Review: Crank High Voltage
PLOT: After having a really bad day in CRANK, Chev Chelios finds himself on an operating table as his tough as nails heart is removed, leaving him with a weak and frail artificial one. But right before they go after another important organ, he gets down to business in an attempt to get back whatís his while constantly having to give himself and electrical jump start. Along the way he meets an Elvis impersonating villain, a crazy prostitute that has made him her unofficial boyfriend, and a bunch of fodder to fill with bullets and whatever other objects he could find. This includes a poor sap getting anal intrusion with a very large gun.
Lionsgate didnít want critics to see CRANK: HIGH VOLTAGE before it was released. They didnít want us to see what ultimately is a big, stupid, obnoxious mess of entertainment. But come on, did they really think it was going to be a cinematic masterpiece? Of course it wonít. High Voltage is exactly what the title suggests, tons of electricity pumped into a preposterously implausible live action cartoon. Think Anime with Jason Statham. Even at the very beginning, they use an old school looking video game to sort of explain where we left off the first time around. Stathamís Chev Chelios has become the action hero version of Jason Voorhees. He can fall from a helicopter, survive tremendous amounts of pain and suffering, and still come out stronger and more pissed off than before. This is not high art folks, this is a Jason Statham movie cranked up to 10. But sadly, that is where some of the problems lie.
With the original film, they found little bits of humor spread throughout and made for a pretty fun movie that didnít take itself seriously. And those little moments of having to screw your girlfriend in public that lasted for a minute or two, have now been stretched out and exaggerated. It is made even more complete with a cheering audience at Hollywood Park during a horse race. Is it funny? Sure it is. But it also feels a bit like a ďSaturday Night LiveĒ skit that starts off incredible promising, but runs way too long and soon burns itself out. Thatís not to say that I still didnít have fun with the over-the-top humor in High Voltage, I just think it lost some of the originals charm trying to be shocking. One sequence includes a really graphic fight that turns into a GODZILLA parody with Statham and his foe. It was one of several moments that were thrown in for extreme measure. This truly could be the Jolt Cola of feature filmsÖ but not always in a good way.
Jason Statham is fun to watch. I like his energy and his delivery just because he is so comfortable making a fool of himself, while in a matter of seconds heading straight into badass territory. This is no exception as he really does sort of become a living, breathing Wile E. Coyote that keeps getting further and further into trouble. You canít help but root for him a little as he shoots through whatever and whoever he can to get what he needs. He is certainly not the heroesí of old that fights to free the leading lady from the clutches of the bad guy. But he does have a tendency to have sex with Eve in order to keep himself alive for whatever reason the plot demands and then leaves her stranded. With this second time around, his outlandish behavior is truly beyond belief. Again, it is funny, but after awhile when you are still working on the same joke, it gets stale.
Like with any sequel, we are introduced to quite a few new characters to get pummeled full of bullets and what have you. And the biggest surprise for me was Bai Ling as Ria, a prostitute that Chev happens to sort of save. She is very funny as she is convinced that this fellow will be Kevin Costner to her Whitney Houston. I really enjoyed watching her chase him around and try and get romantic with her unwitting hero. I also had fun with the addition of Clifton Collins Jr. as the Elvis impersonating El Huron , David Carradine as a character named ĎPoon DongíÖ Iím sorry, Poon Dong? Yes, subtlety is nowhere near this flick. And I was pleasantly surprised by the mullet wearing Corey Haim. At least all the actors seemed like they were in on the joke. And that certainly includes the lovely Amy Smart. As Eve, she is able to have a little more fun this time around and even get to play the tough guy. And you know what? She absolutely pulled it off.
It all sounds like a really good time for those of you looking to get amped and see a mindless action flick. And it certainly can be, but the way that Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor push for more, it starts to lose its momentum. By the time it gets to the final climax with guns blazing all around and bodies being riddled with holes, some of the excitement fades. It truly becomes a case of too much too soon. I certainly didnít find it boring, but it wasnít as heart-poundingly exciting as it couldíve been. But this is a movie that will make for a hell of a fun night of drunken movie watching if you are so inclined. After all, it isnít heart surgery, it is just a silly action film. And while it feels all over the place and scattered, at least Neveldine and Taylor give you some fun eye-candy in the form of T & A, ultra violent action pieces and neat-o visual tricks with a ready and willing cast. My rating 6/10 -- JimmyO