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Low on ideas, but high on action
Jason Statham Stars in "Crank".
OPENING WEEKEND: $17,000,000
DOMESTIC TOTAL: $59,000,000
  This Film is NOT a Future Release.
  The Following Preview has been Archived.

April 6th, 2006: Chev (Jason Statham), a hit man for a major West Coast crime syndicate, has just made a life-altering decision to quit the business for good and spend time with his girlfriend (Amy Smart) instead. After allowing his latest target to escape unscathed the night before, Chev wakes up to an unpleasant surprise. A videotape informs him that heís been poisoned with a ďBeijing CocktailĒ during his sleep. The toxin works on the adrenal gland and Chev can already feel the effects as his heartbeat has slowed considerably. In fact, he probably only has about an hour left to live, unless he can find a way to keep his adrenaline up. Since the videotape has also informed him that his girlfriend is in danger, Chev is now consumed by enough fury to keep him going for a while. In order to save himself and his girlfriend, he goes on a desperate, 24-hour rampage on the streets of Los Angeles, demolishing everything and everyone in his path, like a runaway train. His thirst for vengeance is enough to overpower the effects of the poison for some time, but ultimately, he cannot survive without an antidote.

What to Expect: Although this is a terrific concept for an all-out, high-octane thriller, I cannot say that it is the most original one, since I can immediately think of two other films and one television show that have already explored this idea. Basically, the story appears to be a mixture of the two films Speed and D.O.A. Much like the bus in Speed, which had to stay above 55 mph to avoid explosion and, consequently, the passengersí death, Chev needs to keep his heart rate up or he will succumb to the toxin in his body. In the process, he will destroy any obstacles in his way, similarly to the runaway bus. The idea that he is aware of the poison inside of him and has a limited amount of time to find the responsible perpetrators, comes right out of the 1950 film D.O.A., which was later remade in 1988 under the same title, with Dennis Quaid and Meg Ryan in the lead roles. Then there was an episode of ďThe X FilesĒ in which agent Mulder was stuck in a car with a man that developed a bizarre and deteriorating ear condition, which could only be alleviated by driving in a westward direction. Like Chev, if he were to stop, he would die. So although I cannot give the filmmakers any points for originality, Iím still intrigued by this winning combination of old, proven ideas.

This will be the first directing effort for either Mark Neveldine or Brian Taylor, who have also collaborated on the screenplay for Crank. The two possess a background in stunts and visual effects so they could have some innovative action sequences in store for the city of Los Angeles. Iím certain that they will have a lot of fun making this film, although Iím not positive that they are experienced enough to pull off a coherent and engaging story overall. Either Crank will be packed with fresh and exhilarating moments that only rookie directors would have the audacity to come up with, or it will get boggled down in mindless, uninteresting, recycled action. Being a pessimist, I tend to think it will be the latter. On the other hand, I think that the two filmmakers have at least made the perfect casting choice with Jason Statham (The Transporter, Cellular, Snatch.) in the lead. Although I have never been an admirer of Stathamís one-dimensional performances in the past, his irritable persona and no-nonsense attitude are ideal for this scenario. Somehow, I could envision him in the role from the moment I heard he would play the protagonist. Maybe he will be able to actually deliver some witty dialogue or perhaps even crack a smile this time around.

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Crank is probably best suited for those who are intense video game fanatics. The entire lively concept feels like a video game, with Statham racking up points with each blast or slaughter. Similarly to video game characters, heís willing to try anything, including drug-induced fights. As a pure, non-stop action movie, Crank should satisfy anyone with a short attention span, but I doubt it will leave a lasting impression. Outside of the terrific starting point for the plot, I suspect the filmmakers will not be able to carry through on the tremendous potentials. In fact, I feel that the screenplay will rely heavily on redundant and fairly generic developments, jumping from one numbing action sequence to the next.

In Conclusion: Thereís definitely something to this storyline, but I think that Crank will stray from originality, becoming a standard action picture in the process. Stathamís a perfect fit for the role, but his performances have lacked personality in the past, so Iím not really overwhelmed with enthusiasm about his involvement. Fortunately for him, he can probably just dial-in this performance without stretching too much acting muscle. One catchy plot gimmick cannot make an entire movie superb, but it can certainly stir up eagerness in the theater going public. As a result, Crank should go on to become a late summer hit, despite its shortcomings. Keep an eye out on a cross-dressing Efren Ramirez, aka Pedro from Napoleon Dynamite, and the always unusual and positively disturbing Dwight Yoakam (Sling Blade, Panic Room, Hollywood Homicide).

Similar Titles: Cellular, The Transporter, D.O.A.
September 1st, 2006 (wide)
January 9th, 2007 (DVD)

Lions Gate Films

Mark Neveldine, Brian Taylor

Jason Statham, Amy Smart, Efren Ramirez, Jose Pablo Cantillo, Jay Xcala, Carlos Sanz, Keone Young, Dwight Yoakam

Total: 426 vote(s).

Action & Adventure, Drama, Suspense

Click here to view site

Rated R for strong violence, pervasive language, sexuality, nudity and drug use.

87 min

English, Spanish





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