Thursday, September 10, 2009

Crank = ICP

Sorry to interrupt Castellari month (I know all 3 of you readers will care), but I have been thinking about this one awhile...

So today I was reading through a list on Blender's website about the 50 Worst Bands In The History of Music. I know, it's from April, but I'm just coming across it now. Well, not to spoil the list or anything, but the #1 worst band as donned by Blender is The Insane Clown Posse.

Blender has this to say about this "musical" duo:

They sound even stupider than they look
Two trailer-trash types who wear face paint, pretend to be a street gang and drench cult devotees in cheap soda called Faygo, Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope are more notorious for their beef with Eminem (who pistol-whipped an ICP homey in 2001) than their ham-fisted rap-rock music. They claim that a “dark carnival” visited them one night, prophesied impending apocalypse and made them its messengers. Between this circus gospel, they find plenty of time to rap about 40-ouncers and venereal disease.

Well, it dawned on me after reading a little more about ICP that this band reminds me of why I hate the movie Crank.

Original Title: Crank
Year: 2006
Director: Mark Neveldine, Brian Taylor
Writer: Mark Neveldine, Brian Taylor
Genre: Action

Despite the admitedly sweet German poster above, and the idea for the film that really does seem good on paper, I felt that almost from the get-go this thing was a complete disaster.

Rarely does a film piss me off.
Here's my initial reaction on the Popsyndicate forums 10 minutes after finishing Crank

my review:
fuck this dumbass shit
most valuable thing:
the bird exploding. the only thing about this piece of shit that made me smile
make or break:
throwing a cab driver out into an outdoor restaurant area, yelling "al qaeda!", and ladies attack him. that about sums it up. It isn't funny. At all
Worst movie i have seen since Strike of the Tortured Angels. And i have seen some stinkers.
so bad it pissed me off

Well, seeing as everyone I know besides my wife inexplicably liked this film, and I didn't really give it any attention after that initial viewing, I thought I should at least explain my distaste a little better instead of just shitting on everyone else's positive reviews!

Sorry, Hans!

(check out his awesome and much better-written blog at!)

So back to the ICP comparison... I always viewed these guys as truly what was wrong with music in the late 1990s and early 2000s. They might have had an entertaining stage presence (or so I've read... is dousing your audience with 2-liters of cheap soda entertaining?), but ultimately underneath the paint were they anything more than a couple white rappers with terrible lyrics, no flow and an even worse fan base? They relied on profanity and a silly "theme" to be successful as opposed to just having good, solid music.

I really felt the same way about Crank. It is the white rapper of genre films. After years and years of action films that are enjoyed by checking your intellect at the door, we have gotten to this point. I know I am capable, there is no other explanation for my adoration of El Santo films! But for this, for whatever reason, take away the inital thrill of the action and what you have is a film I feel is way too self-aware for it's own good that sometimes borders on offensive. It just lacked a soul.

Crank is almost Scary Movie.

Minus the comedy.

I can also compare it to the style of professional wrestling that unfortunately got big in the 1990s and still carries over today. The spot-fests as they are called, where virtually no worthy story is told in a match and guys risk life and limb in a series of ridiculous stunts for the sake of the ooh's and ahh's of the audience.

Gone are the days of the heel wrestler using his chokes and illegal punches to get the audience to truly hate them. Gone are the days of working a limb and near pinfalls. They were replaced with one guy flying 30 feet through the air through a table, then the other guy returning the favor.

The NOWNOWNOW mentality of the entertainment goer has evolved so many forms of entertainment to be short bursts of thrills with little or no staying power.

Anyway, onto the feature!

Jason Statham is not so bad in the film, honestly. He doesn't go much beyond his standard fare, but some of his more comedic deliveries actually come of OK. Watching him chomp pills or chop of a hand was kind of entertaining, but not nearly enough to carry this.

Amy Smart was the complete opposite for me. I'm not sure I have liked ANYTHING I have ever seen her in, which granted isn't much, but for me she isn't much more than eye candy. She's very stiff throughout the entire film, and her character is pretty goddamn annoying, which isn't entirely her fault. We'll blame that (and most of the problems I have) on the writing and directing by two guys I have trouble believing were born before 1993.

HAHAHAHA SEE THAT?? Yeah, it wasn't funny.

The rest of the cast was forgettable or really too annoying to worry with. There was the douchebag supreme Ricky Verona who I hated simply because he sucked as opposed to him actually being a good villain. There is a weird appearance by Dwight Yokam (LOLz?) as a shady doctor who helps our hero Chev via phone then in his home. And let's not forget Chev's odd friend Kaylo who reminded me of Pedro from Napolean Dynamite (another movie I really don't like!)

Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor set out what I am told to make a video game movie. I've been reading comparisons between Crank and Grand Theft Auto. There's a big difference though. Grand Theft Auto games have well-written stories and have compelling characters to go along with the over-the-top violence and action. I've played more than my fair share.

I wished nothing but awful things on every character in Crank, and Neveldine and Taylor really gave me nothing to like or properly dislike about any of them. Chev has his moments (there are a couple fun scenes with him dealing with some "problems" while protecting the oblivious Eve at the same time), but more often than not what we get is base humor, racism (I'm sorry, but the Al Quaeda thing does not even approach humor), and dick jokes.

OF COURSE Eve likes to be humiliatingly fucked in public.

Oh, and OF COURSE Chev has a huge shlong that she has to be sure to scream out for everyone to hear.


It is hard for me to comment now on the way the film was shot, the lighting, etc. as it has been a few months since watching it, and I really do not want to sit through that hour and a half again. I do not recall anything terrible and there were some interesting angles used with closeups of Statham's sweaty face, some first person, etc. But I can comment on the green screen special effects. BOOOOOOO!

If you don't have the budget or the know-how to properly film (animate) some of these stunts that defy reality, then please leave them out. They were at times reminiscent of the special-effects-on-a-dime of Japanese sci fi television that can take you completely out of a scene.

I don't recall any spectacular stunts, but the motorcycle ride was pretty cool though.

I will be the first to admit that maybe I just don't get this film. But from the moment the story is set into motion I just had that feeling that the creators set out to make a cult-film instead of just letting it happen like the true classics. I don't know why, but I never got a sense of love of the characters. I only got a sense of two drunk douchebags loading scene after scene to titilate hoards of other drunk douchebags.

If you are somehow a mix of these guys,

this guy,

and this guy,

then this turd may be right up your alley!

Sorry, I couldn't resist.

I love you all

But I hate this movie


Hans A. said...

No apologies necessary, bro! We can't all like the same films and we're a more diverse community for our tastes. Thnx for the shout out and kind words!

Matt said...

You know if I search Amazon for "high crime", Crank comes up? WTF.

pickleloaf said...