Crank: High Voltage (2009)

I’m hesitant to bash anything Jason Statham is in, because I truly hope he continues delivering in solid adult action and thriller vehicles, and doesn’t resort to starring as a disgruntled babysitter in a family vehicle alongside some Disney moppet. In either case, while Statham is always a scene stealer, “Crank: High Voltage” is garbage. And not entertaining garbage like the first film, but garbage that should never have existed.

Even for a premise like “Crank,” the sequel plays it to all heights if idiocy where suspense of disbelief is no longer an instrument to the entertainment. Chev Chelios survived the humongous fall from the helicopter, and was immediately carried away. Four years later after surgery and healing, he awakens in a run down hospital where he discovers that his heart has been taken out and replaced with an artificial generator. Intent on getting his heart back, he treks along the city to find the triad gangster that has his heart, and does whatever it takes to keep his artificial heart running. Most of the gags are just recycled bits from the first “Crank,” while the rest are hit or miss jokes.

Chev has sex with his girlfriend in public once again, and he electrocutes himself once again. He also resorts to sticking his finger in an open electric slot, and forcing two men to shock him with an electric dog collar. Directors Neveldine and Taylor seem to realize how stupid their first film was, so “Crank: High Voltage” feels like a spoof instead. “If you thought Crank was stupid, wait for the sequel,” they obviously told fans. And the plot goes through every length to mock the first film, even reviving dead characters, and featuring ridiculous asides we’re supposed to find funny, but are just forced.

There’s a segment where we meet a young Chev, and during much of the film, two news reporters discuss Chev’s reign of terror on the street in disbelief, ad nauseum. Neveldine and Taylor don’t seem to know where they want to go with this follow-up, so it’s all just more of the same nonsense, except with better special effects. “High Voltage” almost seems to want us to hate it, and does whatever it can to inspire a groan from audiences. Whether it’s watching a dog be tortured, or an orgy at a gay dance club, it’s all so unpleasant and never musters up the entertainment value from the first film. Director Neveldine and Taylor will never be accused of being good directors, and “Crank: High Voltage” proves that they’re incapable of delivering a remotely decent action film.


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