Crank 2: High Voltage- More Preposterous Action From The King Of The Genre

Jason Statham does ridiculous action better than anyone alive today. The Transporter series, which I’m a fan of, require insane Jackie Chan stunts and impossible car tricks. The first Crank I found to be pretty unpleasant, with all of its music video editing and shaky camera work, but Statham always strikes the right balance between earnest badassness and tongue-in-cheek action star. This film is the most preposterous of any of the films he has made to date and contains scenes guaranteed to offend females, nearly every nationality, and anyone who follows any sort of moral code. It is more charming than the first, however, with its willingness to go the extra mile and the sheer idiocy of the proceedings. If you liked Crank, then Crank 2 is Christmas come early.

When we last left Chev Chelios (Statham), he was falling to his death out of a helicopter. Or so we thought– when he lands, he’s scooped up by Asian organ farmers who take his heart. Chelios was unable to stop the heart from being stolen… but when they threaten to remove his penis, he jumps up, kills the doctors, and the action begins. His electric heart runs on a battery that requires electricity every hour to keep it charged in order to keep his heart pumping. Along the way, he kills everyone in his path, has enough public sex session with his girlfriend Eve (Amy Smart, being a good sport as always), and tries to brush off an Asian hooker obsessed with him (Bai Ling).

The violence is potent– I don’t know which was more shocking, the rifle stuck into a man’s rectum or the man who is forced to cut off his own nipples. The sex is graphic– there are countless topless women, and the sex scene ends up needing to resort to silly pixelation of private parts. The cameos are hilarious– look, it’s Corey Haim! look, it’s David Carradine! look, it’s Geri Halliwell of the Spice Girls! The actors from the first nearly all return in some form or another– including some dead characters one wouldn’t have expected. The camerawork and editing are… well, they’re still headache-inducing. I suppose at this point if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, and they wouldn’t have made a sequel if the fans felt the style was broken. And Bai Ling… it’s an embarrassing performance of a racist depiction of Asian women, and who better to humiliate one’s self with great gusto than Bai Ling?

And then there’s Statham. The difference between him and other ridiculous action stars of the past like Seagal and Van Damme is Statham can actually act. Check out The Bank Job, last year’s terrific heist flick, for an example– he could be a legitimate leading man. The thing is, he LIKES making these types of films. The fun he has shows in every one of them, which is why he tends to help his material transcend regular shlock and become B-grade action flicks known for outlandish stunts and violence that put a smile on the face of anyone who knows what to expect from a Statham movie. These Crank films to me are several notches below The Transporter series. They try a little too hard to offend, and the editing makes The Transporter look like Russian Ark in terms of shot length. Still, they have their audience, they’re critic-proof, and despite an ending that dares other B-grade action flicks to top it, I have a feeling we’ll eventually get around to seeing a Crank 3.

~ by russellhainline on April 25, 2009.

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