Directed by: Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor
Premise: A hit man (Jason Statham) goes on a one-day quest for revenge when a crime boss injects him with poison that will slow down his heart. In order to stay alive, Statham’s character must keep his adrenaline up through a combination of sexual, violent, and chemical stimuli.
What Works: Crank is a great deal of fun, although it is very much a guilty pleasure. Statham is competent in his usual role, a brutal but sensitive martial artist; Statham is quickly becoming the Steven Seagal of the new millennium. The film uses the adrenaline gimmick to its advantage, playing with the form and giving the film a breakneck pace. Part of Crank’s fun is its political incorrectness. The film is macho, sexist, and violent and its protagonist disregards all rules of propriety in his effort to keep himself alive, including using cocaine and having sex with his girlfriend (Amy Smart) in the middle of a public street. Instead of being obnoxious, Crank ends up being fun because it is unapologetic, it has a great deal of humor, and for all of its action, Crank does maintain a delicate sense of coherency.
What Doesn’t: The film is fairly absurd, and while that is inherent to the pleasure of the movie, when the story slows down as it does in parts, the energy of the film subsides.
Bottom Line: Crank is an absurd, non-politically correct action film that indulges every guilty impulse. It will appeal most to teenage boys, or to the teenage boy inside of our brains, but as much fun as Crank is, I had the distinct feeling that I should hate myself for liking it so much.
Episode: #109 (September 10, 2006)