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There are a thousand ways to raise your adrenaline, and today hit man Chev Chelios (Jason Statham) will need every one! He has one hour to settle the score and say good-bye to his girl and go out with a little style! The only question is, will he stay alive long enough to see it happen?
For more about Crank and the Crank Blu-ray release, see Crank Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on November 12, 2007 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.
Directors: Mark Neveldine, Brian Taylor
Writers: Mark Neveldine, Brian Taylor
Starring: Jason Statham, Amy Smart, Jose Pablo Cantillo, Efren Ramirez, Dwight Yoakam, Reno Wilson
» See full cast & crew
Crank Blu-ray Review
A kinetic, over-the-top action romp is a gem on Blu-ray
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, November 12, 2007
Today is the day that I die.
Take your favorite action movie, inject it with the latest steroid cocktail from BALCO, have it pump some iron, drink a protein shake, eat a few raw eggs and some red meat, and it might be getting close to what you're about to experience in Crank. This is a fast paced, nonstop 90 minute action movie that never, ever slows down until the credits roll. All character introductions, dialogue, exposition, and turning points in the movie are done on the fly, all seamlessly integrated into this gigantic action sequence. The goal of the film is to keep the audience's heart pumping at the same level our hero must keep his pumping, and it works in that regard. Still, this isn't what I would term a "good movie." It's a fun ride, but not one worth taking more than once.
Chev Chelios (Jason Staham) wakes up feeling miserable. He finds a DVD in his living room, pops it in his player, and finds out that he has been poisoned in his sleep by Ricky Verona (Josť Cantillo). He is told via the video that he has about an hour to live. He goes on a rampage against his apartment, destroying a perfectly good plasma television in the process. For the next hour or so, the action is non stop as Chelios hunts down Verona. On the way he is seen busting up clubs, hospitals, and shopping malls. He discovers via his doctor (Dwight Yoakam) that he needs a constant rush of adrenaline to live, and tries everything he can to keep moving including driving out of control, fighting anyone in his path, robbing convenience stores, stealing police vehicles, sticking his hand in a hot waffle iron, drinking Red Bull, and snorting hard narcotics and nasal spray. And all of this is only the first third of the film.
While I can appreciate what Crank is trying to deliver, I found it to be just too over the top. Normally I like movies that take chances and try to be different, but, for me anyway, this one just didn't work. I've never been a big fan of neither Statham nor his critically acclaimed films such as Snatch and Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels. His performance in this film is good, but there isn't one semblance of realism here. I know most action movies are based on fantasy or the extraordinary, but the better ones are usually based around a concept where the "everyman" is thrust into a crisis situation and must save the day from evil in a way he or she didn't think possible. These films allow the audience to see themselves as the hero, performing not as a superhuman but as someone on a mission to resolve whatever crisis may be afoot, perhaps with an extra spring in their step and muscle in their back, not to mention a little luck. The first Die Hard film comes to mind as an example. While certainly not a bad film, Crank will likely find itself in one of two places in cinema lure: as a film that redefined a genre, or as one that tried but failed to do so. I don't see much of a middle ground, and only time will tell how this movie will be seen down the road.
Crank Blu-ray, Video Quality
Crank is nothing short of spectacular, visually. This 1080p, 1.85:1 presentation is outstanding. Like The Condemned, Crank was filmed with high definition cameras. Blacks seemed a little bright at times and flesh tones looked red in places, but these blemishes are intentional; this film has been tweaked and tweaked some more in post production to give it a frenetic look that is never very consistent, but matches the pace and tone of the film nicely. We have the typical polished, high clarity HD picture we have come to expect from the best of Blu-ray one moment, and then it looks like someone just got done messing with the settings on our display devices the next. It's all over the place, just like the movie, but it's a feast for the eyes.
Crank Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Lionsgate has included both a Dolby Digital 5.1 EX track in addition to the lossless PCM 7.1 track. This soundtrack is LOUD! It features nonstop music including heavy, pulsating songs that sound like a mix between techno and hard rock. There is also a touch of grunge, some mellow soft rock, and even some country. The music rarely stops. Bass thumps throughout and LFE effects are loud and powerful but also bright and natural. This is one you will feel reverberating in your chest and it will rumble your seat. However, I didn't notice much, if any, distortion. The soundtrack, especially the dialogue, is remarkably clear for a film this loud. Surrounds are not only active but they are used relentlessly. This is one of the best tracks out there, and is certainly something you can use to show off your system, and everyone but your neighbors will be impressed.
Crank Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
There are quite a few good supplements on this disc, but there is surprisingly no commentary track. All of the extra are in high definition, a very nice added bonus.
There are two alternate ways to watch Crank other than the standard cut of the film. First is Crank: The Family-Friendly Version. This is the version of the film you will see if Crank is ever broadcast on public television or on airplanes. It replaces the abundant foul language with more "acceptable" terms. It's more funny than anything else. Crank'd Out Movie Mode features a picture-in-picture (though not true, profile 1.1 PiP) that overlays the image with interviews with cast and crew and behind-the-scenes anecdotes. If you "answer the phone" by hitting enter on your remote, you will be taken to some additional behind-the-scenes footage. It's a pretty cool way to watch the movie and get the supplements at the same time.
Other features on the disc are as follows: Pushing Crank (1080i, 6:21) focuses on advertising the film, especially on the internet. The Stunts of Crank (1080i, 17:25) is a look at the making of the various stunts from the film. Shooting Crank (1080i, 7:10) is about shooting the film in digital high definition rather than on film or video. This featurette discusses advantages, disadvantages and limitations of the new HD medium. The main advantage is having your laboratory on set where the film can be tweaked on demand. This was the best of the documentaries to be found on the disc. Crank @ Comic-Con (1080i, 11:20) is is a peek inside a Q&A session at Comic-Con where the directors and cast talk about the film in front of an audience. More Stories From Crank (1080i, 25:18) is a series of five separate featurettes (with the ability to watch them all at once) showing cast and crew talking about various aspects of the film. It features directors Mark Neveldine and Brian Tailor and actors Jason Statham, Eferen Ramirez, Adam Biddle, and Josť Cantillo. Finally, a 1080p montage of now-available Blu-ray discs from Lionsgate wraps up the special features.
Crank Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
I'll give credit to the makers of Crank for being bold enough to step outside the box and try something new. The film didn't strike the right chord with me, but audiences found it more agreeable. Crank has raked in over twice its budget and a sequel is due sometime in 2009. Lionsgate's Crank is an unbelievable feast for the senses. The stunning picture quality is surpassed only by the remarkable audio tracks. Extras are decent, but a feature commentary would have been a great addition. This is a film worth watching once, but I cannot recommend a purchase based solely on the strength of the audio and visual quality. For fans only.
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