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In going through my review of Crank 2, I noted that I had a copy of the first film and enjoyed it, and for the life of me I forget having it in my library. I mean, I did write about the sequel almost a decade ago and quite a bit has gone on since then, the least of which being that I apparently was swimming in DVDs enough that I forgot about ever owning the first Crank film. Go figure.
Written and directed by Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor and for those unfamiliar with the film, it follows Chev Chelios (Jason Statham, Mechanic: Resurrection), a British assassin whose heart has been poisoned. The only way to counteract the poison is adrenaline, whether it's fights, or energy drinks, IVs from a chemist (Dwight Yoakam, Sling Blade) or sex from his girlfriend (Amy Smart, Road Trip). So he seeks out adrenaline in the hopes of staying alive long enough who did this and who Chev can seek revenge at.
Crank sets the premise up so simply that the rest of it, the quest to get to the resolution, proves to be just as sensationalist and compelling. Punching, kicking…loving all gets done enthusiastically, sometimes comedically, sometimes not, but the cast throw themselves into whatever scene it is and it works well. There is a melancholy side of Chev that Statham communicates effectively that explains a little more in depth why he wants to get this poison out of his body, why he wants to be happy.
To reiterate, that the cast immerse themselves into their positions so deeply is what makes this works. At times you forget the antagonist in Crank (though it's Jose Pablo Cantillo), but the supporting cast works well in their moments (Efren Ramirez, Dennis Howerton and Reno Wilson provide good contributions), and their belief in the material even if it's silly is palpable. You go along for the ride and it's fun.
Within the context of the film it's fine, though it's been (guh!) almost 15 years since it was released and it has not aged all that well at times. Some moments (like the street outside the Chinese restaurant) make you cringe, while others don't hold up as humorously as they did at the time. Not timeless by any means but if you haven't seen either Crank film before, getting into the limits of the premise and seeing how they elevate everything from it is fascinating to watch.The Ultra HD Disc:
The Ultra 4K version of Crank by Lionsgate looks OK I guess? I'm not sure what I expected exactly, the image is sharp but given the various different looks a scene had at the time, this doesn't really look like something you'd want to demo on your set. Colors look good and detail at times is sharp, but save for a moment when Chev decides NOT to do a job, I couldn't really point to a moment and have my jaw drop. Does the film look OK in 4K? Sure, but it could use some work.The Sound:
Yowsers, the Dolby Atmos track throws your ears into the deep end of the pool early and doesn't let up. You get heart beats, the pulse of club music and people dancing, you get songs that sound clear, you get dialogue that's as consistent as can be. I can't immediately remember a soundtrack that was so involved and immersive so early and and often as this, and is definite showcase material for 4K.Extras:
"Stunts of Crank" (17:25) is just that as the approach to and challenges of the stunts in the feature are recounted, along with some shot breakdowns to boot. "Shooting Crank" (7:10) examines the film's unique look and the "newness" of high-definition (guH!) , and the ensemble's thoughts on same, "Crank at Comic Con" (11:20) is a recapping of the film by the cast in what looks like a non Hall H production. "Pushing Crank" (6:21) takes a peek at the marketing push for the film online, while "More Stories from Crank" are a series of junket interviews with the directors and cast (5, 25:18). There is a family-friendly version of the film minus swearing and other naughty bits, and a picture-in-picture examination of the uncensored one. A Blu-ray copy of the feature and a digital code (that works with iTunes!) are also available.Final Thoughts:
Crank is a fun romp in the life of Chev Chelios that is nice to watch in 4K. Is it a mind blowing experience? Not entirely, but the sound is fantastic and extras are OK.