Screenwriter: Mark Neveldine, Brian Taylor
Starring: Jason Statham, Amy Smart, Efren Ramirez, Jose Cantillo, Jay Xcala
Running time: 83 mins
Trailer: WMP 850k / WMP 1500k / Realplayer 850k / Realplayer 1500k / Quicktime 850k / Quicktime 1500k
English hit-man in LA Chev Chelios (Statham) awakes one morning to be informed that he's been injected with a troublesome poison which will finish him off within an hour. However, discovering that his deadline can be stretched by keeping his adrenaline pumping, he does so through a combination of drugs, sex, violence and Red Bull.
For the next 80 minutes, Chelios rushes about the streets of LA with the conviction of the bus in Speed in an effort to keep himself and his under-informed girlfriend (Smart) alive, find an antidote and exact revenge on those who have ticked him off.
The result is a no-nonsense, over-the-top action movie which makes no bones about throwing characterisation and plot to the wind and just gets on with the car chases and bloody fisticuffs. In fact, it runs like video games such as Grand Theft Auto as Chev whizzes around topping up on sources of energy as he makes his way to his next target.
However, Crank isn't simply an actioner stripped down to its bare skeleton. Writer/directors Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor, previously known for their work on commericals and music videos, bring into the mix some good one-liners - and when they're corny, they're unabashedly so - but also visual originality. Split screens during telephone conversations, humourously-used subtitles and profanities superimposed on characters' heads make the film, if not the action itself, feel fresh.
There's not really much of a sense of rooting for our underdog hero throughout the film. Even though he's a nice man really - we see him refusing to kill his latest target in an effort to escape his profession - it's hard to really feel much sympathy for his antics, as much as we might enjoy them. That said, the film doesn't really catch Chev on one of his better days.
For those who aren't after a pure action movie, and who care about characterisation or plotline, Crank is to be avoided. However, if you're in search of fast, mindless action with a fair dollop of originality, you could certainly do worse.
Watch a clip from the movie: WMP / Realplayer / Quicktime