Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Crank (2006)

Directed by Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor

UK born movie star Jason Statham has been type casted as a tough SOB since his performance in Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and rightfully so. The guy is a believably bad mama jamma both on and off the big screen. We are talking about a prematurely balding man who at one time won the heart of knockout Kelly Brook and went on to kick Jet Li’s rumpshaker in The One. Whether it was his role as The Transporter, Turkish in Snatch or as one of the gang in The Italian Job, Statham’s on-screen presence is one of intimidation that demands respect. For him, type casting has been an instant winning lottery ticket over the years as he has appeared in some excellent action flicks and scored a big payload in the process. Even though The Italian Job, Snatch and The Transporter contain his more recognizable roles, his best work takes place in 2006’s bizarre film Crank, directed by Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor. 

Professional killer Chev Chelios wakes up one random morning and watches a video left behind by his arch nemesis Verona (Jose Pablo Cantillo) for his viewing displeasure. The footage shows Verona injecting a poison into Chelios' neck, the Beijing Cocktail, in retaliation for his current hit on a Hong Kong boss. This poison marks him for instant doom within the hour, so his time is short. Insane as he is a lethal, Chelios heads out to find Verona and take him out before he expires, learning that he must keep his adrenaline pumping consistently through his veins or the drug will kill him. Meanwhile, his doctor (Dwight Yoakum) is hurrying back into town so that he can help cure him and he must also protect his stoner girlfriend Eve (Amy Smart), who believes that he is a video game programmer and not a hitman, when Verona tries to take her out of the equation as well.

For the next 88 minutes, Chelios stops at nothing to keep his heart pumping, including snorting cocaine from gang members, robbing convenience stores for energy drinks and caffeine pills, bum rushing a hospital for ephedrine, leading a city wide police car chase, driving his vehicle through pedestrian-filled malls, and even having sex in public to be able to continue his quest to snuff Verona and avenge himself.

Like the Chelios character, the film starts off fast and does not slow down until the very end. You have to realize from the get go that this is not the normal action film you are used to seeing Statham in and is purposely exaggerated to the brink of ridiculousness. Crank is more like an over the top video game, ala Grand Theft Auto, where real life restrictions are nonexistent. There are even many references to video games seen through the film. Since he technically has no future, he is never concerned with his present actions and you cannot help but laugh at the chaos he creates or the situations he finds himself in. He is like a human version of The Terminator, which he even refers to himself at one point. In many ways, this film, redefines what an action-comedy should be. Sure there is a heap of gore and foul language, but the flick is nothing more than a next-gen game combined with a graphic novel that has come to life. 

As far as anti-heroes are concerned, Chelios should be among the all-time Top-10 in cinematic history. In all seriousness, Statham is an excellent actor, who is underrated when it comes to comedy due to his action hero persona that he has created for himself over his career. In Crank, he proves that can play comedy and action with the best of them, perfectly cast in the role. Even Amy Smart, is hilarious in her part as well and ups the comedic factor tenfold.

Crank can easily be viewed on Netflix or might even be on your premium cable On Demand channel, so if you are a Statham fan or want to see the wackiest action-comedy film for the ages, don't hesitate to watch this one today. 

Make sure to stay past the credits. Followed by a sequel in 2009, Crank: High Voltage.

4 out of 5 Creeper Santas



Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Completely implausible, but a heck of a ride!

Chuck said...

I have enjoyed this movie every time I have watched it. You are right on all counts about Statham's badass role ID and his comedy sense. I even think some of his Guy Richie film roles are fairly comedic. And yes, Amy Smart is hotter than Georgia asphalt!!

If a movie has JS in it I am watching...Expendables II here I come!!

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