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
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.
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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
"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
"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