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Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Mystery: The Crank Incident


I like movies. I like movies a lot. Just ask my friends who never comment on this blog (c’mon guys, at least leave a comment saying “good job, Vert!”) about how much I love them. If there’s one thing I’m silent about, it’s how much I love to read about movies, the troubled production of some movies, and generally about what the latest movie gossip is. It’s fun to talk about them to say the least and as such, today’s story caught my attention. It’s known as the Crank Incident and rather than write a proper introduction, I want to dive right into it. You’ll see why if you click the jump button. Or you can scroll down and read about Five Nights At Freddy’s. That’s cool too.



The Story

The earliest reference to this story I can find—at least on 4chan—is from January 26, 2018. A user requested information on the supposed incident, but received no responses related to it. The next mentioning of the supposed Crank Incident took place over two years later on May 20, 2020 that another user requested information on the incident, but yet again no information was given. It wouldn’t be until June 28, 2020 that some sort of description about what the theory is about would be given. Supposedly, the Crank Incident centers around the Crank film franchise.

If you’ve never seen Crank, I would recommend it. It’s a crazy movie starring Jason Statham—or as an acquaintance of mine once said to me: “that bald British guy I always see in movies”. If you still don’t know who he is: Statham was in the original Transporter trilogy and plays Deckard Shaw in the Fast & Furious films. He’s also been in a great deal of action films and is known for his remarkably good comedic timing and rugged look. He’s also British, so everything he says makes him sound like he’s a mix of dead inside and pissed that his wife didn’t kiss him before he went to work.

Now as for the Crank films: I’ve only seen the first one. It came out back in 2006 and centers on a guy named Chev who’s poisoned. If he stops moving, he’ll die. Therefore, the film never slows down and is more or less one giant action scene. The film’s directed by two men named Mark Neveldine and Brian Tyalor—better known as Neveldine & Taylor. Their directing style is very kinetic, frantic, and would make Paul Greengrass’ direction of the Bourne trilogy blush. It’s shaky, unstable, and makes the film seem like an adrenaline rush if you were suffering from an epileptic seizure. It fits the film quite well, though it may be way too much for some if you’re prone to motion sickness. Therefore, if your significant other pissed you off and suffers from that, I would highly recommend you watch Crank together. Just make sure you have a bucket nearby so they can vomit into it.

Anyways, moving on, Crank’s a very fun movie and is certainly one of the more underrated movies of the 2000s. Critics were decently kind towards it; the first film has a 61% on Rotten Tomatoes, while the sequel has a 64%. One critic was a bit peeved about the second film allegedly being misogynistic and racist, though given how the Fast & Furious ogle women like a child ogles lollipops when they see one, I cannot fathom how the former of those two grievances is any worse. Though hey, I haven’t seen the movie, so I won’t even attempt to defend it. So instead, let’s play the numbers game and look at the two films box office returns.

The first film had a budget of 12 million dollars; it grossed 42.9 million. That’s a fairly respectable amount of money and definitely a positive gain for distributor Lionsgate. As such, for the sequel, the budget was increased a bit. Crank: High Voltage had a budget of 20 million dollars. Bigger isn’t always better though as the box office returns for that film dropped by a fair bit. Against that 20 million dollar budget, Crank: High Voltage grossed only 34.6 million. This, somehow, isn’t considered a box office bomb on any website I know of. Not even Bomb Report lists it. I don’t know if there was a tax incentive that I don’t know of for the film or if I’m missing something, but that grossing is quite tepid and given that films don’t make back every cent they make at the box office (there’s a division of what studios and theaters keep; this is why you pay about seven bucks for a large popcorn), I would imagine this film would qualify as a bomb. Though hey, if I’m wrong, please let me know.

