Crank

on September 01, 2006 by Shlomo Schwartzberg
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Chev Chelios (Jason Statham), a British hit man, wakes up after mysteriously being knocked out the night before. He soon discovers he's been injected with a “Beijing Cocktail,” a drug that will kill him within the hour unless he keeps his adrenaline pumping through the use of specific drugs. But there's no cure, and before the day is out he will die. What's a man to do with the short time he has left? If you guessed that our hero would resort to the provocative Hamlet -- musing on death and eternity -- you'd be very wrong. Instead, Chev intends to get revenge, specifically on Ricky Verona (Jose Pablo Cantillo), the thug who injected him, but eventually he ends up taking on virtually the whole of Los Angeles' crime underworld.

Marrying the concept of Rudolph Mate's 1950 noir “D.O.A.” -- remade in 1988 starring Dennis Quaid -- to the fast-moving, postmodern style of “Run Lola Run” might seem creative, but “Crank” is more irritating than inventive. Despite Statham's tough-guy charisma, this is a loud, gory and pretty empty movie that cries out for the cinematic talents of a John Woo or a Brian De Palma, filmmakers who could make the obvious stand out from the mediocre pack. “Crank”, however, is so busy careening around the place, with nary a pause to catch one's breath, that it quickly tires out the viewer.

There are a few good scenes with Dwight Yoakam, who's amusing as Chev's tolerant doctor, but he's cancelled out by Amy Smart's awful performance as Chev's vacant girlfriend. The only redeeming feature of the film is its occasional sense of humor, particularly in the running joke that almost everyone Chev runs into enables him by offering drug cocktails of their own. There's a self-realization here that at its heart this is an absurd, even silly, movie, but rather than exploring that premise further, Chev is off again, inflicting gruesome violence on his enemies until the film's inevitable, sadly predictable end. Starring Jason Statham, Jose Pablo Cantillo and Amy Smart. Directed and written by Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor. Produced by Tom Rosenberg, Gary Lucchesi, Richard Wright, Skip Williamson and Michael Davis. Action thriller. Rated R for strong violence, pervasive language, sexuality, nudity and drug use. A Lionsgate release. Running time: 90 min
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