• Crank (Lionsgate) 4K UHD/Blu-ray Review

    Released by: Lionsgate
    Released on: May 21st, 2019.
    Director: Mark Nevelidine, Brian Taylor
    Cast: Jason Statham, Amy Smart, Carlos Sanz, Jose Pablo Cantillo, Efren Ramirez, Dwight Yoakam
    Year: 2006
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    Crank – Movie Review:

    Written and directed by Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor and released to theaters in 2006, Crank tells the rather sordid story of a Los Angeles based hitman named Chav Chelios (Jason Statham) who, early on in the film, is poisoned by Verona (Jose Pablo Cantillo), a rival who would like to see him taken out of the picture. There’s a catch though – according to his friend and doctor, Miles (Dwight Yoakam), he can keep the poison from killing him so long as he keeps his heart rate up. As such, in order to not die he’s got to indulge in all manner of drug use, sex, and adrenaline pumping physical activity (brawling).

    And so he does all of this and more all while, with some help from his girlfriend Eve (Amy Smart), trying to track down the man who poisoned him and get this all sorted out, hopefully without dying.

    Crank is pretty insane. In the span of only eighty-eight-minutes the movie takes us on an absolute rollercoaster ride, one over the top set piece after the next. Plenty of clichés have been used to describe the film in the past – an adrenaline-fueled rocket ride – things like that, and surprisingly enough they are all pretty accurate. This is one ridiculously fast paced movie and while it is definitely light on plot, there’s enough here to the story to keep us engaged even if, ultimately, it’s more style than substance. Don’t let that dissuade you though, if you’re in the right mood for it there’s a lot of fun to be had.

    A big part of the movie’s success comes from the fact that it knows not to take itself too seriously. Nevledine and Taylor have clearly got a twisted sense of humor as they come up with all manner of ways to keep Chav’s heart pumping. They get pretty creative here, often times with decidedly comedic results. This, mixed with the film’s admittedly impressive action set pieces, helps to keep us entertained throughout. Yeah, it’s crass, frequently obscene and more than a little dirty in spots – not one for the kids – but it finds the right mix of humor, action and straight up exploitation style thrills to work. It’s like an old school side scroller style video game come to life in more ways than one.

    As to the cast? Amy Smart is good here. She fits the part well, she looks great, she’s got the right balance of goofy screen presence and sex appeal and its hard to imagine anyone else doing as good a job as she does with the role. Dwight Yoakam, a fairly underrated actor whose film career is understandably overshadowed by his more successful music career, is great as Chav’s friend while Cantillo makes for a pretty fun villain in the picture. Statham, however, is the real star of the show. This role is perfect for him, allowing him to show off not only his action and fighting skills but also his penchant for sarcastic dialogue, his ability to deliver genuinely effective humor and more. No one could have pulled this character off the way that Statham does, and the film remains a high point in his filmography.

    Oh, if you haven’t seen the movie before, make sure you watch this one all the way through the end credits.

    Crank – 4k UHD/Blu-ray Review:

    Lionsgate brings Crank to UHD in an HEVC / H.265 encoded 2160p transfer framed in its original 1.78.1 widescreen aspect ratio. Given that Crank was shot using different cameras, some high definition and other standard definition, it stands to reason that this might not exactly shape up to be demo material – and it doesn’t. We do get a bit more detail here, mostly noticeable in close up shots, when compared to the Blu-ray but it isn’t a massive upgrade. What some will likely take issue with here is the way that color reproduction is handled. On the Blu-ray, everything really pops, the movie’s highly saturated and ultra-stylized look shines through quite nicely. On this UHD release, things seem a bit dialed down – more realistic, probably, but it changes the look and the feel of the movie from what we’ve seen before. Skin tones look fine and black levels are good, but those expecting a massive upgrade over the Blu-ray release will be left wanting.

    The English language Dolby Atmos track on this disc, however, is impressive. It’s a very dynamic mix that spreads out the score, dialogue and sound effects very, very effectively. The action scenes in particular are really strong, with plenty of directional effects used to really pull you into the film. Bass response is strong and powerful without ever burying anything in the mix. Optional subtitles are provided in English and Spanish.

    There are no new extras here but pretty much everything that was included on the Blu-ray release is carried over, starting with the seven-minute Shooting Crank featurette that takes a look at the ways that digital video and photography technology was used to give the movie its unique look. From there, jump into the seventeen-minute The Stunts Of Crank piece that, as the title so subtly alludes to, explores the stunt work required to bring the story to live. There are some interesting interviews in this piece as well as some neat behind the scenes footage. Pushing Crank spends six-minutes exploring the marketing and advertising campaign that was launched to make the film a hit in its original theatrical run, while Crank @ Comic Con is an eleven-minute talk with Statham where he explains what appealed to him about the project and his thoughts on making the film. The disc also includes a twenty-five-minute piece called More Stories From Crank where a bunch of the cast and crew members involved in the production tell some amusing stories and anecdotes from their time spent on the shoot. It’s all reasonably interesting stuff and worth digging into if you haven’t seen it before.

    As this is a combo pack release, the UHD disc comes bundled with a regular Blu-ray version of the film as well as an insert card containing a code redeemable for a digital HD download version of the movie. Lionsgate packages both discs in a black keepcase and with a slipcover.

    Crank – The Final Word:

    Crank is a blast from start to finish, an insanely fast paced slice of action movie nirvana that features Statham at his best. Some impressive set pieces and a twisted sense of humor help to make this one memorable and it’s all just a crazy amount of fun. As to the quality of the UHD release? Honestly, the minor improvements in detail are offset by the color issues, which, combined with the fact that there are not new extras, doesn’t really give those who own the original Blu-ray release much reason to upgrade.

    Click on the images below for full sized Crank Blu-ray screen caps!

    Comments 3 Comments
    1. Mark Tolch's Avatar
      Mark Tolch -
      I like this movie. A whole lot. I've recommended it to people who have told me I have shitty taste in movies. But it's super-fun.
    1. Ian Jane's Avatar
      Ian Jane -
      Those people need to lighten up, this movie is a blast.
    1. Darcy Parker's Avatar
      Darcy Parker -
      Crank is an all-time classic of silly action film cheesefests!