The premise of “Crank" is a fairly simple one. Chev Chelios (Jason Statham - “Transporter") is a professional assassin who is poisoned with a combination of drugs called “The Beijing Cocktail" by one of his enemies. The poison will quickly kill him unless he can keep his adrenaline up to block the poison from bonding with his blood. Thus, Chev must do everything he can to keep his blood pumping fast enough to keep himself alive while he hunts down his enemy Verona in search of an antidote and to avenge the poisoning itself.
Despite the simple concept, “Crank" becomes a complex weave of characters and action that really doesn't make sense, causing the movie to just be one high-adrenaline action scene after another. The high points of the movie are few and far between. Due to the concept of the movie, the action scenes are intense and each one brings a different type of action to the forefront. From a gun fight, to high speed car chases. to a fight on a helicopter mid-air, “Crank" takes every possible way to create action-packed moments and forces Chev to experience them.
One of the other high points is in the cinematography. At certain points of the movie, the camera switches from a single one following Chev to the view seen through the security cameras, allowing the viewer to observe the scene in a different light.
Other than those few high points, “Crank" falls flat in the rest of the movie. As for the action of the movie, most of the scenes seem completely unrealistic and completely staged. For example, when Chev first realizes that he must keep his adrenaline up, he walks across the room and punches a couple gang members, causing a fight that probably would've gotten him killed. Instead, it just pumps him up and he jumps into his car and drives away. Sure, the adrenaline fact for Chev is a matter of life and death, but punching a gang member out of the blue seems a little forced.
When it comes to characters in the movie, the essentials are clear. Chev is an assassin in trouble. Verona is the crime boss who poisoned him. Eve (Amy Smart - “Just Friends") is Chev's girlfriend. Beyond that though, the characters and how they relate are poorly discussed and the character relationships are poorly developed. For example, there is a character named Carlito. He is a rival crime boss, and although it is clear who he is, the reasonings behind his actions are never fully explained, and all of a sudden, Carlito is in a scene with another major character, and you're not really sure why.
One of the other major negatives of the movie is in the portrayal of women. Eve, although beautiful, is portrayed as naïve and dumb. In the face of possible death, Eve feels it's more important to try and pick up her spilled purse than to get out of danger. Besides Eve, the only other women in the movie are seen as sex objects or servants. “Crank" lacks a positive female presence, which isn't always a necessity, but the fact that the women that are in the movie are portrayed so poorly makes it hard to watch.
Overall, “Crank" is a good action movie if all you're looking for is action. Other than that, it really is a poor movie. The potential was there. The concept was rather unique and could've made for a great film, but in this case, the way it was told, it really made for a bad viewing experience. Although I would typically recommend all movies for some reason or another, even if they aren't that great, I really can't find a good reason to recommend this movie.
Kolin Kasten is a graduate of St. Norbert College with a Bachelor's Degree in English. He is a freelance writer who also works part-time for Monumental Films, a Wisconsin-based video business whose goal is to capture the important events in one's life on film. To learn more, please go to: http://www.monumentalfilms.net