Less a movie than a blunt instrument, Crank is an explosion of sex and violence, set to a deafening soundtrack and cobbled together by a crazed editor. From the look of it, first-time directors Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor wanted to make a compact film -- it's only 83 minutes (they're long, long minutes) -- but refused to leave out a single one of the insane images and visual flourishes they'd been collecting in their heads in preparation for their cinematic debut (both men come from an advertising background). As a result, the film has a terrible case of ADD: Scenes are chock-full of unnecessary visual touches that, while striking and interesting if used judiciously, quickly lose their power when they show up in every scene -- several times.
Jason Statham plays Chev Chelios, a hitman with possibly the most absurd name in the history of cinema. He awakens one morning with blurred vision -- the handheld camera shows us his point-of-view -- and in extreme physical pain, but with no idea what happened to him. Careening around his huge, warehouse-style apartment, he comes upon a DVD resting on his (of course) giant flat-screen television. And from the obscenity scrawled on its face, we can assume the disc wasn't there when Chelios went to bed. The star of the DVD is Verona (Jose Pablo Cantillo), a cringingly stereotypical Latino Villain who chews through the limited scenery as he gleefully tells Chelios he's been poisoned with "some Chinese sh*t", and has just an hour or so to live. So the movie opens with its central character already dead (much like D.O.A. did way back in 1950 -- and then again in 1988), and the bad guy's confession already out of the way: Forget solving a crime (already done) or avoiding danger (no point): Chelios gets to spend the whole movie trying to track down and kill Verona before his time runs out. Needless to say, blood will be spilled, limbs severed and cars crashed in the process.