Anyways, despite that drop in box office returns, Statham stated that a third film was very much possible with actress Amy Smart (who also starred in the films) stating it may be in 3D. This was back when Avatar had come out and 3D was the way of the future. Director Brian Taylor also gave a possible release date of 2013 for Crank 3. However, that year came and went without any Crank 3. Two years later, in March of 2015, Statham reiterated his desire to do a third film, but said that Neveldine and Taylor had to “get their heads together” and that they had a “loose idea” of what the third film would entail. However, they hadn’t written a script at that point. Three years after that, in January of 2018, Brian Taylor stated that it would “be a while” before a third Crank film would be made. He cited profitability concerns and high expectations; it’s now been 11 years since Crank: High Voltage and let’s face it, fans will expect the greatest thing since sliced bread when the film’s finally made.

Or will they?

This is where the conspiracy finally comes into play. As stated at the start, on June 28, 2020, a user in a conspiracy thread on /x/ finally explained what the Crank Incident is—or was. His explanation was as follows:

The penultimate reason Crank 3 was never released, It was buried somewhere in 2013 due to SJ becoming more and more rampant.

SJ refers to social justice; I’m sure most of you have heard that term if you spend more than 5 seconds on the Internet a day. The most commonly associated term with that is social justice warrior (SJW). It’s the term lobbed against left-leaning individuals who stand up for various groups and beliefs that align with left-wing political parties. They’re the folks that infest Twitter and make me wish that I’d never bothered to step foot into that cesspool. I digress though: the idea here is that, presumably, either Crank 3 was written or perhaps even filmed and that it was so politically incorrect that Lionsgate absolutely refused to release it, let alone any studio. This led to the film being buried (whether physically or metaphorically, I don’t know). This led to it becoming known as the “Crank Incident”. Nothing more to it than that. Anticlimactic, no? Probably, though I can’t find anything else on the theory beyond that. For all intents and purposes, the Crank Incident is as hard to find as Waldo is if you’re blind.

So yeah, with that, the story of the Crank Incident comes to an end. Though does it really qualify as a story? To some, it may, while to others, it may not. Personally, I think the concept on its own is quite interesting. It’s one that allows for a fair bit of stretching and speculation into the nature of how politics affects our escapist entertainment. Though in spite of that, the theories are by and large very shallow. Don’t believe me? Well, let’s dive into them.

Theories

1. It’s related to the third Crank film

For our first theory, we have the one that was proposed/claimed by the user on 4chan. The Crank Incident refers to the burying of the third Crank film. Due to the rise of social justice and the content of the film being too politically incorrect, Lionsgate had the film buried and all news of its existence was covered up. Whether the film had been shot in secrecy or it was merely the script that was burned (or buried) is up for debate, but this theory presumably posits something akin to what happened to the Atari 2600 ET game being crushed and buried in the desert.

1b. It’s related to one of the other Crank films

With that said: the idea of the third film being hidden away isn’t the only theory involving the Crank film series. This theory is mostly spawned from my own mind and while I can’t exactly settle on any one event definitively, there is one that sticks out to me. It took place in the first film when Statham’s character spontaneously has sex with Amy Smart’s character out in public. As stated on the totally not a low-key confession to America’s only unsolved hijacking, IMDb:

In the public sex scene, all the non-actors' reactions to the scene were real.

If I were to play the game of taking a shot in the dark, pouring the liquor onto my face, and then taking a shot in the dark as to what the Crank Incident could be if it were related to the first two Crank films, it’d be that there was a Weinstein-style cover up that stated this scene was a genuine case of rape on film. However, such an accusation could lead to me being sued for defamation, so take this merely as an excuse to pad this write-up out (and for me to have an excuse to reference Harvey Weinstein).

It’s also possible that something very serious went on on the set of the first or second film (or perhaps the third if it was being filmed in secret) and it was covered up. Whether this was the death of a lead actor or actress, something highly illegal, or the crew stumbled upon some sort of secret government project is all up for debate. Though again, this is merely speculation on my part since there’s no readily available information on this theory because nobody on /x/ wants to come up with their own creative theory. Then again, I could easily do it myself, but that’s too much effort.

