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Popcorn & Prejudice: A Movie Blog

Seattle Times writer Moira Macdonald muses on moviegoing. Email Moira: mmacdonald@seattletimes.com.

April 14, 2009 at 4:02 PM

The great unwatched: The lost heart of “Crank: High Voltage”

Most movies screen in advance, for preview audiences and press, to create word of mouth and to generate opening-day reviews, for good or ill. Even an indifferent or negative review can draw audiences who, say, want to see a particular star, or who are seeking a particular kind of movie experience (i.e. “Fast & Furious” = car chases). And then, there are the movies that don’t screen at all — for which the distributor, for whatever reason, doesn’t want any reviews out. Sometimes this is disguised as a print-availability issue , as in “Oh, we’d love to show you the film, but there’ s a print problem.” (This is never true. If a movie is good, there is never a print problem.) Sometimes we’re told that the “press screening” will be late on Thursday night — for a movie that’s opening Friday. The reviews eventually come out — wire-service ones are usually available by Friday afternoon — but they’re late, missing a bit of momentum.
Among the movies this year that didn’t screen in advance for press: “The Unborn,” “My Bloody Valentine 3-D,” “Underworld: Rise of the Lycans,” “Madea Goes to Jail,” “Dragonball Evolution.” The Beyonce-starring thriller “Obsessed,” opening next week, isn’t screening. And this week, a movie called “Crank: High Voltage,” starring Jason Statham as a hit man who in the 2006 original “Crank” was inconveniently dead at the end, won’t screen. I’m kind of disappointed about this, because “Crank: High Voltage” would at least get high marks for originality: Statham’s character, you see, has survived a supposedly fatal fall only to be kidnapped by a mobster who steals his heart. I don’t mean that he charms him and they fall in love, which could be kind of cute (now there’s an idea for a fresh rom-com), but that he literally steals it, and replaces it with some inefficient battery-powered substitute. So the hit man has to “get his real heart back and wreak vengeance on whoever stole it” — I’m quoting directly from the film’s press materials here — and frankly, I think this could be pretty entertaining, in a heartfelt way. Sorry. Maybe it’s just as well.

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