He was dead. Then he got better.
After seeing Crank High Voltage and sitting down to write this review, I was skimming through Rotten Tomatoes to see just how the movie managed an exceptionally solid 68% on the Tomatometer. The first review I came to was a brief snippet of a rotten one, and it’s probably the stupidest sentence I’ve ever read in a movie review. Courtesy of Sean Means from the Salt Lake Tribune:
“The only shocking thing about it is how dull and predictable the whole enterprise is.”
Crank may be a lot of things, but calling it “dull” is like calling Finding Nemo “a throwaway kids’ tale with no heart.” It’s like calling Requiem for a Dream “the feel-good movie of the summer” It’s like calling The Happening “Shyamalan’s best work to date.” It’s just completely non-sequiter.
Call Crank High Voltage everything under the sun, but “dull” should be residing nowhere in your vocabulary. The film is so pumped with adrenaline it oozes out of every pore, and is one of the few films I’ve seen that is actually physically exhausting to watch. Another one would be the original film.
For those of you not familiar with the concept, in the first movie Chev Chelios is given a drug that will kill him unless he keeps his adrenaline up at all times. This results in a rampage of biblical proportions through the streets of LA, killing and ****ing everything under the sun.
“Look, over there, boobs, guns and more boobs.”
In the sequel, the should-be-dead Chelios (he fell a mile to earth out a helicopter at the end of the last film), is alive and almost well. The little hiccup being that Triads have stolen his heart and replaced it with an artificial one that requires a constant electrical charge to be kept running. This results in another rampage involving killing, and ****ing everything under the sun, all the while finding stuff to shock himself back to life with.
So yes, we weren’t exactly going for a change of pace here, but it’s not like the series needed one. We know what we’re getting with a Crank movie the way we know what we’re getting with a Transporter movie, another Statham staple. But Crank is a much better series because of its obvious sense of self-parody, whereas the last two Transporters just come across as lame attempts at an action flick.
But is Crank 2 good? I mean, if you liked the original and other such over-the-top action fare like Smokin’ Aces or Running Scared, it’s right up youre alley. It’s violent and exploitative to the point of absurdity, with Latino gang members cutting of their own nipples, strippers being shot in the boob and watching their saline leak out, or Asian prostitutes yelling nonsense curse words and being hit by cars. We’ve got it all folks.
It’s all sometimes too much for even the most violence-numbed brain to process, and it all happens in such a lightning-paced time frame, by the end you’ll definitely want a beer and nap. Watch at your own risk.
3 out of 5 stars
Kids, please try this at home.