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Crank: High Voltage (2009)

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Score: 8/10

Genre: Action Comedy Running Time: 1 hr. 35 min.

Release Date: April 17th, 2009 MPAA Rating: R

Director: Mark Neveldine, Brian Taylor Actors: Jason Statham, Amy Smart, Dwight Yoakam, Efren Ramirez, Bai Ling, David Carradine, Geri Halliwell

L

ike any accident – 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 difficult to look away from. Topping its predecessor in every method of excessive vulgarity, “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 this sequel 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 production, which 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 far 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’s syndrome attacks, “Crank: High Voltage” quadruples the action, fatalities, old lady defilement, random nudity, and unbelievably twisted villains. And it even has time to throw in a John Woo homage or two, with opera music for good measure. Just watching this film can be equated to abusing narcotics.

– The Massie Twins

 

 



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