Some action movies spend tons of money, polish the Hell out of them and vanilla them up to appeal to as many small-brained droolers that like to see things blow up, yet want a sappy love story to give our hero some extraneous incentive to do the “right thing”. (Put your hand down, Bruckheimer!) You won’t get any of that nonsense in “Crank: High Voltage”. What you will get is a creative, gritty, wildly-paced action film that defies logic and reality. And as long as you are in the right frame of mind, this movie will be about as much fun as can be had in a movie theater without breaking any laws.
In this sequel to the popular first “Crank” film, we witness the continuing (mis)adventures of Chev Chelios, played by Jason Statham. This film picks up where the first left off; Chelios fell from a plane and landed in a busy L.A. intersection, still alive (!), only to be nabbed immediately by a van of Chinese organ thieves. In a make-shift O.R., a doctor proceeds to remove his heart and replace it with a temporary pace-maker. Later realizing that these guys want to harvest his organs for some elderly Chinese mob leader, Chelios decides it’s time to go.
What’s the hook? Uh, the OTHER hook? Chelios’s fake heart is powered by two batteries. One is a back-up inside him; the other is strapped to him on a belt. In order to keep the batteries juiced, and therefore keeping the heart beating, he has to subject himself to some kind of electric shock every so often or he’ll die. Reality? We’ll have none of that here! Good day, sir!
For the next 80 minutes, it’s a non-stop ride of insanity to chase the guy that has his real heart in a small cooler. Chev Chelios wants his heart back, and nothing will stop him from getting it. Not the Chinese mob, not the gangs of a Latino kingpin, not a crazy Bai Ling who is in this as an over-the-top stereotypical Asian hooker. Remember how annoying you thought Rosie Perez was in most of her earlier roles? Multiply that times 100 = Bai Ling in this. But at least here it’s intentional.
This movie is going to be a “love it or hate it” sort of thing. It’s not for everyone –certainly not the weak of heart (a little pun intended). But if you liked the first “Crank”, you’ll dig this. It’s the first times ten. It’s highly stylized, lots of quick cuts, spinning camera, and ultra high adrenaline story-telling. Jason Statham is on, as always, as this is the kind of character he does well. And any character that didn’t die in the first one, is back to piss Chelios off once again.
There are a couple scenes with some graphic violence, there is enough nudity to make any frat boy happy, and the humor is often off-color, as in NOT PC. But there is plenty of great humor, such as a scene that is a homage to Godzilla movies that had me rolling. The music is spot on, some experimental and urgent, and I would expect no less from Mike Patton, who wrote and produced it all, except a few songs. You’ll remember Mike Patton as the singer of the band Faith No More.
This movie has no real redeeming value in the great scheme of things. It has no message, no award winning anything. It’s pure frivolous entertainment. But dare I say it may be my favorite movie so far this year. Lots of people won’t agree with me, but there’s no middle of the road here. It’ll be either yay or nay. But for my money, this was one Hell of a funny, entertaining thrill ride. Yes, sir, I liked it!
–Neil T. Weakley, average movie-goer. Man, this movie was fun!