|Produced by||Tom Rosenberg
Richard S. Wright
Jose Pablo Cantillo
|Music by||Paul Haslinger|
|Edited by||Brian Berdan|
Crank is a 2006 American black comedy/action film written and directed by Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor and starring Jason Statham, Amy Smart, Jose Pablo Cantillo, Carlos Sanz, Efren Ramirez, Dwight Yoakam, Jay Xcala and Keone Young.
The plot centers on a British hitman in Los Angeles named Chev Chelios who is poisoned and must keep his adrenaline flowing constantly in order to keep himself alive, and in so doing causes mayhem, gets into fights with other gangsters, has altercations with the police, and takes numerous drugs. The title of the film comes from the slang word for methamphetamine.
||This article's plot summary may be too long or excessively detailed. (May 2014)|
Chev Chelios (Jason Statham) is a Los Angeles-based English hitman and prolific criminal. He primarily works for the Mexican-American West Coast Crime Syndicate headed by powerful crime lord Carlito (Carlos Sanz). Chelios plans to quit working for the syndicate so that he could retire and spend more time with his girlfriend, Eve Lydon (Amy Smart), who doesn't know his true profession, and instead thinks he is a video game developer. Before he can quit, Chelios is contracted by Carlito to kill mafia boss Don Kim (Keone Young) as members of the Triads have been encroaching on Carlito and his businesses. Chelios carries out the hit.
However, unbeknownst to Chelios, the hit proves to be "ill-advised," as the heat from the Triads has become bigger than even Carlito expected. To ease the pressure, Carlito lies to the Triads that he himself was unaware of the hit and that somebody from his organization was working on, and puts all the blame on Chelios to clear his name. Upon hearing about the situation, Ricky Verona (Jose Pablo Cantillo), an ambitious small-time criminal and long-time rival of Chelios, uses the opportunity to conspire with Carlito against Chelios; Verona will kill Chelios so that the Chinese don't retaliate, and then he can take Chelios's place as Carlito's new hired gun as a step up the criminal ladder.
On November 7, 2005, while Chelios sleeps in his apartment, Verona, his brother Alex (Jay Xcala), and several henchmen break in and inject Chelios with a Chinese synthetic drug (referred to once as "The Beijing Cocktail" and every other time as "The Chinese Shit"), which inhibits the flow of adrenaline, slows the heart and eventually kills the victim. Chelios wakes to find a disc left by Verona containing a video showing Verona injecting Chelios with the poison, telling him that he should have thought twice before killing Don Kim and that he should have about an hour left before the poison stops his heart. Chelios goes into a rage, smashes the TV, leaves the apartment and drives away in his car.
Out of options, Chelios phones Doc Miles (Dwight Yoakam), a personal physician to the Mafia, who informs Chelios that in order to survive he must keep his adrenaline pumping through constant excitement and danger, or get some synthetic epinephrine. With his own adrenaline keeping the poison at bay at first, Chelios breaks into a hospital and steals more drugs than Doc Miles advises him to take. He also gets "juiced" by a hit from a defibrillator, speeding his heart rate to the extreme and sending him into an adrenaline daredevil frenzy. He also keeps his adrenaline up through reckless and dangerous acts like picking fights with other gangsters, committing robberies with brazen shoplifting, fighting with police, stealing a police officer's motorcycle then riding it in order to crash it, having sex with his girlfriend in public, and driving his car through a shopping mall.
Thinking that Carlito is on his side and could help him, Chelios visits Carlito at his penthouse and begs him to help find an antidote to the poison, as well as to find and kill Verona and his crew. However, Carlito simply says there is no antidote and only confirms Verona's words from an earlier cellphone conversation that Carlito and Verona are working together. Carlito also tells Chelios how he will use his death as a scapegoat against the Chinese. An angered Chelios leaves Carlito's penthouse to find Verona. Through Chelios' street contact, a gay transvestite and a gang member Kaylo (Efren Ramirez), he finds Alex at a restaurant and unsuccessfully interrogates him about his brother's whereabouts.
