The critics have not been very kind to Crank: High Voltage. But what do they know? Here?s what this movie has going for it: gratuitous nudity, mindless violence, constant profanity, and a ridiculous storyline. Add to that ... more »stereotypes galore (gay, Asian, Latino, the neuropsychiatrically disabled, you name it), strippers with guns, a strike by porn actors (with a cameo appearance by Ron Jeremy), and a guy who refers to his heart as a "strawberry tart," and one can only wonder what?s not to like. In fact, writer-director-producers Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor?s sequel to 2006?s Crank is an absolute hoot, a non-stop assault of crazy sights and sounds that will leave you breathless and laughing. As the action starts, Jason Statham?s Chev Chelios has not only survived the fall from a helicopter that ended the earlier film, but is now on the operating table, awake and watching as some Chinese villains harvest his "tart" in order to implant it in their aging leader (a wacky turn by David Carradine). Chev quickly dispatches the bad guys, but the fun?s just starting; the mechanical ticker they?ve put inside him needs constant recharging, so as Chev pursues the real organ, he must use whatever?s available (jumper cables, a police taser, a car cigarette lighter, high voltage power lines) to keep the fake one going. Storywise, that?s about it. But it?s plenty, as the filmmakers? ultra-kinetic style--with its manic edits, cartoony subtitles, and other envelope-stretching effects--and amusing performances by Amy Smart (as Chev?s girlfriend), Dwight Yoakam (as a "doctor" who helps him figure out what?s happening), and others keep things going. No, Crank: High Voltage ain?t exactly Masterpiece Theater, but this is without a doubt one of 2009?s most entertaining films. --Sam Graham« less
"I enjoyed how unique the first Crank film was and this sequel is even more wild, but I liked it a lot less. Crank: High Voltage is a roller coaster ride that last 85 minutes and features some really gross scenes. For example, a guy getting a shotgun rammed up his rear end isn't even in the top three weird moments in this flick. There was one scene where a guy had to punish himself for letting his boss down, which I had to turn my head and look away (I can't remember the last time I did that). There is almost zero realism here, much like the original, only multiplied by a hundred. Jason Statham is the main action star in the business right now and he is pretty good at what he does. He went all out here and I'm sure he has nothing but bruises and a nice paycheck to show for it. The large supporting cast was better than average and Amy Smart was especially yummy. If you liked Crank (2006) you will probably enjoy this one well enough, but I think they should put this series to rest. Judging by the ending during the credits, I'm sure we can expect Crank 3-D: Zombie Chev in the near future."
"Like a car crash - in this case something like an oil tanker colliding with a school bus full of baby kittens - Crank: High Voltage is disturbing to an intense degree, yet it's difficult to look away. Topping its predecessor in every manner of excessive vulgarities, Crank's acknowledgment and subsequent self-reflective mockery of its own escapist anti-realism produces a highly engaging exercise in both parody and hurdling over the boundaries of good taste. Wholesome entertainment this is not. But it's entertainment nonetheless.
For relentlessly revenge-driven and eternally enraged hitman Chev Chelios (Jason Statham), not even death could slow him down. After being poisoned, beaten, shot, and falling several thousand feet onto unforgiving pavement, Chelios is alive and well, save for having his indestructible heart stolen by Chinese mobsters and replaced with a mechanical one. Now forced to re-energize his ticker with bursts of electricity at frequent intervals, the bitter killer must hunt down his assailants while simultaneously fending off nearly limitless enemies from his past. On his side is vitriolic girlfriend Eve (Amy Smart), maniacal ex-doctor Miles (Dwight Yoakum), spastic ally Venus (Efren Ramirez) and an unquenchable thirst for vengeance.
Crank: High Voltage finally recognizes the shortcomings of the original and uses them to its advantage. Realizing that an attempt at serious hardcore action gave way to unrealistic, hyper-stylized, implausibly frenetic chaos and unintentional humor allows High Voltage to break free from its restraints and fully embrace the over-the-top humor that Crank reservedly craved. The utter nonsense that surrounds this fast-paced sequel that refuses to take itself seriously oozes with bloodthirsty violence, overdoses of risqué sex in very public places and crazily callous cursing.
"Fatal" means nothing to the seemingly invincible Chelios or to the wide assortment of oddballs that frequent his odyssey. It's crude, cruel, coarse, and off-color and perhaps the best brainless escapism to bombard the action film scene in much too long. From the opening scene in which Vang smugly flicks cigarette ashes onto Chev's exposed "strawberry tart" during open-heart surgery, to Doc Miles' reminiscing about the loss of a medical license due to his wife's failed vaginal rejuvenation procedure in the basement, to Venus' untimely full body Tourette Syndrome attacks, Crank: High Voltage quadruples the action, fatalities, old lady defilement, random nudity, and unbelievably twisted villains, and even has time to throw in a John Woo homage or two and opera music for good measure. Just watching this film will get you high.
- The Massie Twins"
I Left My Heart in Los Angeles
Chris Pandolfi | Los Angeles, CA | 04/23/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"How much abuse can one body take? When we last left Chev Chelios (Jason Statham), he had fallen from a helicopter, bounced off a car, and landed on a street in the middle of Los Angeles. And this was after being injected with a toxin that stopped the production of adrenaline. Now he finds himself in the middle of an operating room, his still-beating heart removed from his chest and replaced with an artificial version that's hooked up to a battery. When the battery gets destroyed, he's left with only an implanted backup generator, and in order for that to keep working, he must keep himself electrically charged. Sometimes, that involves sticking his finger into a car socket. At other times, that involves clamping jumper cables to his nipple and tongue, at which point the person behind the wheel hits the accelerator.
