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CRANK (director/writer: Mark Neveldine/Brian Taylor; cinematographer: Adam Biddle; editor: Brian Berdan; music: Paul Haslinger; cast: Jason Statham (Chev Chelios), Amy Smart (Eve), Jose Pablo Cantillo (Verona), Efren Ramirez (Kaylo), Dwight Yoakam (Doc Miles), Carlos Sanz (Carlito), Reno Wilson (Orlando); Runtime: 83; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Michael Davis/Gary Lucchesi/Skip Williamson/Richard S. Wright; Lionsgate; 2006)
“For those who take delight from movie junk fare, Crank is your just dessert.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

For those who take delight from movie junk fare, Crank is your just dessert. It’s offensive, hyperactive to the point of annoyance, and makes no sense; it’s filmed as if it were a video game with disposable characters in search of a story. It’s the kind of excuse for a feature film that seems more intent in pushing product placement (like cell phones) than story. Star Jason Statham has the energy of a hooligan, the wit of a dullard and the charisma of an enraged madman driving a car through a crowded mall, which makes him oddly watchable for the brain dead viewer. Without a good story, Statham’s unique presence is wasted in a film that’s so ridiculous it makes moronic seem like too complimentary a term to give it. Co-writers and co-directors Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor are first-time feature filmmakers who have a history with video games and high-end commercials. They exploit those lucrative sought after commercial skills, as the plot line makes its way through Los Angeles by displaying high levels of testosterone, an unreal adrenaline rush, continuous frenzied momentum and no room for anything brainier than kicking ass. It does for non-thinkers what Plato does for thinkers, with more annoyances imparted than pats on the back for its gaudy display of mindlessness. Its charm is in how far it goes in being trashy, shallow, obnoxious, hateful and sexist without caring who it offends.

The plot line, borrowed and misused from the great 1950 film noir D.O.A., has organized crime Brit hit man Chev Chelios (Jason Statham) waking up drugged in his L.A. pad and putting on a DVD where a fruity mob rival named Verona (Jose Pablo Cantillo) gloats as he tells him he’s been injected with a deadly poison. Calling his personal physician, Doc Miles (Dwight Yoakam), Chev finds out he’s been injected with a “Beijing cocktail,” a poison whose lethal effects can be diverted only by a constant spurt of adrenaline. In order to stay alive long enough to get revenge, Chevy finds odd ways to keep his adrenaline pumping such as, taking hugh quantities of energy supplements, injecting ephedrine, applying a defibrillator, snorting cocaine and nasal decongestants, the thrill of mutilation, being in a constant state of rage and raping/fucking his dumb girlfriend Eve (Amy Smart) in the middle of the crowded street while in Chinatown.

It’s filled with detestable cartoonish characters involved in all kinds of incomprehensible mayhem, and in its equal-opportunity of hate moments it mocks whites, blacks, Asians, Hispanics, gays, Muslims and women. None of its activities hit even the slightest humorous note. It’s pure sleaze, an unapologetic exploitation film that thankfully ends when our moronic raging antihero falls out of a helicopter and has time before landing to show his tender side by making a cell phone call to his old lady telling her of his love. This one is a prime candidate for the most debased film of the year.


Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”