During the interrogation, Chelios takes advantage of the situation, picks up Alex's gun and shoots him and also cuts his hand off, before killing him. Chelios phones Verona through Alex's phone and coldly tells him about of his brother's death, prompting Verona to send thugs after Eve as a revenge. Chelios rushes to pick up Eve before Verona's thugs get to her. Chelios reveals his true profession to her and reveals that he spared Don Kim's life and told him to leave Los Angeles, because he wanted to quit the syndicate and spend more time with her.
Chelios receives a call from Kaylo, who tells him that Verona is at a warehouse, owned by the Triads and after hanging up, a tied-up Kaylo is killed by henchmen, working for Carlito. Chelios goes there, meets with the henchmen and also finds Kaylo's corpse. They reveal that Carlito ordered them to find and kill Chelios, due to the fact that Chelios made unauthorized hits and destroyed properties, during his mayhem across Los Angeles, and as a result caused a great deal of embarrassment to the syndicate. Eve unexpectedly arrives and she and Chelios escape after a shootout with Carlito's henchmen. To keep his adrenaline pumping, Eve gives him fellatio while he drives and shoots the gangsters off the road.
They go to Doc Miles's place, where Miles explains to Chelios that he can't cure him from the poison, as he doesn't know about any possible cure for that specific type, but that he can keep Chelios alive for an unknown amount of time, but he will eventually fall into a coma and die. Knowing that he will die soon, Chelios decides to take his revenge on Verona and arranges a meeting with him at the downtown boutique hotel "Lint". Before leaving, Chelios promises to Eve that he will come back, and takes with him an insulin pump filled with ephedrine which will keep him alive for the final hour he has to kill Verona and Carlito.
Chelios goes to the rooftop of the hotel and meets with Verona, Carlito, and his henchmen. Carlito criticizes Chelios for being a real nightmare, but also praises him for being very resourceful after removing the insulin pump, while Chelios tells Verona that once he dies, Verona will be paid only half the money Carlito used to pay Chelios and also insults Verona several times. Verona quickly rises and he points his gun at Chelios and threatens him, until Carlito yells at him to sit down and laments the fact that the day was very long, but everything turned out okay, with Don Kim dead and the Triads from Hong Kong getting their scapegoat. Carlito then takes out a syringe, filled with the same Chinese poison used by Verona and as he is about to inject the poison into Chelios and kill him, Don Kim surprisingly arrives with his Triads to assist Chelios and a shootout follows.
During the battle, Chelios, Carlito and Verona take cover, while Don Kim's and Carlito's men wipe out each other. After all of his men get killed, Carlito tries to escape with his private helicopter, but Chelios manages to catch up to him and holds him at gunpoint. Before Chelios can kill Carlito, Verona sneaks behind and injects Chelios with the syringe, after which Chelios collapses. Carlito himself is betrayed by Verona, who shoots him to death and then tries to escape with his helicopter.
However, Chelios manages to stand up, boards the helicopter, and engages in a fight with Verona. After some struggle, Chelios manages to pull Verona out of the helicopter and while mid-air, Chelios proceeds to snap Verona's neck, killing him. While falling, Chelios calls Eve on his cell phone to apologize for not coming back. Chelios hits a car, bounces off it and lands right in front of the camera. In the last shot, it is implied that his adrenaline is indeed still flowing fast; his nostrils flare, he blinks, and two heartbeats are heard.
- Jason Statham as Chev Chelios
- Amy Smart as Eve Lydon
- Jose Pablo Cantillo as Ricky Verona
- Carlos Sanz as Carlito
- Dwight Yoakam as Doc Miles
- Efren Ramirez as Kaylo
- Keone Young as Don Kim
- Reno Wilson as Orlando
The film was shot on-location in Los Angeles. Co-directors Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor operated both "a" and "b" cameras, where one would get a wide shot and the other would get a close-up shot. Jason Statham did all of his own fight and car stunts, including the fight with Verona in a helicopter 3,000 feet above Los Angeles.
