Crank (2 stars)

(18) 87min


In Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor’s flashy actioner, Chev Chelios (Jason Statham) finds himself injected with a deadly serum that spells certain death if his heartbeat drops below a certain level. Emboldened by this high-concept motivation, Chelios embarks on a pro-active rampage through LA’s criminal underworld, driven onwards by sex, drugs and some decent car and helicopter action that doesn’t really benefit from the anything-goes visual style of the writers and directors, and steals as much from the Grand Theft Auto video games as from MTV.

As usual, Stratham brings a surprising amount of dignity to what is essentially B movie hokum, but despite having gravitas in spades, he can’t do enough to engage the viewer with his predicament, working fruitlessly against the sheer unbelievability of the filmmaker’s careless melding of Speed and Rudolph Maté’s superb 1950 film noir classic DOA. More of a mild twist than a crank really.

Out now on general release.