2. It’s related to something else entirely

Our second theory is that the Crank Incident refers to something completely unrelated to the films. This is yet another theory that I came up with by myself since it seemed rather obvious that if it wasn’t either the first theory or the succeeding one, then it clearly had to with something else entirely. However, try as I may, I cannot think of anything that would fit it. Perhaps it was an incident akin to the Crank films (in which case, it would tie into the previous theory, albeit very loosely) or it’s the codename for a government/military operation that went horribly awry and was covered up. So I leave this theory more up to you as I can’t think of anything specific.

3. It was made up for a Conspiracy Iceberg

The third and final theory is that the entire thing was made up. Given how many theories on the Conspiracy Icebergs are completely made up by various users on 4chan and other websites, the idea that this one is one of them is extremely likely. However, I can’t prove that and given that the earliest reference to the Crank Incident is from 2018—and it has no mention on /x/ that would imply it was created on there by a user—the only way I can imagine it was created from the mind of a clever individual is if the image used was made without assistance from the board as a whole.

My Take

The idea that Crank 3 was shelved due to social justice isn’t the most implausible concept I’ve ever heard of, though I’d still consider it wildly implausible given the film wasn’t exactly that politically incorrect—even if its camerawork can be considered a crime against humanity in hindsight. Sure, the second film got a bit of flack for allegedly being misogynistic and racist, but so have plenty of other films. Because of that, I’d instead wish to remind you all of the tepid box office returns for Crank: High Voltage and think about how much more expensive films have gotten thanks to that novel thing known as inflation (not to mention Jason Statham’s higher demand as an actor thanks to the Fast & Furious franchise), I doubt that there’s a desire for any studio to blow $50,000,000 on a film that’d likely gross only portion of that. Yes, I loved the first Crank film and I consider it to be a criminally underrated gem that a lot of people overlook, but let’s be real for a moment. How many people are frothing at the mouth for another one? Sure, I’d probably see it, but I doubt I’d be hype for it like I’d be hyped for Taylor Sheridan’s next movie or the next Mission: Impossible entry.

On top of that; film studios are loath to piss away money. There’s nothing more despised at any studio, be it Disney, Warner, Universal, or that other place called Paramount that the head honchos hate more than seeing their box office returns in red. While the Crank films didn’t have large budgets, the idea of raising the stakes each movie would require more money (not to mention the aforementioned increased demand for Statham who, while he isn’t in a movie every week like Dwayne Johnson was, still has a salary that would contribute to a sizable budget) and likewise, probably require more explosions. So the idea of simply burying the film without even trying to make a penny off of the film is ludicrous. Even if the film was the most politically incorrect film in the world, there’d still be some kind of market out there for it. Some money made in return for the investment is still better than taking it, digging a hole, throwing dirt on top of it, and then running away before the coyotes try to rip off your legs.

If you ask me, this entire theory is a great example of 4chan users making up a conspiracy to add to the ever growing number of Conspiracy Icebergs to screw with those uneducated on what goes on on the /x/ board. While it’s possible that Crank 3 was at one point going to happen, I think it’d take a lot of dumb luck for it to happen nowadays. Heck, Neveldine & Taylor haven’t made a movie together in close to a decade; the last time they made one was Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance. Never saw that movie, but I heard it was complete trash. Can’t imagine what went wrong.

Conclusion

The Crank Incident is one of those theories that offers a lot of fun speculation into what exactly goes on behind the scenes at Hollywood. While some claim Satanic Cabal activity involving the sacrificing of children is what takes place, I often like to imagine the “what could have been” aspect[s] of it all. The concept of a third Crank movie being buried due to the rise of social justice is a unique one, but it’s also one that I find very difficult to grasp. Of course, I can guarantee there are plenty of people out there who can buy it. I leave it up to you to decide. Tell me in the comments below what you think the truth is. Is Crank 3 buried out in an undisclosed location? Is this another thing entirely? Or was this a 4chan prank that nobody cared about because they were too interested in GGGQEP?

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