September 01, 2006
Mark Neveldine & Brian Taylor - 2006
Lions Gate Films 35mm
A couple of days after the challenge of the first two films from Suzuki Seijun's "Taisho Trilogy", I felt the need to see something less intellectually demanding. Crank may be superficial, and almost totally visceral, with some astonishing gaps of logic. Crank also is stupidly entertaining, often in spite of itself, satisfying a need for speed in less than ninety minutes. Had it not been used for a Japanese film I like quite a bit, this film should have been more properly titled Adrenaline Drive.
The story is something of a variation of D.O.A., with a hit man, Chev Chelios, learning he's been poisoned and has one hour to live. Chelios learns that keeping his adrenaline level up will delay the effects of the poison. Running, jumping and rarely standing still, Chelios goes after the mobster who poisoned him. This is a film with a car chase inside a shopping mall, a girlfriend with hiccups, and a leading man running through the streets of Los Angeles with little more than a hospital gown. Visually Crank is jam packed with split screen to show several activities at once, digitized effects and colors, images projected on walls, google maps, and an unusual use of text on film. So much is happening that it becomes easy to overlook the borrowed plot points from films such as Speed and Point Break.
The casting of Jason Statham could easily be pegged as derivative, a quick nod of sorts to the character he played in the two Transporter films. I had to wonder, based on the last name and his attitude, if Chev Chelios was named after Chris Chelios. What also makes this film somewhat unusual is that most of the characters are those usually little scene in mainstream films, the rival gangs are Latino and Chinese, and one of Chelios' friends is an openly gay Latino. There is a contradictory attitude within the film where Chelios and his rivals make homophobic remarks to each other, suggesting that Neveldine and Taylor have their own conflicting feelings.
Crank is a cheerfully amoral film. The saving grace of this film is in its total lack of pretense. Crank is brutal entertainment that makes no claims to self-importance, and like its characters, makes no apologies.
Posted by peter at September 1, 2006 07:33 PM
This truly IS ONE OF THE GREATEST FILMS OF THE DECADE. People were cheering at the end of the movie!!!
Posted by: Kelly V at September 2, 2006 01:03 PM