One need not be certifiably insane to enjoy “Crank: High Voltage,” but know that the film is.
This sequel to the 2006 sleeper hit “Crank” picks up literally the moment its predecessor left off, with Chev Chelios (Jason Statham) plummeting to his death on a L.A. street. Rather than be left for dead, he’s picked up by persons unknown and given a quickie, cheapie heart transplant.
There’s no story to it, per se; it’s just a string of scenes that try to top the previous one in outrageousness, with Chev trying to find his old heart while keeping this temp one a-pumping. Occasionally, it fails, which forces him to do things that would kill anyone less than a superhero, like, say, grab an electrical transformer, or attach live jumper cables to your tongue. Hookers, gangsters and various ne’er-do-wells “ all shot in disgusting, grimy, grotesque close-ups that unnerve “ dot the unappealing landscape.
If there ever were an Academy Award for Best Sex Sequence at a Horse Race, Best Use of REO Speedwagon and/or Best WTF Tribute to “King Kong vs. Godzilla,” rest assured “Crank: High Voltage” would sweep them all. It’s the kind of movie that puts a talking head in a box just because it can, that casts the late David Carradine as an Asian man named Poon Dong just because the filmmakers find it funny.
That’s not an indictment of the supercharged sequel, but more of a litmus test. If the first “Crank” offended your middle-America sensibilities, don’t bother even glancing at this on the store shelves; you might catch a venereal disease via your retinas. But if you had a good time at the expense of logic, you’re going to get another great ride. In fact, this even surpasses the original.
Part of that is because of its willingness to try anything. I’m all for a movie that sets out to kick viewers in the balls and then laugh about it. But that can cross the line … and does, with writers/directors Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor’s treatment of Amy Smart, returning as Eve, Chev’s main squeeze. I feel sorry for some of the things the actress had to do here, such as pose for camera angles usually reserved for gynecologists, or having her bare breasts (well, save for electrical tape o’er the nipples) smashed against a car window, which, of course, is shot lovingly from the vehicle’s interior. She’s treated like a piece of meat; it kinda makes you feel like you need a shower.
Guess what? Neveldine and Taylor don’t care what you think. These are guys who shot their interview segments for the special features while drinking. But all in all, the movie and the disc are better off for it. Most amusing is a compilation of all the film’s “fuck-ups” — their term, not mine — with arrows and subtitles spelling them out. When you make a movie on the cheap, you don’t always have the time for retakes. And I never noticed them; I was too busy distracted by all the other insanity unspooling onscreen. —Rod Lott