Crank has a number of notable references to video games, especially the early Grand Theft Auto series. In the opening credits there are flashes of arcade machine boot up sequences, and also the high score table of Robotron: 2084 (1982) is briefly displayed. Another example of this is Verona's sidekick is seen playing Berzerk (1980) in the car. The humanoid graphic of Berzerk is also displayed on the male toilet door Chev enters. At one point, Chev tells Eve that he is not actually a video game programmer. A short post credits sequence shows Chev running and shooting through a 16-bit style world drawn by pixel artist Miguel Sternberg and produced/directed by David Marks at Silverbirch Studios in Toronto. A J2ME "Crank" game was developed for Lions Gate, also produced and directed by David Marks at Silverbirch Studios. Many critics noted that Crank was more like a live-action video game than a film.
Directors Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor, along with actors Jason Statham and Efren Ramirez, appeared at the 2006 Comic-Con Convention in San Diego, California. The panel showed a short clip and promoted the film, mentioning that it was shot in HD and that no wires or CGI were used for the stunt scenes.
The filmmakers also made extensive use of web advertisement to promote the film. Lions Gate Films bought a featured spot on the home page of YouTube and paid several of its well-known members to advertise. Independently, Mark Neveldine, Brian Taylor and Efren Ramirez appear in a vlog by a user known as biostudentgirl on YouTube as well as her personal site.
Crank opened on September 1 2006 in North America in 2,515 theaters and grossed $10,457,367 with an average of $4,157 per theater and ranking #2 at the box office. The film ended up grossing $27,838,408 domestically and $15,092,633 internationally for a total of $42,931,041, above its $12 million production budget.
Crank received mixed to positive reviews from critics and has a rating of 61% on Rotten tomatoes based on 92 reviews with an average score of 6 out of 10. The consensus states "It's a film about a guy injected with Speed... wait, there's no bus. It's a film about a guy who has to kick a bunch of squirmy butt to stay alive... wait, no snakes or planes here. But it is a film about doing lots of drugs and pulling lots of punches, and it entertains accordingly." The film also has a score of 57 out of 100 on Metacritic based on 19 reviews indicating 'Mixed or average reviews'.
The Region 2 version of the DVD was released December 26, 2006, but initially had no special features. The Region 1 DVD was released by Lionsgate on January 9, 2007. This DVD is available in separate anamorphic widescreen and fullscreen editions, each with Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0 tracks. The bonus materials includes running cast and crew audio commentary, behind-the-scenes footage, gags, maps, making-of insights, and interviews with the cast. These features are all accessible via the "Crank'd Out Mode" - a pop-up window feature that allows access to the extras without ever leaving the film. The DVD also includes a "family friendly" audio replacement, in which the film is dubbed over as it would appear on a television broadcast. However, the violence, language subtitles, and nudity are still the same.
Crank: High Voltage is the 2009 sequel to Crank. It picks up seconds after the first film left off. It seems that the poison in Chelios' body has worn off, but retains the gimmick of the first installment; he now has an artificial heart which he must keep charged with electricity to stay alive.
- "Crank (2006) - Box Office Mojo". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 7 September 2009.
- "Crank (2006) - Filming locations". IMDB. Retrieved 7 September 2009.
- "Crank (2006) - Trivia". IMDB. Retrieved 7 September 2009.
- "Movieweb.com" (PDF). Lionsgate:Crank. Retrieved September 16, 2007.
- Miguel Sternberg at the Internet Movie Database
- "CON: Lionsgate panel". JoBlo. Retrieved 7 September 2009.
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- Official website
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- Crank at Metacritic
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- Crank at Box Office Mojo