We gave it a B-
With his balding buzz cut, his smear of stubble, and his Oi! Stick ’em up, mate! Guy Ritchie-land accent, Jason Statham is a testosteronic manly man made for doing bad things in metallic movies like The Transporter, The Italian Job, and Revolver. Crank — as showily amped up and amiably amoral an extreme action pic as the exhaust-end of summer deserves — has him doing a heap of hurting with a sneer: Statham plays the ethno-mysteriously named Chev Chelios, a badass hitman in L.A. who’s been seriously messed up by poison injected in his body by worseasses. Something about the deadly ”Beijing Cocktail” (as diagnosed by his doctor, played with a loony Quaalude mellow by Dwight Yoakum) will shut down Chev’s heart — if he doesn’t keep the adrenaline pumping. ”You stop, you die,” says the doc, his dialogue distinguishable from that of Dennis Hopper in Speed by the absence of the catchphrase ”pop quiz.”
On doctor’s orders, Chev doesn’t stop, and neither do writer-directors Mark Neveldine (a former stuntman) and Brian Taylor (a former visual effects guy), who treat chopped-off hands, blown-out brains, outdoor-in-a-crowd sex (it’s a buzz replenisher), and Chev’s joyride on a cop’s stolen motorcycle (in a hospital gown, bare butt on cheeky display) with equal dumbass weightlessness. The movie is cranked up somewhere between stylish and proudly stupid, dusted with sunniness from Amy Smart (as Chev’s sleepy girlfriend) — and guaranteed to be out of your system by the time the lights come up.