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STUDIO:
Lionsgate

MSRP:
$28.98 RATED: R

RUNNING
TIME:
87 minutes

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Crank’d Out Mode” – a simultaneous presentation of behind the scenes
footage, interviews, and commentary via heads-up/pop-up display.

Family-Friendly Audio. (Ahem…)

The Pitch

It’s
D.O.A. meets G.T.A. as directed by a cocainum-addled Tony Scott (or…Tony
Scott
).

The Humans

Jason
(Ghosts of Mars) Statham, Amy (Jason Pines For You) Smart, Dwight (Slingblade)
Yoakam, Jose Pablo Castillo, Efren (Napoleon Dynamite) Ramirez


Uwe Boll’s new film has been called his most honest work to date.

The Nutshell

Chev
Chelios is a brute-force professional assassin who pisses off most of Los
Angeles’ criminal underworld when he kills the head of a powerful Triad (Keone
Young – Deadwood‘s Incredible Mr. Wu).
As retribution for this action – or maybe just because he’s a dick –
Chevy’s longtime rival Verona (Jose Pablo Castillo) slips our hero (?) “The
Beijing Cocktail” – a slow-acting designer drug death sentence. Chelios should be dead in about an hour – but
he discovers (with the help of Yoakam’s dodgy mob doctor) that keeping his adrenaline
up will grant him a temporary stay of execution – and maybe just enough time to
rip Verona – and Los Angeles – apart with his bare hands.

Now…Chev
Chelios is out for revenge…and…Red Bull.


Jose Pablo Castillo
IS Humberto Oeste in “H.P. Lovecraft’s Re-Animacion”.

The Lowdown

In
a single word – audacious. I’m trying to
think of a debut feature – or just about any feature – that rips filmmaking
convention apart like Crank does.
I know I mentioned Tony Scott above – but Crank also feels a lot
like Jerry Bruckheimer hired Lars von Trier to remake John Boorman’s Point
Blank
(and since I know Michael Bay reads CHUD, please
let your wallet know that I’d like a producer’s credit when he gives Captain
Dogme the greenlight).

This
movie punches everything you know about movies in the groin. The characters are almost universally
unlikable, the scenario is B-Movie threadbare, the camerawork feels like the
Normandy invasion opening of Saving Private Ryan stretched to 80-some
minutes, the soundtrack features Loverboy and Quiet Riot, and a sequence that
essentially begins as a rape scene gets played for laughs. Crank is crass, vulgar, and thoroughly
grotesque.


Police Sketch by Mrs. Gardner’s 1st Grade Class.

I
loved every frame.

There
is a malevolent force at work here, and that force is first-time filmmaking
team Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor.
These guys are nutjobs, plain and simple. They excuse themselves as absolute dimwits
(on their commentary, they claim a combined I.Q. of 43), but their approach to
filmmaking makes them instant movie-fan heroes.
When you grab a camera, put on a set of inline skates, and strap
yourself to the back of a motorcycle to get a shot – you are a nutjob. And a fucking champ.

Crank
is insanity and ingenuity and technology fused (or maybe congealed) into a
twisted, sinister ride – one that manages a “Gangland Epic” feel because of
Taylor and Neveldine’s desire to make every moment comically, impossibly huge.


She’s not Jodie Foster…and that’s not a pinball machine – but…it’ll
do.

The
performances are pretty much spot-on.
Jason Statham is a magnet. I
can’t think of anyone else in Hollywood who could have made this thing work
(and you know someone somewhere was pulling for Vin Diesel). Chev Chelios isn’t a Hollywood
anti-hero. The character is an absolute villain. To be as completely deviant as this character
is – yet manage to infuse him with some nebulous “something” to make an
audience invest? It’s highwire work, and
Statham pulls it off without a wink.

Amy
Smart is fantastic. Not since Jodie
Foster in Nell has an actress so brilliantly portrayed a mentally
challenged person. Her character – and
her performance – is a triumph of the human spirit.

Efren
Ramirez could have a fantastic character career ahead of him. I didn’t realize that this was Napoleon Dynamite‘s “Pedro” until he was standing outside the taco stand.
He magically disappeared into his “K-Lo” character, offering awesome comic relief –
and providing one of the film’s more disturbing moments.

Dwight
Yoakam…good to see you, man. I love this
guy as an actor in just about anything.
He brings a sort-of laid back charm to a role that could have been an
expository suppository.


“Shock the monkey to-night!”

The
real stand out, though – for me, anyway – is Jose Castillo. He’s so over-the-top asswipe that
he could spend the rest of his career saving children trapped in wells or
ending poverty in Third World nations, and I’d still want to spit in his
mouth. At which point he’d wipe my ass
with my face, but…

Castillo
gives you everything you need to know about this Verona character in his first
five seconds of screen time – which segues into my next point…

The
film has absolutely no fat. Not a single
wasted moment. And unlike so many of the
empty, attention deficit disorder afflicted, flash-filled flicks hitting
screens today – Crank‘s stylistic dementia is integral to its plotting
and pace. Neveldine and Taylor convey
emotion with motion, and present exposition with action. The cardinal rule of filmmaking is “Show,
don’t tell.” Crank is a stunning
example of that rule taken to its very end.


“I went on The View this morning, and Rosie O’Donnell tried to lick my
forehead. I have no idea why.”

The Package

It
seems sparse until you watch it. Crank’d
Out Mode suffers from a lame title, but there’s a wealth of info here, with
behind-the-scenes stuff woven into anecdotes and info from the principles and
producers…running alongside a comical video commentary from these two cinematic
rakehells. There’s good stuff all over
this, and the presentation (the imagery throbs with the 8-Bit beating heart
from the film’s opening, and darts around the screen as the movie unfolds) fits
the film’s kinetic style.

Family-Friendly
Audio is…horrifying. It’s replacement looping for potential network broadcast.
Remember RoboCop on ABC?

Why
Me
?! Why Me?!”


“$600.00 for this? I shoulda’ hocked the thing on e-Bay when I
had the chance…”

This
is worse. This is the
kind of thing people end up contractually obligated to do – but I can’t imagine
that anyone involved in the production actually believed that all it would take
to remove this film’s venomous taint was replacing “fuck” with “frick”. It’s pretty pointless, but hey – they made
it…and you bought the disc…so you get to have it.

Despite
the all-encompassing video commentary mode, and the audio track oddity, the
disc is by no means complete. We’re missing trailers (though I must thank
Lionsgate for leaving that waste of time Hostel II trailer off of this
disc – though one assumes the omission was accidental, since they’ve managed to put it on everything else) and other features
common to DVD releases (I’d have liked to see a gallery of poster concepts, as
this film had a couple of incredible ones – ever see the key art from
Germany?), so I’d imagine that a “TWO-DISC ADRENALINE EDITION” or something
with a similarly wince-inducing title is on the way in about six months.

And
yet, were it a completely vanilla platter with no chance for a double dip, I’d
still recommend picking it up. Crank
will end up one of the most influential homegrown action films since Lethal
Weapon
, and like that film – it’s a “Guy Movie” classic.

9 out of 10