Tuesday 18th January 2022

Crank (18)
Directed by: Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor
Reviewed by: Dave Witt

There's a big gap in film world at the moment, and it's the same shape as the governor of California. Since Arnie rode off into his own particular sunset, there haven't been any serious action heroes of note – and no, the Rock does not count. His real name is Dwayne for goodness' sake. Enter our fair isle's own Jason Statham to redress the balance – former FCUK model, market trader and faux-cockney-gangster, he's managed to carve himself out a niche as the modern head-kicking protagonist of choice. And in Crank, he's probably back-flipped his most impressive work yet.

The new nitro-glycerine nasal spray did wonders for Derek's sinuses
The new nitro-glycerine nasal spray did wonders for Derek's sinuses

Crank is best summarised as Speed with an internal organ instead of a bus. Our Jase awakes to find he's been poisoned with a nasty squirt of something that'll stop his heart unless he can keep it pumping by whatever means possible. And that means adrenaline, chemical stimulation and good old fashioned "other", all in the interests of self-perpetuation and prehumous revenge. It's an absolutely shameless device, and for the most part it works spectacularly.

If you're a fan of modern video games, this film will seem as comfortingly familiar as an hour and a half of mayhem can. Crank is relentlessly modern, both in style and content: it's written and directed by Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor, music video and advert veterans who aren't afraid to exhibit their heritage to the world in extravagant fashion. The directing is cut and shut, chop and change, split-screen, quad-screen and more, just for the sheer hell of it; frames bounce all over the place and cheeky subtitles flash and vanish into nothingness. The scenes are interspersed with Google Earth transitions, seemingly inexplicable old-fashioned arcade game stylings bookend the film, and the cast of characters ticks off just about every fashionable minority going.

In between the visceral action set-pieces on show, alternately hilarious and striking moments pepper the film. Playing out in the manner and style of Grand Theft Auto: the Movie in tone as well as substance, Crank will have you looking back and sniggering to yourself for some time afterwards – assuming you find things like hurling an Arabian taxi driver out of his cab and shouting "Al Qaeda!" to ensure a savage beating by passers-by to be funny. Apparently I do.

Sadly, Crank can't keep up the brutal pace forever; the film stumbles a bit on the introduction of Amy Smart as the oblivious girlfriend, and never really recovers its initial giddy momentum. Despite a creditable attempt at an explosive finale, and a truly memorable final sequence, the film never recaptures the mental rush of the first half. Despite the drop-off, there's more than enough squeezed in to guarantee full on satisfaction for any action film junkie. And there's the rub; if this isn't your sort of thing, you're really, really not going to like it. Take two off the final score if you'd rather be watching Pride & Prejudice; for everyone else, enjoy this vicious, thumping, bonkers punch of popcorn entertainment.

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Length: 87 minutes
Certificate: 18
Official Site:
IMDB Link:
Release Date: 1st September 2006

Top Five Rating: 70.0%70.0%70.0%70.0%70.0%70.0%70.0%70.0%70.0%70.0% (70.0%)
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