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Laramie Movie Scope: Crank

Like Run Lola Run, but without the meaning

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by Robert Roten, Film Critic
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September 3, 2006 -- “Crank” is a somewhat entertaining movie of the politically-incorrect, testosterone-laden brainless pure action variety. If you take this movie seriously, and some people have, it could be offensive, but then again, if you go around looking for offenses, you will always find what you are looking for. I don't think this movie takes itself seriously. It is almost cartoonish in its action sequences and it has its share of humorous moments. The only problem is, the main character is such a despicable, evil person, it is hard to work up much interest in the question of whether he will live or die in the end.

The plot is similar to the 50-year-old movie “D.O.A.,” which has been remade a few times. A man wakes up to find that he has been injected with a slow-acting poison and has only a short time to live. What to do? Well, if you are a hitman, as this man is, you start killing people and just keep on killing people. The doomed man, Chev Chelios (Jason Statham of “The Transporter”) starts looking for the man who injected him. The man who injected him, thoughtfully, left a video explaining why he did it. As the movie goes on, Chelios finds reasons to kill more and more people and destroy lots of property too. Eventually, the point of all this killing becomes lost.

Chelios is tired of being a hitman. He wants out of the business and wants to settle down with his ditsy girlfriend, Eve (Amy Smart of “Starsky and Hutch”). However, when Chelios finally does catch up with Eve (there is a running gag in the movie about how she never answers her phone) he chooses not to stay with her. Instead, he just keeps on killing. Ostensibly, this killing is done to protect Eve, who is also a target, but it also appears that Chelios really enjoys killing people and is quite good at it. This makes him tough to like, even as an anti-hero. Statham does a good job with the role, however and is particularly good in the scenes with Smart. He is also very good in the action scenes, where he did a lot of his own stunt work.

The movie has a very strong visual style, which is used to reflect what Chelios is seeing and feeling as he self-medicates himself against the effects of an unnamed Chinese drug, which acts like the opposite of adrenaline. A lot of photographic tricks are used to create distorted images and sounds reflecting his distressed mental state. The movie, written and directed by Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor and photographed by Adam Biddle, is visually compelling with rapid camera movements, staccato editing, slick special effects shots and impressive stunts. This is a good-looking, well-acted movie, but that isn't enough to make it compelling. For that, you need someone to root for. I couldn't find anyone filling that role in this movie. This film rates a C+.

Click here for links to places to buy or rent this movie in video and/or DVD format, or to buy the soundtrack, posters, books, even used videos, games, electronics and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

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Copyright © 2006 Robert Roten. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
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Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at my last name at lariat dot org. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]

(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)