Directed by Mark Neveldine, Brian Taylor. Starring Jason Statham, Amy Smart, Jose Pablo Cantillo, Efren Ramirez, Dwight Yoakam, Carlos Sanz, Reno Wilson. (2006, R, 87 min.)
REVIEWED By Marc Savlov, Fri., Sept. 8, 2006
What can you say about a film like Crank? The title is already more succinct, accurate, and witty than anything I or anyone else in my profession is likely to come up with, and it also looks downright snappy on a Hollywood résumé, which is more than you can say about The English Patient. Speaking of which, former Guy Ritchie mainstay and sometime Transporter Statham is one sick Cockney reject in this cheerily lunatic slice of B-movie heaven. As L.A. contract killer Chev Chelios, he awakes one day to discover he's been injected with a slow-acting poison ("that Chinese shit," as it's referred to in the film) and has one hour to live. The only way to counteract the poison long enough to exact revenge? Excitement, baby, nonstop, over-the-top, sex and guns and lotsa cops. And at a trim 83 minutes, Crank – despite the fact that its ever-revving mayhem is ultraviolent, sexist, and frequently offensive enough to warrant a look-see by both the ACLU and the DOJ – is pure action-film bliss. It's so stupid, often intentionally so, that it's downright brilliant, as when the stricken Chev barrels across a bridge atop a stolen LAPD motorcycle wearing nothing but some hospital johnnies and a smile while Nilsson's Midnight Cowboy theme, "Everybody's Talkin'," counterpoints the whole absurd (and absurdly entertaining) affair. In his desperate quest for greater and greater shocks to his failing system, Chelios works his way up from cocaine to waffle iron (don't ask) to mighty doses of the EMT's best friend, epinephrine. Epinephrine! It's a sympathomimetic monoamine that stimulates the central nervous system! Hooray epinephrine! And that's all I'm going to say about Crank.