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Neveldine & Taylor
Jason Statham, Amy Smart, Jose Pablo Cantillo
Writing Credits:
Neveldine & Taylor

Professional assassin Chev Chelios learns his rival has injected him with a poison that will kill him if his heart rate drops.

Box Office:
$12 million.
Opening Weekend
$10,457,367 on 2515 screens.
Domestic Gross

Rated R.

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
English PCM 6.1
English Dolby 5.1 EX
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 88 min.
Price: $9.99
Release Date: 1/9/2007

• “Crank’d Out Movie Mode”
• “Family Friendly” Version
• “Pushing Crank” Featurette
• “The Stunts of Crank” Featurette
• “Shooting Crank” Featurette
• “Crank @ Comic-Con” Featurette
• “More Stories from Crank” Featurette
• Previews


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Crank [Blu-Ray] (2006)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (May 1, 2019)

In the annals of cinema, I suspect you’ll not find many prematurely bald, British action heroes. In fact, that list might consist of one name: Jason Statham.

Though Statham burst onto the scene with 1998’s Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, I don’t think the Statham we now view as “typical” appeared until 2002’s The Transporter. That’s the kind of anti-hero role Statham would milk all the way through – and presumably beyond – the Fast and the Furious flicks.

In that vein comes 2006’s Crank. Chev Chelios (Statham) works as a professional assassin, and as one might expect, this gig earns him more than a few enemies.

When Chev murders the wrong person, rival Ricky Verona (Jose Pablo Cantillo) poisons Chev as retribution. Rather than kill off Chev in a conventional way, Verona injects the hit man with a concoction that will cause Chev’s death if his heart rate drops below a certain level.

This creates a frantic situation for Chev. He struggles to find answers and solve his circumstance, all while he remains in a constant state of agitation.

On one hand, Statham’s success seems somewhat remarkable given the “balding Brit” factor I mentioned – and his relatively average size. He’s a strangely “normal” guy for an action hero, not one with the usual attributes we’d expect.

On the other hand, Statham’s career feels like something of a missed opportunity to me. Sure, he’s done fairly well, but he’s never been able to turn himself into a true “A-list” actor.

While Statham appears in massive blockbusters like the Fast and Furious flicks, he’s not the lead, so he can’t be called the star of those. Even when he does play the main actor in a movie, it tends to be fare like 2018’s The Meg, films that earned their money due to factors largely unrelated to the cast. People saw Meg for the shark, not Statham.

None of this means I find Statham to be a bad actor, as he offers his own form of charm. He manages to mix working class tough guy with light comedy in an engaging manner.

Unfortunately, Statham finds himself behind the 8-ball here, as the intentionally manic nature of Crank doesn’t allow him much room to navigate. Though he remains onscreen nearly the whole film, Statham finds himself swallowed up by the over the top presentation.

Granted, if any movie suits a wild, frantic cinematic style, Crank would be the one. A story about a character who needs to keep ultra-alert to survive seems tailor-made for hyperactive filmmaking.

While I understand the style, that doesn’t mean I need to like it. As much as I can intellectually agree with the approach, the end result becomes a chore to watch.

With the aggressive visuals and music, Crank simply exhausts the viewer, and not in a good way. The cinematic choices become so urgent that the whole thing wears out the audience well before the tale comes to a close.

It doesn’t help that Crank never gives us much reason to care what happens to Chev. We don’t get a real sense of the character beyond Statham’s glib performance, so it doesn’t matter if he lives or dies.

Given that the movie revolves around Chev’s attempts to survive, that seems like a major flaw.

The main issue stems from the ultra-hyper style, though. While the choices make sense intellectually, they ensure that a fun concept becomes a tiresome product. This is less a film than it is an attempt to beat the viewer into submission.

Footnote: a cute tag scene appears after the end credits.

The Disc Grades: Picture C+/ Audio B+/ Bonus B

Crank appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. While not a bad presentation, this early 2007 release showed its age.

Some of the issues stemmed from the light edge haloes that cropped up through much of the movie. Those impacted definition, so sharpness varied.

At times, the image showed fairly good clarity, but other shots seemed tentative and a little mushy. Of course, the movie’s variety of cinematic techniques presented some intentionally soft elements, but too many scenes came across as less than stellar in terms of definition.

