Imagine Speed with a man playing the role of the bus. That's the high concept behind Crank, a wild action thriller from Hollywood's most unpredictable studio, Lionsgate.
What sounds ludicrous on paper doesn't look that much smarter on screen, but the movie's campy tone helps to disguise its lack of brainssort of.
Chev Chelios (Transporter badass Jason Statham) stars as a freelance hit man who wakes up one morning to discover he's been injected with an exotic drug that will kill him within an hour. The only way for Chev to live long enough to take revenge on the lowlife thug (Jose Pablo Cantillo) who poisoned him is to keep his adrenaline pumping by any means available. Sex, drugs, rock 'n' roll? The possibilities are endless and are all covered here.
First-time filmmakers Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor co-direct from their own script, and their background as commercial directors and cinematographers is amply evident in the finished productfor good and bad. The handheld camerawork is creative, especially on such a low budget (the directors did most of the camera operating themselves), and the commercial-friendly ADD sensibility helps ensure that when one sequence isn't workingand many in Crank really don'tmore action lies just around the corner.
Although the movie never rises to the creative level of the similarly themed and paced German cult favorite Run Lola Run, its gonzo sequencesincluding an eye-opening detour to Chinatown for Chev and airheaded girlfriend Eve (Amy Smart) and a gory fight set to Loverboy's "Turn Me Loose"keep you wondering what's coming next.
Ultimately, Chev's stayin'-alive hijinks sufficiently qualify Crank as a modest, if entirely disposable, surprise.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times