CRANK: HIGH VOLTAGE
* (out of 5)
April 17, 2009
Jason Statham as CHEV CHELIOS
Amy Smart as EVE
Clifton Collins Jr. as EL HURON
Bai Ling as RIA
David Carradine as POON DONG
Corey Haim as RANDY
Efren Ramirez as VENUS
Dwight Yoakam as DOC MILES
Directed by: Mark Neveldine & Brian Taylor
BY KEVIN CARR
Listen to Kevin’s radio review…
When it comes to a film like “Crank: High Voltage,” the fans of the series are just going to roll their eyes at anyone who doesn’t like it and say, “Dude, you just don’t get it.” And you’re welcome to say that to me… but you’d be wrong.
I get “Crank: High Voltage.” I just thought it was stupid.
In many ways, “Crank: High Voltage” is like last year’s “Shoot ‘Em Up.” It is an exercise in excess. When you think the film has gone too far, it goes farther. When you think the action is too much, you get more. When you see Jason Statham in what you think to be the craziest situation ever, things get worse.
I get this because this is the point of a film like this. After all, what else would you expect from a sequel to a film that ends with your hero falling 10,000 feet from a helicopter, landing on a car and bouncing back on the pavement.
When film fans and journalists heard that a sequel to 2006’s hyperkinetic overload “Crank,” everyone asked the same question: How can you possibly make a sequel? The guy’s dead.
In fact, I met writer/directors Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor at Comic-Con in 2007 in a roundtable for their decent but poorly received horror flick “Pathology.” Someone asked them this very question. The guys just sniggered to each other and said, “Oh, we figured out a way.”
Well, they figured out a way to do this the way bad soap operas figure out ways to bring back characters long dead. They just made crap up.
The movie continues where we left Chev Chelios (Jason Statham), dead in the road. Chinese gangsters pick up his body and take him away to harvest his organs (which on the onset is totally silly because his organs would have been liquefied from the fall). They replace his heart with an artificial model that needs to have an external battery. Chelios wakes up in the middle of this operation and then beats everyone up, escapes and proceeds to beat the holy shale out of the bad guys… all the while jump-starting his artificial ticker with external power sources.
From the beginning of the movie, it’s clear that this film is meant to be completely over the top. It’s even more hyper-real than the first film (which I did like, by the way). However, this is where the movie falls apart. It’s fun for the first five or ten minutes, but then it just becomes nauseating to watch.
The movie is meant to be all kinds of hyperkinetic crazy, but it comes across as a poorly executed Road Runner cartoon with foul language, naked girls, blood and guts, all running on a cocktail of amphetamines and crack cocaine… and not in a good way.
Scenes are randomly dropped in with dialogue that is so poorly written, it feels like a horny high school kid penned the script.
In my mind’s eye, I can see directors Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor, sucking down the energy drinks and smoking cigarettes, surrounded by strippers in their own version of a writer’s room. They’re dancing around like Chihuahuas on coke yelling things like, “Hey, let’s have a giant monster show down, like Godzilla!” and “Another public sex scene, only longer, wilder, with a larger audience and with horses!” and “A shoot out in a strip club, and we can keep the camera on a stripper whose fake breasts get pierced by a bullet! That’d be totally awesome!”
Sigh… just because it sounds funny in a script meeting doesn’t mean you’re going to execute it well. And Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor don’t execute anything in this movie well at all.
I get their intentions, but when things don’t fit together right, they just force it with wild editing, obnoxious sound effects and situational slapstick that doesn’t even make sense in its own context.
I can get into an exercise of excess, but “Crank: High Voltage” as a full-length feature gets very tiresome, very fast. Watching this movie is like trying to survive on Red Bull and Skittles. It might keep you up for a little bit, but before too long, you’ll just want to throw up.