Digital Breakdown: ‘Crank’ kills; Brits fight terrorism 

A nonstop, absurd action flick, an awesome British television import and a movie where Robin Williams puts on the serious beard again highlight the upcoming week in DVD releases.


Ridiculous, ludicrous and fast-paced, "Crank" is the tale of a professional hitman (Jason Statham) who is poisoned with an unknown Chinese toxin. The only way to stave it off is to keep his heart pounding at an elevated rate, which leads our hero to drive the wrong way in traffic, start bar fights, engage in public sex and pull off outrageous, unbelievable stunts in order not to die.

Despite the extreme suspension of disbelief involved, "Crank" is good fun with tons of action; it keeps your attention, and sometimes that’s half a movie viewer’s battle. Statham, who excels in films where he plays someone lacking a moral compass, works well here. He also shows off his comedic talents, a nice change of pace.

Unfortunately, there isn’t much on the DVD besides an audio commentary and behind-the-scenes footage of how some of the crazy stunts were performed. Price: $28.98. Rent or buy: Rent.

"MI-5 — VOLUME 4"

The British really beat Americans when it comes to good television. Sure, we have "24" and a handful of other good programs, but the BBC consistently blows us away with inventive and creative programming. Take "MI-5: Volume 4," the story of the British intelligence unit that survived much in its first three years — everything from conspiracies, to political backstabbing, to terrorist strikes.

The DVD set includes 10 episodes of the series.Topics include torture, imprisonment and other nasty subjects involved with keeping the peace. Special features include a two- part documentary, interviews with the crew and audio commentaries. Price: $79.98. Rent or buy: Buy.


Robin Williams turns his thriller-drama side on (and grows his beard out) for "The Night Listener." He plays a radio talk show host who gets into a platonic relationship with a teenage boy who has written a book on his terrible life. Turns out, things aren’t necessarily as they appear. After 90 minutes of questions, you get the payoff you guessed about 15 minutes into the film. There’s nothing extra on the DVD worth mentioning. Price: $29.99 Rent or buy: Rent — if that.


"Extras" is a funny HBO series about a guy who is an extra in movies and on TV. What’s particularly great is how the real-life celebrities it features are depicted. The DVD has the shows as well as some 20 minutes of additional scenes with stars including Kate Winslet, Sam Jackson and Patrick Stewart (who is hilarious as a perverted celebrity with an eye for the ladies). The show follows Andy Millman ("The Office’s" Ricky Gervais), a professional "background artist" in film and television. He wants more of the spotlight, but needs to get one lucky break. His work always seems to end up on the cutting room floor. Price: $29.99. Rent or buy: Buy.

Other DVDs out this week include: "The Illusionist," "Broken Bridges," "Idiocracy," "Van Gogh," "Bandidas," "I Trust You to Kill Me" and "Color of the Cross."

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Staff Report

Staff Report

A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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