Crank (film)

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Crank
Crank final.jpg
Directed by Neveldine/Taylor
Produced by Tom Rosenberg
Skip Williamson
Michael Davis
Gary Lucchesi
Richard S. Wright
Written by Neveldine/Taylor
Starring Jason Statham
Amy Smart
Jose Pablo Cantillo
Dwight Yoakam
Carlos Sanz
Efren Ramirez
Keone Young
Music by Paul Haslinger
Cinematography Adam Biddle
Edited by Brian Berdan
Production
company
Distributed by Lionsgate
Lakeshore Entertainment
Release dates
  • September 1, 2006 (2006-09-01)
Running time 93 minutes
Language English
Budget $12 million
Box office $42,931,041[1]

Crank is a 2006 American 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.

Produced and distributed by Lakeshore Entertainment and Lions Gate Films, it was released in the United States on September 1, 2006 in 2,515 theaters. The film was generally well received.

Plot[edit]

Chev Chelios (Jason Statham) is a Los Angeles-based English hitman and prolific criminal. He mainly works for the Mexican-American West Coast Crime Syndicate, which is headed by powerful crime lord Carlito (Carlos Sanz). Chelios has a girlfriend named Eve Lydon (Amy Smart), who doesn't know his true profession and he plans to quit working for the syndicate so that he could spend more time with Eve. Before he could 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 for the last months. Chelios apparently carries out the hit.

However, unbeknownst to Chelios, the hit proved to be "ill-advised", as the heat from the Triads had become bigger than even Carlito expected and to ease the pressure, Carlito offers the Chinese an explanation and a solution: Carlito had nothing to do with the hit, certain elements from his organization acted on their own and that he will have them removed. 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 would kill Chelios so that the Chinese don't retaliate and then Verona can take Chelios's place as Carlito's new hired gun.

On November 7, 2005, while Chelios sleeps in his apartment, Verona, his brother Alex (Jay Xcala) and several henchmen break in, with Verona injecting 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, which was left by Verona and contains a recorded video, during which Verona is shown injecting Chelios with the poison, taunts him, tells him how he should have thought twice before killing Don Kim and tells him he should have about an hour left before the poison stops his heart. Chelios goes into a rage and smashes the TV to pieces before storming out from the apartment and drives away in his 1971 Buick Gran Riviera.

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 artificial adrenaline, epinephrine. With his own adrenaline keeping the poison at bay at first, Chelios breaks into a hospital and steals numerous drugs, much more than Doc Miles advises him to take and 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 Buick through a shopping mall.

Thinking that Carlito is on his side and could help him, Chelios visits Carlito, who is at his penthouse and begs Carlito 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 between Chelios and Verona 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 Kaylo (Efren Ramirez), he finds Alex at a restaurant and unsuccessfully interrogates him about his brother's whereabouts.

During the interrogation, Alex manages to wrestle Chelios to the ground and the two fight until Kaylo intervenes and Alex moves on to beat him. Chelios takes advantage of the situation, picks up Alex's gun and shoots Alex in the back of his head, killing him, also cutting his hand in the process. 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 to her his true profession and that he spared Don Kim's life and told him to leave LA, because Chelios wanted to quit the syndicate and spend more time with Eve.

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.

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 the poison, but that he can keep Chelios alive for some time, but sooner or later he will eventually fall into coma and die. Rather than choosing to be kept alive and eventually die, 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 also 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. During a conversation between Carlito and Chelios, 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 has him at gunpoint. Before Chelios can kill Carlito for betraying him to Verona and for ordering the hit on him, which resulted in the death of Kaylo, Verona sneaks behind and injects Chelios with the syringe, after which Chelios collapses. Carlito himself is betrayed by a treacherous Verona, who shoots Carlito to death and then tries to escape with Carlito's helicopter, now intending to take over Carlito's power for himself.

However, Chelios manages to stand up, thanks to the large noise coming from the helicopter, boards it 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 still 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.

Cast[edit]

  • Jason Statham as Chev Chelios - English hitman
  • Amy Smart as Eve Lydon - Chelios' American girlfriend
  • Jose Pablo Cantillo as Ricky Verona - small-time criminal, rival of Chelios
  • Carlos Sanz as Carlito - powerful crime lord, boss of West Coast Crime Syndicate, Chelios' former employer
  • Dwight Yoakam as Doc Miles - Chelios' physician
  • Efren Ramirez as Kaylo - Chelios' street contact
  • Keone Young as Don Kim - high-ranking member of the Chinese mafia, targeted for assassination by Carlito
  • Reno Wilson as Orlando - African-American drug dealer and supporting character
  • Jay Xcala as Alex Verona - brother of Ricky Verona
  • Edi Gathegi as Haitian cab driver
  • Chester Bennington as Pharmacy customer/Adrenaline junkie
  • Valarie Rae Miller as Chocolate - Doc Miles' secretary
  • Glenn Howerton as Male nurse
  • Noel Gugliemi as Warehouse Rooftop Hood - henchman, working for Carlito
  • Francis Capra as Warehouse Hood Leader - henchman, working for Carlito
  • Frank Blake as Warehouse Henchman 1 - henchman, working for Carlito
  • Candice A. Buenrostro as Bikini Girl
  • Samuel Witwer as Shootout Henchmen

Production[edit]

The film was shot on-location in Los Angeles.[2] 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.[3][4]

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.[3] 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.[5] Many critics noted that Crank was more like a live-action video game than a film.

Marketing[edit]

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.[6]

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.

Reception[edit]

On its first day of release, 1 September 2006, Crank earned $3.3 million, the day's highest earnings. In the film's first weekend, it earned $13 million, putting it at second place behind Invincible which earned $15.2 million. Crank grossed $27,838,408 at the domestic American box office, with another $15,092,633 in foreign box offices. In total Crank had worldwide receipts of $42,931,041,[1] a financial success on the budget of $12,000,000.

Reviews for Crank were mixed to positive, currently holding a 61% "fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Soundtrack[edit]

Main article: Crank (soundtrack)

The soundtrack for the film was released on August 22, 2006 by Sony Music.

DVD releases[edit]

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.

Sequel[edit]

Main article: Crank: High Voltage

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.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Crank (2006) - Box Office Mojo". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 7 September 2009. 
  2. ^ "Crank (2006) - Filming locations". IMDB. Retrieved 7 September 2009. 
  3. ^ a b "Crank (2006) - Trivia". IMDB. Retrieved 7 September 2009. 
  4. ^ "Movieweb.com" (PDF). Lionsgate:Crank. Retrieved September 16, 2007. 
  5. ^ Miguel Sternberg at the Internet Movie Database
  6. ^ "CON: Lionsgate panel". JoBlo. Retrieved 7 September 2009. 

External links[edit]