The original "Crank" was shameless, high octane fun, and so is "Crank: High Voltage," a film that doesn't know the meaning of the word "excessive." There's not a trace of humility to be found in any one of its ninety-six minutes. It's an unabashedly crude crime caper that uses four-letter dialogue as if being paid by the letter. It's an in-your-face assault on the senses, a hyperactive video game that never makes use of the pause button. Normally, these would be the hallmarks of a God-awful film, but in this case, they're the hallmarks of a stylish thrill ride that's just as funny as it is shocking. It's a movie so audacious in its insanity that I pretty much have to recommend it; it may not be the most edifying thing you'll ever see, but it certainly will be the most unforgettable hour-and-a-half you've had all spring.
The story: An Asian gangster named Johnny Vang (Art Hsu) is somewhere in Los Angeles with Chelios' heart, which is said to be indestructible and therefore perfect for harvesting. Chelios, with only a weakly powered artificial heart to work with, goes on a frantic search, stopping every so often to recharge. Along the way, he meets a number of ... interesting people. There's his old flame, Eve (Amy Smart), who now works as a stripper. There's a Chinese prostitute named Ria (Ling Bai), who clings to Chelios like a dog in heat and uses language that would make a sailor blush. There's Venus (Efren Ramirez), who's on a mission to avenge the death of his twin brother, Kaylo. Chelios has an occasional phone conversation with Doc Miles (Dwight Yoakam), who was once a heart surgeon before losing his license.
The movie is filled with unbelievable moments, but there are three in particular so priceless that I have to describe them. The first takes place at Hollywood Park, where a horse race is being held. Miles tells Chelios that, in a pinch, skin to skin friction will generate enough static electricity to keep his battery going. When Eve learns of this, she and Chelios begin creating their own "friction"--in the middle of the racing track to a cheering crowd of thousands. The second takes place in a power grid. Chelios and Vang start fighting, at which point the scene turns into a cheesy Asian monster movie, complete with unconvincing miniatures and makeup effects. The third is a strange flashback sequence revealing Chelios as a child (Billy Unger). He and his mother are on a talk show discussing why he became such a juvenile delinquent.
None of this has any real bearing on the story; they're nothing more than excuses for the movie to be ill-mannered and/or goofy. There are, of course, many other instances of these extremes, but they're all so over the top that I probably wouldn't be able to describe them anyway.
I leave it to you to see what happens at the end. Let it suffice to say that the shot before the end credits perfectly sums up everything the filmmakers set out to do. It would not be enough to say that this movie is bizarre; it's so outlandish that it pretty much defies the conventions of genre. Comparisons can be made to "Shoot `Em Up," Michael Davis' no-holds-barred, brilliantly original action film from 2007 that made use of stylized violence and a delightfully sick sense of humor. Both films also feature a British leading man. This leads me to why "Shoot `Em Up" is the more successful film: Clive Owen gave us a performance we hadn't seen him give before. Jason Statham, on the other hand, has starred almost exclusively in extreme action films, so there's very little he can do to surprise us.
Nevertheless, I'd be lying if I said that I didn't enjoy this movie, and it has everything to do with how far it goes. There's a difference between a movie that goes too far and a movie like "Crank: High Voltage"--the latter goes so far, it actually surpasses offensiveness and becomes entertaining. This is cinematic decadence at its most potent, an unbridled foray into the mind-numbing depths of action, comedy, and yes, even sex. One of the earliest cues is given by John de Lancie, who plays a TV anchorman; he describes the events of the first film as implausible. No, he doesn't just say the word. He pauses momentarily before accenting the word, as if to let the audience know that they're in store for yet another round of sheer lunacy. The writing/directing team of Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor could have made a tamer film, I suppose, but like Chev Chelios, they're hearts just weren't in it."
An Awesome Action Film On Drugs!!!
Pumpkin Man | 08/21/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This movie made me feel like I was high and drunk while watching an action film, I don't really know how to explain that, but it was an awesome feeling. I also thought it was extremely hilarious and it was a really good sequel. After three months, Chev Chelios is back in action, and tries to find his heart before he dies. Doc Miles tells him that the Chinese gave him an AbioCor Artificial heart, and he must keep it charged, or he will die. He has jumper cables helping him, rubbing up against an old woman, makin' sweet love to his girlfriend, Eve on a horse race track, and grabbing electric wires. I highly recommend CRANK 2: HIGH VOLTAGE!!! "
BIZARRE TO SAY THE LEAST, BUT HARD TO LOOK AWAY!
! MR. KNOW IT ALL ;-b | TRI STATE AREA | 09/29/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)
"If you liked the first 'Crank' film you may be a little jarred by this sequel as it really does completely take the original and go so far in to cartoon land that it may be hard for you to adjust to it. I found myself laughing at the insanely over the top approach in this new entry. I enjoyed it, but I'm not sure if I need to own it. Maybe in a bargain bin some day as I'm sure it's heading for it as most folks will be turned off by this off the wall sequel. It's a cross between 'Spun', Shoot'em Up' and the original 'Crank'. If you're going to watch this film go in knowing it has all the credibility of a Road Runner cartoon!"