‘Crank’ a fun and action-packed sequel


Film: Crank: High Voltage

Directors: Mark Neveldine,

Brian Taylor

Producer: Tom Rosenberg

Writers: Mark Neveldine,

Brian Taylor

Starring: Jason Statham,

Amy Smart

Runtime: 95 minutes

Rating: R


At some point, a film goes so over the top that, no matter what it does, it won’t surprise audiences. “Crank: High Voltage” belligerently crosses that threshold simply by existing in the first place. Assassin Chev Chelios (Statham) shouldn’t even be around for a sequel — the first “Crank” ended with him falling out of a helicopter to his death. But that didn’t stop co-writers and directors Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor from crafting a sequel that pushes Chelios into new, ridiculous action territory, delivering a sequel that, while slightly flawed, is yet another modern action classic.

Picking up immediately where the first one left off, “Voltage” finds Chelios kept on life support so his organs can be harvested. Of course he’s having none of it — and right as a certain member is about to be harvested, he violently escapes, almost intact. His heart however was successfully harvested, and he is now surviving on an artificial battery powered heart. The catch is that the battery is dying, meaning that as he tracks down his heart he has to keep pumping electricity through his body in order to stay alive.

First, let’s get the bad out of the way. Given the film’s blazingly fast pace, there are some jokes that take way too long to set up, and break up the otherwise perfect pacing. It’s obvious that these scenes were extended just to up the runtime, which comes in at a mere 96 minutes. Without these scenes the film would have been much shorter, but stronger. Thankfully, there are only a couple of these jokes, but it’s just enough to make an impact. Then there’s the focus on Chelios’s girlfriend, Eve (Smart). Her scenes aren’t bad, but they’re completely pointless. Again, it’s just more filler.

Beyond these few blemishes, “Voltage” can be summed up in one word: Awesome.

“Voltage” does what many thought would be impossible — make an even faster, more intense action flick than “Crank.” The ADD-factor has been upped, and it has some insane cinematography and editing to back it up. But it’s the music that will get audience’s adrenaline going. The original soundtrack was composed by Mike Patton of Faith No More fame. For those who aren’t familiar with Patton’s work, just understand that he brings a level of aural intensity to this film that will remain unmatched for some time.

The actual plot of “High Voltage” is beyond belief. It’s beautiful in its absurdity, disregarding logic in favor of style. The story is only strengthened by Statham, who proves once and for all that he’s Hollywood’s current reigning action star. It’s wildly entertaining watching him chase down bad guys and beat the living pulp out of them. The biggest surprise is the inclusion of prostitute Ria, played by Bai Ling, who is easily the worst actress working today. But “High Voltage” ends up being the perfect outlet for her unique artistic abilities. Her character is anything but PC, speaking in broken English and screaming sentences made purely of expletives. But in the freakish world of “High Voltage,” it fits perfectly.

But as great as the production, story and characters are, they all pale in comparison to the insane shoot-outs and fight sequences. “Voltage” pulls out some stunts that most action flicks wouldn’t dare touch. These scenes include everything from exploding silicone breasts in a strip club to a fist fight that ends in a gangbanger getting sodomized by a shotgun. And somewhere along the way a head gets punted into a swimming pool. It may not be high-brow entertainment, but it’s definitely entertainment.

“Voltage” stands out because it’s simultaneously an entertaining, over-the-top action flick that’s a legitimately well-made film. It may be a step or two behind its predecessor, but that doesn’t stop it from being a must-see for action aficionados. Even those not big on action should give it a shot — it’s a must-see experience.