There is stupid, and then there is Crank stupid. Jason Statham seems to be making a name for himself as a 21st century action hero who only stars in idiotic films. But where The Transporter movies were consistently entertaining if not a bit outlandish, Crank goes over the top. The absurdity is probably intentional to some degree, but that really doesn't matter - it is poorly executed and definitely doesn't feature Statham at his finest.
Crank stars out with an assassin named Chev Chelios waking up to find that a crime leader has injected him with an untreatable poison that will kill him within an hour or so. His only chance to keep his adrenaline up, and he does so by racing all over town no matter what the consequences. Whether it's driving through a mall or beating up people or robbing stores or screwing his girlfriend (Amy Smart) in public, he does it all to keep his heart beating, but his real goal is to track down the man who did this to him and kill him before he himself bites the bullet.
The concept is theoretically decent, but still farfetched enough where it keeps the audience from really getting into the story. Action movies don't need much of a plot to be effective, but the situation here is so ridiculous (or at least delivered in a way that isn't very realistic) that everything just seems silly. Statham is likable on-screen presence no matter how sleazy his character is, but even he can't hold up this house of cards. Directors Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor (it took two directors to come up with this piece of crap?) just don't have the goods to pull together a solid action piece. Whether it's CGI shots of Statham's heart dying or goofy items like words suddenly appearing on Statham's forehead to the most serious of action scenes, Crank just never captures the attention.
The action scenes are not terrible, but the movie is essentially one long action sequence and not a single moment is particularly memorable. This isn't the worst action movie I've seen, but compared to Statham in The Transporter, there is really little to screen about. Statham doesn't get to do much more than shoot guns, run around a lot and swear (the DVD includes a family friendly version with all of the swear words edited out); he really doesn't get to do a lot of one-on-one combat as you'd might suspect.
As for Amy Smart, why does she continue to appear in movies like this? Beautiful and assumingly smart (that's her name, isn't it?), she continues to choose crappy films to extend her career. What a shame!
For those looking for complete mind-numbing action, Crank offers the goods, but the action really isn't good enough to make it worth it. For those looking for even an ounce of intelligence or plausibility, Crank is a complete waste of time.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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