Crank

Distributed by Lions Gate Films
Genre: Action/Adventure/Comedy/Thriller
Rated R for strong violence, pervasive language, sexuality, nudity and drug use
Running Time: 83 minutes

by Jon Minners

Ridiculous.  Thatís the one word I uttered out of my mouth when I walked out of the movie theaters after seeing the film, Crank

Itís a word that I have associated with the movieís star Jason Statham since I saw Transporter.  It became even more apparent last year when Transporter 2 upped the ante for us adrenaline rush junkies.  But the action star has somehow found a niche that works and despite my doubts that any film could top Transporter 2 for sheer absurdity, Crank not only tops it, but leaves it in the dust. 

But for ever unrealistic moment, for every scene that makes you laugh at its sheer stupidity and for every scene that just makes you shake your head in disillusionment, Crank ends up being a brilliant masterpiece of action, adventure and visual eye candy, making it the most fun and exciting movie of the summer. 

Writers and directors, Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor, have essentially created a video game and made it into a movie.  In fact, the opening credits play out like an old NES 8-bit game and Stathamís character lies to his girlfriend, telling her heís a video game designer, an obvious nod and inside joke about this filmís tendency to lean toward the Grand Theft Auto side of filmmaking. 

Statham plays Chev Chelios, a hit man for hire who has apparently killed the wrong man and is paying for it.  The film starts immediately with his character waking up and stumbling around, only to discover a recorded message from an underling who sees his chance to rise through the ranks of organized crime.  This thug with aspirations has poisoned Chelios with the Beijing Cocktail, giving the main anti-hero of the film a limited amount of time to live before his heart stops. 

Chelios accidentally discovers of his mind subconsciously tells him that his heart picks up the pace every time his adrenaline goes up, which does for the human heart, what the film, Speed, did for a bus. 

This discovery results in action packed car chases with a visually appealing scene of a car turned on its side on an escalator, and shootouts and brawls that are less intense than Transporter in terms of the limited use of karate by our star, but with just as much impact. 

And we also get the absurd, like Chelios robbing a convenience store to steal its supply of Red Bull-like energy drinks, Chelios having himself defibrillated and giving himself too much epinephrine, which results in some truly awkward and downright hilarious moments.  And of course, thereís that scene where he has public sex with the well-ranged Amy Smart, so convincingly playing the role of a stone that has lost a few too many brain cells.  I loved her brilliant acting in Butterfly EffectSmart is funny and very likable in this film, if not more of a background player amongst all the action.  She still stands out despite seemingly only being used for the sex scenes and those scenes are rather interesting and canít fully be described in words.  Itís one you have to see to truly enjoy. 

Of course, this all leads to the conclusion, which is just so insanely over the top, itís sort of fitting to the film and the character.  Youíll sit through so many films and see them blow their wad, unable to top themselves during the climax, leaving you disappointed in the end.  Crank continuously ups the ante, providing adrenaline rushes that continuously top the one prior. 

And you are along for the ride.  Thatís what makes the film so exciting; you become a part of the action.  The directors freeze scenes, slow them down, speed them up and use music effectively to make you move in and out of the adrenaline rush just as Chelios does the same.  In the end, this film was about 90-minutes, but in its limited time, they managed to pack what felt like three hours of action, leaving the viewerís heart pumping and wanting more right until the very end. 

Oh, and Pedro from Napoleon Dynamite is in the film, too.  Sex, violence, action, blood, speed and PedroÖwhat more could you want. 

Of course, you will ask yourself, how Statham will top himself now.  Well, Statham takes it a bit easy with a more subdued.  Well, Statham takes it a bit easy with a more subdued, but still action-oriented role when he films the sequel to the Italian Job; the Brazilian Job.  Not as intense as Crank, but just as anticipated.  Jason Statham never disappoints. 

Until then, Crankís on visual crack and itís time to get high.  Go get you some. 

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