Jagged edges and moiré effects failed to mar the presentation. Print flaws also never became an issue.

Colors tended toward orange and teal. These could be a bit heavy but they seemed acceptable most of the time within design parameters.

Crank went with a high contrast look that could crush some of the blacks. Still, they were usually reasonably solid, and low-light shots delivered reasonable clarity, though a few appeared slightly muddy. Overall, this became an inconsistent presentation.

Better results came from the movie’s PCM 6.1 soundtrack, as it used the spectrum in a largely involving manner. A hyperactive film got a hyperactive mix, music blasted from all the speakers in a bold manner, and effects often followed suit.

As expected, the flick’s action scenes used the soundscape best. These provided good involvement to the various violent set pieces and driving scenes, all of which bolstered the movie’s impact.

Audio quality worked fine, with speech that came across as concise and distinctive. Music showed nice range and impact, as the various songs and score packed a good sense of dynamics.

Effects followed suit, so those components came across as brash and powerful, with solid low-end as necessary. This turned into a satisfying soundtrack.

We find a decent mix of extras here, and we start with Crank’d Out Movie Mode. This includes picture-in-picture comments from writers/directors Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor, producer Richard Wright, executive producer Peter Block, director of photography Adam Biddle, SPFX foreman Lee McConnel, stunt coordinator Darrin Prescott, and actors Jason Statham, Efren Ramirez, Jose Pablo Cantillo, Amy Smart, and Dwight Yoakam.

They discuss the Neveldine/Taylor partnership, the film’s path to the screen, photography and visual styles, cast and performances, stunts, violence and action, music, sets and locations, effects, and related domains.

In addition, “Crank’d Out” occasionally plays the sound of a ringing phone. Hit “Enter” and you get access to behind the scenes video clips like auditions and footage from the set.

The interview remarks fare best, as they add up to an entertaining look at the production. The other video clips are good, too, though I’m not wild about the format, as it’s a nuisance to have to trigger the snippets. They should just play automatically.

From start to finish, this becomes a fun exploration of the film, largely because the participants let loose. They don’t make this the safe, perky collection of happy talk notes.

Not that you’ll get complaints and dirt, but you will find honest, lively discussions of various aspects of the production. It’s a terrific little addition to the set.

Some featurettes follow, and The Stunts of Crank runs 17 minutes, 25 seconds. It offers notes from Prescott, Biddle, Neveldine, Taylor, Statham, Block, Cantillo, and Wright.

Unsurprisingly, this show looks at the movie’s action and stunts. It becomes a satisfying view of the subject matter.

With Shooting Crank, we get a seven-minute, 10-second reel that features Biddle, Wright, Block, Stathamand digital imaging engineer Nick Theodorakis. The program discusses aspects of the film’s photography. It’s another informative piece.

Next comes Crank @ Comic-Con, an 11-minute, 20-second clip that offers a panel with Neveldine, Taylor, Ramirez, and Statham. They cover a mix of movie-related topics in this promotional but decent chat.

More Stories from Crank brings a mix of interview segments that fill a total of 25 minutes, 18 seconds. We hear from Neveldine/Taylor (8:17), Statham (6:13), Ramirez (4:10), Biddle (4:27), and Cantillo (2:09).

These segments come from the same sessions that comprise the other extras on the disc, and they tend toward general thoughts about different filmmaking domains. They’re less “essential” than the notes found elsewhere, but they add some useful insights anyway.

Pushing Crank spans six minutes, 18 seconds and features Neveldine, Taylor, Block, Ramirez, Statham, and Lakeshore Head of Internet Brendan Kane. “Pushing” discusses various efforts to market the movie, and it does so well.

An alternate soundtrack arrives via the Family Friendly Version. This simply replaces profanity and other “naughty” dialogue with safer material. It’s a cute concept but nothing more than that – and it makes little sense since the “Family Friendly” Crank still includes all the same violence and nudity as the “R”-rated film.

As much as I understand the hyperactive manner in which Crank tells its literally adrenaline-soaked adventure, the end result becomes so over the top that it doesn’t work. The viewer seems likely to feel exhausted by the end but not satisfied. The Blu-ray brings mediocre visuals along with very good audio and a nice set of supplements. Crank comes with a clever concept but it can’t develop the tale well.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3.5 Stars Number of Votes: 4
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