May 232019
 

Crank is a fun and rather entertaining flick even with the frenetic (though I know it’s in keeping with the adrenaline theme) direction, though works mostly for Jason Statham who does well even with some limited character development.

 

 

Crank
(2006)

Genre(s): Action, Thriller
Lionsgate | R – 87 min. – $22.99 | May 21, 2019

Date Published: 05/23/2019 | Author: The Movieman


MOVIE INFO:
Directed by: Mark Neveldine & Brian Taylor

Writer(s): Mark Neveldine & Brian Taylor (written by)
Cast: Jason Statham, Amy Smart, Jose Pablo Cantillo, Efren Ramirez, Dwight Yoakam
DISC INFO:
Features: Featurettes

Slip Cover: Yes
Digital Copy: Yes
Formats Included: 4K, Blu-ray
Number of Discs: 2
Audio: English (Dolby Atmos)
Video: 2160p/Widescreen 1.85
Dynamic Range: HDR10, Dolby Vision
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Codecs: HEVC / H.265
Region(s): A, B, C

The studio provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Blog Post.
The opinions I share are my own.
Note: The screen captures come from the included Blu-ray which was in 1.78 AR.


THE MOVIE — 3.5/5


Note: This portion is a re-print of my original theatrical review from 2006 with an update at the end.

“Poison in his veins. Vengeance in his heart.” The tagline says it all.

Crank is the latest movie showcasing Jason Statham’s rise as an action star following The Transporter in 2002 and its sequel, Transporter 2 in ’05 (not to mention he was probably the most charismatic of the bunch in The Italian Job). Neither Transporter movies broke out (the second did out gross the original, though), but Statham has built a fan base over the years and although he is not an A-list action hero in the mold of 1980s Bruce Willis, I think he is onto something.

Crank tells the story of assassin Chev Chelios (Statham) who wakes up one morning very groggy and discovers, via DVD, that he has been injected with what is called the “Beijing Cocktail”, a poison that slows the heart and the only way to stay alive is keep the adrenaline flowing. Chev uses his last hours to track down and take vengeance on Chinese gangster Verona (Cantillo) who was the one who injected Chelios because he assassinated one of the Chinese mob bosses. With the help of oblivious, though hot, girlfriend Eve (Smart), the two tear through Los Angeles to keep him alive and find and kill Verona.

Based on the trailers, I expected a simple action vehicle to display Statham’s talents and though indeed there is a decent amount of that, I did not expect writer/directors Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor (billed as Nevedine/Taylor) to slip in LSD in my drink either. If you take something like Terry Gilliam’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas or 2002’s Spun, you’d get Crank. The hyperactive direction isn’t annoying and it is quite fitting for a film about a man infected with not only the poison but afterwards, takes cocaine, epha- something and god knows how many other drugs. Nevedine/Taylor uses mostly a hand-held camera throughout giving us Chev’s POV; what he sees, we see.

Crank is not a movie, like the Transporter films, you watch for some top-notch acting, thought provoking dialogue or an overall meaning. No, simply put, it is a movie that you might love and your friends might hate. It is a guilty pleasure at its finest. However, for his part, Statham makes mostly everything work from the action/stunt sequences to the dark humor scattered nearly every other minute (from sneaking up on a motorcycle cop to crashing his car through a mall).

It also helps when Amy Smart finally arrives halfway through, wearing some skimpy bed clothing in her intro and following up with a sex scene later that seemed to come from the American Pie movies. Dwight Yoakam makes what is essentially a cameo appearance as Chev’s doctor who gives advice on how to keep the adrenaline up, shame he didn’t get more than 5-minutes of screen time — course, that’s 6% of the entire film (including credits!).

For me, I enjoyed the change-up in regards to the direction but although it is unique, it can also get on one’s nerves even with a flimsy story. That is going to affect repeat viewing as you see it once and it’s interesting, see it twice and it’s quite annoying. The biggest plus the film does have is it knows that the story is stupid and plays off of that with silly and raunchy humor mixed in with some insane stunt work to make the movie better than it probably deserved to be.

Mixing psychedelic visuals, some choice music ranging from rock to ’60s contemporary and stunt sequences that, though not the best I’ve seen even from Statham, were still pretty damn good, Crank delivers what it promises. Its core audience will eat up every moment of the short 83-minute runtime with all those plus some T&A to really get things rolling.

2019 Update: Since I wasn’t wild about my first experience watching 13 years ago, decide to give it another go and while I still wasn’t in love with the film compared to others, I did find it entertaining even with the chaotic filmmaking style (and yes, I know it was to match up with the adrenaline aspect). Not sure this is one of Statham’s better movies but between this and The Transporter, showed his star power and ability to carry a movie.

 

SPECIAL FEATURES – 3.0/5


This release comes with a glossy slip cover, inside is a redemption code for the Digital HD copy. Features included: Shooting Crank (7:07) behind-the-scenes featurette with interviews by writers-directors, producers, actors (including Statham); The Stunts of Crank (17:24) breaks down the high-level action/stunt sequences; Pushing Crank (6:22) looks at the promotion of the movie; last Crank @ Comic-Con (11:21) and More Stories from Crank (25:23) are 4K exclusives and are just some more footage and interviews from 2006.

 


VIDEO – 4.0/5


Crank is the latest catalog title from Lionsgate to make the leap to 4K. The 2160p high-definition transfer, presented in the film’s original 1.85 widescreen aspect ratio (back cover incorrectly states it is 2.35, probably just copied from the DVD release) and although I won’t say it’s a brilliant looking picture, compared with other 4Ks, there are spots of brilliant colors especially during the oversaturated shots where the HDR really gave them some pop, and detail appears sharp and nicely defined throughout. The heavy natural grain has remained intact giving it that gritty form the filmmakers were going for.

AUDIO – 4.5/5


The original Blu-ray, from my memory, had a strong track (albeit only Dolby Digital EX) and this one comes with a Dolby Atmos track which sounded pretty phenomenal. Dialogue came through with good clarity but never blaring while the action sequences is really where it comes to life, making excellent usage of every channel. Nothing I’d call reference quality but still impressive nevertheless.

 


OVERALL – 3.5/5


Crank is a fun and rather entertaining flick even with the frenetic (though I know it’s in keeping with the adrenaline theme) direction, though works mostly for Jason Statham who does well even with some limited character development as well as the lovely Amy Smart. This 4K Ultra HD combo pack comes with a so-so collection of features while the video/audio transfers were both well done.

 

 

 

The screen captures came from the Blu-ray copy and are here to add visuals to the review and do not represent the 4K video.

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