak then "Crank" is the movie for you. But if you want anything bordering on intelligent then you will be left numb by scene after scene of over the top action, swearing and violence.