Saturday, 30 December 2006

Crank (2006)


Crank is not so much a movie, as an 80 minute MTV video, with all the style and substance which that implies. If you want something thought-provoking and stimulating you've come to the wrong place. If you're happy with a fast-paced piece of nonsense that features endless effect shots, slow/fast motion cuts, loud metal music and a basic plot that is very silly indeed then Crank will be right up your street. And if I'm honest, it was right up my street too - this is a film that clearly doesn't care about awards, or presenting any kind of reality, and just wants to have fun with lots of bangs, explosions and outrageous stunts. It is, in short, a lot of fun.

Jason Statham plays Chev Chelios, a heavy for hire, who wakes up to find that he's been injected with a lethal Chinese drug that will kill him within the hour by stopping his heart. The only way to delay the effects of the poison in his system is to keep his adrenaline flowing, and the film charts his progress around Los Angeles as he does everything imaginable to keep his heartbeat high (and I DO mean everything!) whilst trying to get to the root of who did what to him and why.

This is very much an action film for the noughties, and whilst the plot gets sillier and sillier as the film moves along - with one particularly ridiculous scene featuring Chelios publicly having sex with his girlfriend whilst crowds cheer him on - it's rarely less than entertaining. Stratham plays Chelios as a kind of Grant Mitchell from East Enders, albeit one who while playing the hard man is prepared to spend a significant portion of the movie running around Los Angeles wearing a less than fetching hospital gown. The loud music, fast cutting and over-used bleach/fast-cut effects irritate initially, but once you get into the flow of the movie its general good humour, albeit peppered with a lot of violence, sexist talk and foul language, ends up winning you over, despite its political incorrectness.

Crank screencap

The film ends with a stunning helicopter fight sequence that makes fantastic use of its Los Angeles backdrop, and goes on to deliver a final punchline that shows its makers have got their tongues firmly planted in their cheeks. Frankly, if you don't have a big grin on your face after seeing this unapologetic tosh then you must have had a sense of humour bypass.

The transfer is as good as one would expect for a film that only hit the box office a few short months ago, and there's good use of surround-sound throughout. But this is a very 'vanilla' release, with no extra's to speak of at all (unless you count trailers for other titles). Undoubtedly there will be a new version along, featuring behind-the-scenes featurettes and director's commentary in the not-too-distant future, so this is very much a rental rather than a purchase.

Crank screencap

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