If you favor movies that boast bold visuals and brash action, you may well find Crank to be a veritable font of cinematic pleasure. Reliable man-of-small-words-and-big-action Jason Statham (“The Transporter”) stars as Chev Chelios, a tightly wound hit man who’s been injected with an exotic poison that will kill him if he allows his adrenaline levels to flag.
What ensues is an extended, highly kinetic action sequence that has Chelios motoring, sprinting and coptering across Los Angeles on the trail of his soon-to-be assassin. If the substance is old-school action with an adrenaline kick, the style is pure 21st century flash, zooming in and out of the image and morphing the on-screen colors with reckless aplomb.
Crank is a very R-rated action movie — it’s full of gruesome violence, depicts casual drug use, and even takes a breather for a full-on sex scene on the streets of Chinatown. But its sense of humor propels it through its own clichés and a brief flirtation with misogyny (Amy Smart is a likable actress, but her one-dimensional window-dressing role here as Chev’s girlfriend is utterly thankless). It’s not for everyone, and it does eventually run out of steam, but fans of pumped-up, no-stuntman-for-me shenanigans will dig it.
Originally published in the White Plains Times, September 8, 2006.