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"Crank"

Directed by Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor.
Written by Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor.
Starring Jason Statham, Amy Smart, Jose Pablo Cantillo and Dwight Yoakam.
Release Year:  2006
Review Date:  9/2/06

Folks--

The great thing about "Crank" is that it has no illusions of what it could be, and instead focuses on what it is--85 minutes of watching Chev Chelios (Jason Statham) run all over Los Angeles trying to keep himself alive by any means necessary, because a rival criminal named Verona (Jose Pablo Cantillo) has injected him with a fatal Chinese synthetic drug that will kill him if Chev can't keep up his adrenaline long enough for his doctor (Dwight Yoakam) to fly back to L.A. in time to save his life.

The urgency of Chev's situation is well-backed by filmmakers Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor; Chev is hopped up on epinephrine, speed, coke, Red Bull and whatever else he can get his hands on, so the directors make sure that the music, the camerawork, the editing and the fast-talking people around Chev are all flying by at a mile a minute.  Usually, I have a hard time keeping up with this much cross-cutting and jerky camerawork, but it lends itself well to Chev's situation so I just sat back to enjoy the ride.  Statham obviously loves doing films like this, and the attitude he brings to his character (naturally, he's a hitman working for a "major West Coast crime syndicate") works for the short duration that this film is up in front of you.  The other characters--save for Chev's girlfriend Eve (Amy Smart)--all are similarly high-wire, so the atmosphere is just right for the action.

The action, however, at least the gunplay and fight scenes, are not very well done; in fact, the best action scene of the film is the sex scene that takes place late in the film as Chev finds any means necessary to keep his juices flowing.  "Crank" works better as a Bruce-Willis-in-the-90s style action film; watching Statham wisecrack his way through bad situations is funny, and watching him stomp all over the communal trash of society makes for good family fun (kinda).  The action from the first "Transporter" film was better; but, hey, you can't have it all here, right?

As a fun adventure that is in one ear and out the other, "Crank" will help you pass an afternoon, for sure.  Just don't get your hopes up for anything better than that.

Rating:  Matinee

 

Comments?  Drop me a line at justin@bellviewmovies.com.

 

Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  This is the highest rating a movie can receive.  Reserved for movies that exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development, setting...or Salma Hayek.  Not necessarily in that order. 

"$X.XX Show":  This price changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently, it is the $9.50 Show.  While not technically perfect, this is a movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.  "Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca", but you'll have a great time watching.  The $9.50 Show won't win any Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see "Office Space"). 

"Matinee":  An average movie that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.  Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about yourself.  A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that Lakers game last night?" 

"Rental":  This rating indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one."  Mostly forgettable, you couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the video store was out of copies of "Ronin."  If you can, see this movie for free.  This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a half stars." 

"Hard Vice":  This rating is the bottom of the barrel.  A movie that only six other human beings have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen.  A Shannon Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a movie.  Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or "Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!  (Warning:  strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard Vice"-rated movies.)

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The "fine print":
All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/bellviewmovies.com except where noted
1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09