Everybody remembers the premise of Speed (1994). If the bus drops below 50mph, it explodes, killing everyone inside. Take this simple concept and transplant it into a person, and you have Crank, a kick-ass B-movie action film that takes the viewer for a non-stop joyride!
Jason Statham plays Chev Chelios, a hit man, and all-around tough guy with a name to die for. The film begins appropriately with a first person perspective that is highly reminiscent of playing a video game. Chev is quickly informed through a cleverly placed DVD that he has been injected with a lethal Chinese synthetic poison and must keep his heart rate up to stay alive. If the film still has your interest at this point, it might just be able to hold it for the next hour or so, with Chev’s revenge motivated rampage.
The script to Crank was irrelevant. The dialogue was atrocious, as expected, though it is worth a few laughs. What this leaves is best described as mindless, over-the-top and ludicrously stylish action, violence and sex. It’s impossible to take this film seriously. In fact, it demands that you turn your brain off, which is a must if you hope to enjoy a grown man running through public wearing a hospital gown while sporting an artificial adrenaline induced erection. All this happens before he even gets to his girlfriend, Eve (Amy Smart). Eve plays the important role of servicing Chev not only during a car chase, but also in the middle of a crowded market as onlookers cheer for the sheer exhibitionism. After all, sex is the best way to keep your heart rate up. Crank plays with itself visually through its use of disorientating camera movements and abundance of fresh and suitably flashy editing techniques, which work perfectly to keep the film moving along at breakneck speed.
I can happily recommend Crank to anyone who is fascinated by a gimmick, or to those that just wish to switch off and be entertained by intentionally ridiculous action. It is shallow escapism at its best and likely won’t be outdone by anything else in its genre this year. So grab some popcorn, relax, lose yourself in the spectacle and it’ll be finished before you know it, hopefully leaving you satisfied if even a little pumped up.
DIRECTED BY MARK NEVELDINE AND BRIAN TAYLOR
Reading, Regent cinemas