The Devil Says

See It

(With a few male friends and some beer)

What a wonderfully amoral story. There isn't even the slightest attempt to create a "good guy." Or to create a plot for that matter. There's a situation, and a lot of shooting, punching, crashing, and generally glorious mayhem. Is that enough for a movie? It sure as Hell is.

Jason Statham (who recently pummeled folks in The Transporter 1 & 2) apparently can't pass up any film that involves beating up people. Here he stars as Chev Chelios, a dim assassin who is poisoned due to a hit that's gone wrong. The "Chinese cocktail" kills in an hour, but can be held at bay by huge doses of adrenaline. So, to stay alive long enough to avenge himself on his killer and maybe find a cure, he needs to keep himself in a constant state of arousal, of one kind or another. That means snorting some coke and then picking a fight with a small army of local gang members, driving through a mall, killing the occasional mob thug, and finding Eve, his even dimmer girlfriend (Amy Smart).

Since Chev can't slow down, the movie doesn't either. It's insane violence, just the way I like it. It's loud, it's ludicrous, and it's a great deal of fun. Reviewing Crank is an exercise in using a thesaurus to find synonyms for bombastic. Grab a copy of Roget's and fill in the next paragraph yourself.

Right when it looks like the onslaught could begin to get tedious, Crank pulls a switch. No it doesn't slow down. Eve joins the chase. Chev has been going solo, and his nonstop insanity is milked for all it's worth. With the very hot, and extraordinarily blond girl along, there's more humor and sex, and I can never get enough of either. The film peeks with public fucking in Chinatown, and a demonstration that uniformed Asian schoolgirls will get any man off, but there's still plenty to enjoy up to the bang-scream-thud climax.

If you care to notice, and there's no reason why you should, Crank has more innovative camera work and visual effects tricks than you'll find in any ten films, including action blockbusters. OK, not all of them work, and anyone susceptible to motion sickness should stay home, but enough of them do to make it a cutting edge popcorn experience.

Chev is a bastard with few redeeming qualities, but that doesn't make him any less of a kick to watch.  Since just about everyone else is as bad (Eve has many, many redeeming qualities... yup), there's no need to worry about cheering for the bad guys.  This is the ultimate guy picture (well, it's a few tits and a bit of pink short, but close).  When you're in a testosterone-fueled mood, Crank will make you happy.

Sins (What does this mean?)

Pride Nothing.
Sloth Anything but.
Avarice Nada.
Gluttony Nada.
Aesthetics This is fun, but it ain't art. 
Surrogate Cruelty So much lovely violence, without a pause for morality.  Fist fights, gun fights, and hatchet fights are the norm.  Gore is abundant, but nothing to take seriously. If you get your hand cut off, why not punch someone with the stump?
Thought Best to watch with your brain cells dimmed.
Humor Jokes and a light feeling throughout.
Lust A few brief nipple shots, Statham's bare ass, and some unfinished sex that plays more for humor than excitement, depending on your feeling about exhibitionism.  For a "guys" flick, it could use more flesh, but it does have the minimum requirement.

Buy It


Film Info

Writers/Directors: Mark Neveldine, Brian Taylor

Cast: Jason Statham, Amy Smart, Jose Pablo Cantillo, Efren Ramirez, Dwight Yoakam, Carlos Sanz

Runtime: 87 min