Crank appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this 4K UHD Disc. Given the nature of the production, this became a 4K that didn’t really show off the format’s capabilities.
Shot at 1080p on relatively primitive digital cameras, sharpness seemed mediocre. At times, the image showed fairly good clarity, but other shots seemed tentative and a little mushy.
Of course, the movie’s variety of cinematic techniques presented some intentionally soft elements, but too many scenes came across as less than stellar in terms of definition.
Jagged edges and moiré effects failed to mar the presentation. Print flaws also never became an issue.
Colors tended toward orange and teal. These could be a bit heavy but they seemed acceptable most of the time within design parameters. The 4K’s HDR added extra range to the tones.
Blacks were usually solid, and low-light shots delivered reasonable clarity, though a few appeared slightly muddy. Overall, this became an inconsistent presentation due to the problematic nature of the source.
Better results came from the movie’s Dolby Atmos soundtrack, as it used the spectrum in a largely involving manner. Downconverted to Dolby TrueHD 7.1, a hyperactive film got a hyperactive mix, music blasted from all the speakers in a bold manner, and effects often followed suit.
As expected, the flick’s action scenes used the soundscape best. These provided good involvement to the various violent set pieces and driving scenes, all of which bolstered the movie’s impact.
Audio quality worked fine, with speech that came across as concise and distinctive. Music showed nice range and impact, as the various songs and score packed a good sense of dynamics.
Effects followed suit, so those components came across as brash and powerful, with solid low-end as necessary. This turned into a satisfying soundtrack.
How did the 4K UHD compare to the original Blu-ray from 2007? The Atmos soundtrack offered more range and impact than the Blu-ray’s PCM 6.1 mix, and visuals showed improvements in colors, blacks and definition.
To a degree, at least. As noted, the equipment used to shoot Crank didn’t allow it to offer anything more than 2K, and the styles involved added to its iffy nature. If just due to deeper blacks, more vivid colors and superior authoring techniques, I’d pick the 4K as the superior version but I wouldn’t push fans to repurchase it, as the improvements just don’t seem significant.
We find a decent mix of extras on the included Blu-ray copy, and we start with Crank’d Out Movie Mode. This includes picture-in-picture comments from writers/directors Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor, producer Richard Wright, executive producer Peter Block, director of photography Adam Biddle, SPFX foreman Lee McConnel, stunt coordinator Darrin Prescott, and actors Jason Statham, Efren Ramirez, Jose Pablo Cantillo, Amy Smart, and Dwight Yoakam.
They discuss the Neveldine/Taylor partnership, the film’s path to the screen, photography and visual styles, cast and performances, stunts, violence and action, music, sets and locations, effects, and related domains.
In addition, “Crank’d Out” occasionally plays the sound of a ringing phone. Hit “Enter” and you get access to behind the scenes video clips like auditions and footage from the set.
The interview remarks fare best, as they add up to an entertaining look at the production. The other video clips are good, too, though I’m not wild about the format, as it’s a nuisance to have to trigger the snippets. They should just play automatically.
From start to finish, this becomes a fun exploration of the film, largely because the participants let loose. They don’t make this the safe, perky collection of happy talk notes.
Not that you’ll get complaints and dirt, but you will find honest, lively discussions of various aspects of the production. It’s a terrific little addition to the set.
Some featurettes follow, and The Stunts of Crank runs 17 minutes, 25 seconds. It offers notes from Prescott, Biddle, Neveldine, Taylor, Statham, Block, Cantillo, and Wright.
Unsurprisingly, this show looks at the movie’s action and stunts. It becomes a satisfying view of the subject matter.
With Shooting Crank, we get a seven-minute, 10-second reel that features Biddle, Wright, Block, Stathamand digital imaging engineer Nick Theodorakis. The program discusses aspects of the film’s photography. It’s another informative piece.
Next comes Crank @ Comic-Con, an 11-minute, 20-second clip that offers a panel with Neveldine, Taylor, Ramirez, and Statham. They cover a mix of movie-related topics in this promotional but decent chat.
More Stories from Crank brings a mix of interview segments that fill a total of 25 minutes, 18 seconds. We hear from Neveldine/Taylor (8:17), Statham (6:13), Ramirez (4:10), Biddle (4:27), and Cantillo (2:09).
These segments come from the same sessions that comprise the other extras on the disc, and they tend toward general thoughts about different filmmaking domains. They’re less “essential” than the notes found elsewhere, but they add some useful insights anyway.
Pushing Crank spans six minutes, 18 seconds and features Neveldine, Taylor, Block, Ramirez, Statham, and Lakeshore Head of Internet Brendan Kane. “Pushing” discusses various efforts to market the movie, and it does so well.
An alternate soundtrack arrives via the Family Friendly Version. This simply replaces profanity and other “naughty” dialogue with safer material. It’s a cute concept but nothing more than that – and it makes little sense since the “Family Friendly” Crank still includes all the same violence and nudity as the “R”-rated film.
Note that many of these extras also appear on the 4K UHD itself. However, it lacks the “Movie Mode” as well as the “Family Friendly” dub.
As much as I understand the hyperactive manner in which Crank tells its literally adrenaline-soaked adventure, the end result becomes so over the top that it doesn’t work. The viewer seems likely to feel exhausted by the end but not satisfied. The 4K UHD brings mediocre visuals along with very good audio and a nice set of supplements. Crank comes with a clever concept but it can’t develop the tale well, and this 4K UHD fails to offer a notable upgrade over the Blu-ray.
To rate this film, visit the original review of CRANK