A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this movie is absolutely not for kids. It's designed to convey hectic, bloody, and relentless action. Violence includes shooting, needle jabbing, punching, kicking, stabbing, and falling. A couple has sex in public, upsetting and titillating a crowd on the street and in vehicles (skin not explicit, but act is rendered with heavy breathing and clothes-tearing). Scenes include bikinied and topless women, pole-dancers in thongs, and naked women encased in glass balls, apparently as decorations). A doctor's advice seems shady (he suggests smoking marijuana to calm down). Hero uses the n-word and other disparaging language to incite aggression and display his tough-guyness. Lots of profanity and drug use.
What's the story?
Borrowing its slim storyline from the 1950 film noir D.O.A. (starring Edmond O'Brien), CRANK follows the life-and-death situation of hitman Chev ( Jason Statham), who is poisoned and has a limited time to find his killer and exact revenge. Chev swears he wants to go straight in order to please his mightily naïve girlfriend Eve (Amy Smart). Chev's pursuit of his killer, the utterly arrogant Ricky Verona (Jose Pablo Contillo), leads to run-ins with any number of brutish and shady sorts, including drug dealers, assassins, gang members, and thugs. Chev appears to be a softie at heart--he saves Eve from villains, impresses her with his devotion, but can't overcome the effects of the deadly toxin. In order that the movie can race along for its 87 minutes, Chev is able to slow the poison by keeping his adrenaline geared up -- this according to an absurd diagnosis rendered by his doctor (Dwight Yoakam).
Is it any good?
Elaborately aggressive and provocative, Crank is just what its title suggests: fast, ornery, and exhausting. Logic is not this movie's strong suit; it's like a ride, one crazy bit of business after another. Chev spends his last minutes on earth trying to jar himself into excitement, taunting various enemies into fights, having sex with his girlfriend in the street, chasing and shooting goons point blank, stealing epinephrine from the hospital, driving very fast and jumping from an airplane -- without a parachute.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the effects of adrenaline: How does it distort judgment and behavior? How does the movie exaggerate action movie conventions, with regard to speed, style, and content? How does this exaggeration make fun of these conventions, or how does it reinforce the "video-gamey" effect of such films? How would you describe Chev's relationship with his girlfriend? Does he respect her? How well does she know him?
- In theaters: September 1, 2006
- On DVD or streaming: January 9, 2007
- Cast: Amy Smart, Dwight Yoakam, Jason Statham
- Directors: Brian Taylor, Mark Neveldine
- Studio: Lionsgate
- Genre: Thriller
- Run time: 87 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: strong violence, pervasive language, sexuality, nudity and drug use
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