Prepare to get ‘Cranked’ up on new Statham film

Ally Melling

Chev Chelios, played by Jason Statham, sews up a villain in Crank. PICTURE COURTESY OF LIONS GATE ENTERTAINMENT

Credit: Steve Schirra

Imagine finding yourself in a situation where the flow of adrenaline is the only thing that can prolong your life. Things that are normally good for you, such as sleeping or relaxing, are out of the question, and the opposite — sex, drugs and violence — are all you have to survive.

In the aptly titled Crank, you will see all of this and receive a large dose of other deranged goodies. When it is over, you will leave the theater feeling exhausted.

Fresh from an outstanding supporting performance in last year’s overlooked London, Jason Statham (Snatch, The Transporter) portrays Chev Chelios, a hitman who has been injected with a fatal Beijing drug cocktail by an over-the-top adversary. The poison will kill him if his heart slows down below a certain point, forcing him to constantly keep his adrenaline flowing so he can track down all the bad guys who doomed him.

It may seem like a combination of thrillers such as Speed and Run Lola Run. Viewers may be expecting Crank to be Transporter III: Electric Boogaloo. If so, put all fears aside, because the movie presents enough fresh, funny and messed up action sequences to satisfy.

Despite the predictability of the plot, the entire 83 minutes of the film is full of fast-paced surprises and random craziness. To sustain his adrenaline high, Statham robs stores of their caffeine pills and energy drink stock. During his rampage, he chops off limbs, snorts cocaine, crashes multiple vehicles and injures hundreds of innocent bystanders.


Starring Jason Statham, Amy Smart, Dwight Yoakam

Directed by Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor

Distributed by Lions Gate Films

Rated R for strong violence, pervasive language, sexuality, nudity and drug use

Stater rating (out of five): * * *

There are laugh-out-loud moments of intended absurdity and ridiculousness. At one point, Chelios flies from a hospital, bare-bottomed, after a carelessly measured injection of adrenaline. Later, he has sex with his oblivious girlfriend, Eve (Amy Smart of The Butterfly Effect), despite being in a crowd.

However, this is not to say Crank is a flawless classic. The film has a stretched-out plot that, while enjoyable, also seems pointless and wholly unrealistic.

For example, in the Crank world, helicopters can fly from city level to the troposphere in less than a minute. Statham’s character also manages to turn his one-hour death sentence into a six hour reign of chaos with the help of Efren Ramirez (Napoleon Dynamite’s Pedro) and nasal spray.

Filmmakers Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor try some entertaining new tricks with camera work, CGI and subtitles, such as the literal stamping of a word onto Chelio’s forehead in one scene. Even the movie title sequence resembles the start-up screen of an old arcade game. It is these little technical details add to the overall fun, fast-paced ambiance of the entire film.

Overall, Crank is a parody of the modern action film, literally on speed. Sometimes bordering on the hyper-real, it pulls back for some well-placed humor. Much like Snakes on a Plane did for Hollywood horror, Crank never takes itself too seriously. It might be construed as an inside joke that not everyone gets. But, then again – if everyone got it, it would not be as funny.

Contact ALL reporter Ally Melling at [email protected].