Reviews

Crank: High Voltage

3

The Stath is back to break heads – with a broken heart...

His name is Chev Chelios. He’s mad as hell and he’s not going to take it any more.

Again.

You’d be mad too if Triad surgeons (is that really a legitimate career path?) had hacked out your “pump” and replaced it with an artificial, electrically charged turbo-ticker.

“Where…” demands Chev (Jason Statham) of a battered bad-guy, “...is my fackin’ strawberry tart!?”

Crank: High Voltage is an explosion in a silly-ideas factory that falls out of the mentalist tree and hits every twitching, psychotic branch on the way down. On acid, crack, PCP, steroids, ketamine, absinthe, really strong coffee…

But the key substance gushing through Statham and the movie’s veins is loud, leery, testosterone. Chev roars and snorts and clatters around like a wounded buffalo – butting, bashing, smashing and crotch-crunching anything that stands in the way of his tart-hunt.

Directors Neveldine and Taylor fire up every obscure trick in their editing software: druggy image warping, elastic slo-mo, jump-cuts to split-second freeze-frames…

Sniffier critics will smirk at the straight-outta-film-school ferocity, but there are two sequences that deserve to feature in 2009’s end-of-year Best Scenes list...

First – the reprise of the original’s very public anger-bang where Chev takes girlfriend Eve (Amy Smart) up the marketplace, complete with cheering onlookers (hurrah for heterosexuality!)

This time, Chev and Eve get it very heavily ‘on’ in the middle of a horse-race track – boffing like bunnies as a stampede of thoroughbreds thunder towards their writhing (pixellated) dirty bits.

Second – an eye-saucering moment in which gigantic, Godzilla-style versions of Chev and a rival (complete with monstrous, behemothic head-masks) slug it out at an electricity sub-station: a grunting, faintly homoerotic wrestle-fest before a backdrop of sparking pylons.

Neveldine and Taylor are so busy steering Statham into the relentless comic ultraviolence (shot at in a confined limo, dragged behind a speedboat), they can barely be arsed with supporting characters.

There’s an ex-heart surgeon buddy who Chev calls to act as plot narrator and audience technical advisor, an associate with, umm, ‘full-body Tourette’s’ (“I can’t control myself!”) and a gun-waving parade of multi-ethnic hoods and heavies lining up to be hit and hammered and abused – often in ways that will set liberal sphincters clenching (to a Triad driver… “Did someone drop some change or is there a Chink in here?”)

Clunking, throwaway cutaways to chat-shows and satirical news reports confirm that Neveldine and Taylor are more interested in pumping up the volume on what worked the first time rather than offer anything new.

But Statham’s the key. He clearly knows that comedy is all about playing it straight (and, genre-wise, this is more comedy than action). Never does he waver; not once is there a hint that he doesn’t believe in it.

Even when he has to defrib’ himself by chomping on a car jump-lead.

Even when he dips a shotgun in tar and jams it into a baddie’s arse.

Even when he has to wear an electric dog-collar and yap like a scolded puppy.

Verdict:

We’re going with one of the Onion-style newsreader’s comments on Chev’s rampage (“Mayhem, murder and lurid events!”) Not quite as much fun as the from-nowhere original, but still, y’know, fackin’ shocking.

Film Details

User Reviews

    • EthanRunt

      Apr 16th 2009, 15:20

      5

      A welcome second part to the tale of Chelios. Shame you've given half the biggest crazy awesome moments away. Love it and will be watching until it's out of cinemas, few summer films will whoop this'un.

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    • Rachie

      Apr 21st 2009, 11:27

      4

      Finally saw Crank 2 last night - thought it was ace and complete escapism. I can't believe that Andrew Collins walked out after 26 minutes - what an idiot.

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    • Romz87

      Apr 28th 2009, 15:59

      4

      Excellent action film, ultraviolent, and one that doesn't take itself seriously. This has to be the most fun film of 2009 so far! Praying that they make a 3rd (but unlikely seeing as this one is flopping hard already at the box office) Still, if you enjoyed the 1st one, or other crazy action films such as 2007's Shoot 'em up, then you'll definitely love this!!

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    • darko100

      Apr 28th 2009, 22:02

      4

      Like a big manly bicep flex Crank: High Voltage builds on the first film’s model, which is essentially Statham running as hard as he can to get revenge and high kicks (through electricity this time). While Crank was pure adrenaline, the second is tired and hung over but pumped with Redbull, fairy dust and dabs of acid. This leaves it on par with the first one bringing enough energy to be phallically brilliant, moving just as fast, with a multiplied boob factor that goes through the roof. The humor is along the same lines as the first Crank, laughing at itself and the viewer and brings the most important point in; that it's fun and silly. Like a guy with a six pack walking down the high street with his vest off covered in tribal tattoos on a cloudy day Crank: High Voltage is an exercise into pure manliness, that if taken seriously means you have missed the point. Just enjoy the boobs and bullets and if you already do then it adds to the Pro Plus induced entertainment of a guy getting from A to B experiencing full body tourettes, a horse’s dong, tazering to the balls and a whole lotta beatings. Overall Crank: High Voltage plays in the same park as the first; unpredictable, fast and smelling of burley wood-cutter sweat. At times this can be a little too overwhelming but as it moves so fast the entertainment is always at a high . While a close parallel to the first Crank: High Voltage follows the old saying of ‘if it ain’t broke give it a loada coffee, violence, boobs and electricity and lets see what happens.’

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    • duncan1964

      May 15th 2009, 14:11

      3

      A film so utterly ridiculous, over the top and unbelieveable that it defies criticism. Jason Statham has his heart stolen and replaced with an electronic one. Cue 90 minutes of the Stath running around LA looking for his missing body part, killing anyone he meets and contantly tring to recharge his heart. Pity the film makers couldnt think of an ending, as in the end they just dont bother

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    • giveital68

      May 16th 2009, 2:26

      5

      great when is the next one comming can't wait

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    • avoidz

      May 17th 2009, 3:46

      3

      Completely crazy movie but a hell of a ride. Could have done with the pointless chat show section edited out. This probably also has the best movie sex scene I've seen in recent years. Watch the end credits for more scenes, too.

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    • JD1994

      May 17th 2009, 21:41

      4

      better than the first film and even more ridiculous.

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    • Phoenix81

      Jul 28th 2009, 14:39

      1

      Oh dear, how they got this wrong. Abandoning all sense that made the 1st film so good and turning it into a monster fest of ridiculous (Yes I'm aware the 1st was also ridiculous, but it worked) over the top garbage!!

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    • Ali1748

      Dec 4th 2009, 21:53

      4

      I loved it apart from the pointless godzilla type battle at the power station and Chelios on fire with very poor cgi.

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    • captainchod

      Apr 9th 2010, 14:58

      4

      Great fun - saturday night entertainment at its best!

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