Tuesday, September 9, 2008


I wasn't really sure what to think when Crank started. It began like Blair Witch Project with shaky footage shot from the first person point of view. The herky jerky motion of the camera was already making me nauseous when the camera cut away to a third person view. What a relief. A few more minutes of first person and I would have had to turn this off.

Crank tells the story of a hitman who has been injected with a "Chinese" analog drug that does not have an antidote. He wakes up to find himself drugged and gets to watch the drugging occur on a video that has been left for him by his killer. Our hitman, Chev Chelios (played by Jason Statham) was actually in the process of giving up the game when he was assigned a hit that was a set-up. He didn't do the hit...not because he realized it was a set-up, but because his girlfriend didn't know his profession. He did it for her. Chelios has to keep his heart rate up to keep the analog drug from killing him. He wants revenge, and destroys the city in the process of keeping his adrenaline pumping. This fast-paced movie drops us in the middle, allowing us to pick up the missing pieces as the story chaotically unfolds.

The writing in this movie was actually good. Although the plot was a bit simplistic, the dialogue was great. The sub-plots and background of the characters are deftly interwoven into the story as our character races his way through the movie. The sub-plots are interesting, if not fleeting. The characters aren't necessarily well developed, but I had a slight connection with a couple of them. This movie is primarily an action movie and the writing takes a backseat to the camera work and action. The writing wasn't the best, but it worked.

The acting in this movie was excellent. Statham sells the lead role without pause. With constant action and a lead role that is tough as nails, Statham convinces the viewer that this improbably series of events is actually unfolding. Maybe the constant action keeps you from taking time to consider the plausibility of events. Either way, Statham delivers an excellent performance. Amy Smart plays Chelios' girlfriend, Eve. Although her part is minor, she was okay. I wasn't overly impressed with her and didn't feel she added much other than a plot detail. Jose Pablo Cantillo plays the bad guy in this movie...well, the main bad guy - Verona. Verona is a somewhat one-dimensional character...the consummate villain. But Cantillo gives him a flair and essence that makes him almost likable but definitely evil. Dwight Yoakam plays Doc Miles. Doc Miles delivers some pretty good lines in this movie. Yoakam was solid. The rest of the cast sort of breezed past in the haze. None of them stood out to me, good or bad.

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