You can’t keep a good man down. Jason Statham is back as Chev Chelios – this time to retrieve his stolen heart (that’s right, he’s running on battery power). High-octane and truly electrifying!
The critics have not been very kind to Crank: High Voltage
. But what do they know? Here’s what this movie has going for it: gratuitous nudity, mindless violence, constant profanity, and a ridiculous storyline. Add to that stereotypes galore (gay, Asian, Latino, the neuropsychiatrically disabled, you name it), strippers with guns, a strike by porn actors (with a cameo appearance by Ron Jeremy), and a guy who refers to his heart as a "strawberry tart," and one can only wonder what’s not
to like. In fact, writer-director-producers Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor’s sequel to 2006’s Crank
is an absolute hoot, a non-stop assault of crazy sights and sounds that will leave you breathless and laughing. As the action starts, Jason Statham’s Chev Chelios has not only survived the fall from a helicopter that ended the earlier film, but is now on the operating table, awake and watching as some Chinese villains harvest his "tart" in order to implant it in their aging leader (a wacky turn by David Carradine). Chev quickly dispatches the bad guys, but the fun’s just starting; the mechanical ticker they’ve put inside him needs constant recharging, so as Chev pursues the real organ, he must use whatever’s available (jumper cables, a police taser, a car cigarette lighter, high voltage power lines) to keep the fake one going. Storywise, that’s about it. But it’s plenty, as the filmmakers’ ultra-kinetic style--with its manic edits, cartoony subtitles, and other envelope-stretching effects--and amusing performances by Amy Smart (as Chev’s girlfriend), Dwight Yoakam (as a "doctor" who helps him figure out what’s happening), and others keep things going. No, Crank: High Voltage
ain’t exactly Masterpiece Theater
, but this is without a doubt one of 2009’s most entertaining films. --Sam Graham