Crank: High Voltage
dir-scr Neveldine/Taylor
with Jason Statham, Amy Smart, Dwight Yoakam, Efren Ramirez, Bai Ling, Corey Haim, Joseph Julian Soria, Art Hsu, Holly Weber, Clifton Collins Jr, David Carradine, Geri Halliwell
release UK 16.Apr.09, US 17.Apr.09
09/US Lionsgate 1h36
Crank: High Voltage
Shocking behaviour: Statham and Ling

smart yoakam haim
See also:
CRANK (2006)
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Crank: High Voltage Jason Statham is literally and figuratively on fire in this return to one of his iconic screen roles. It's just as witty and raucous as CRANK (2006), although the filmmakers seem to be working a bit harder to maintain the energy.

When we last saw him, Chev (Statham) was plummeting from a helicopter. After miraculously surviving the landing, he's nabbed by a Chinese gang that harvests his heart for a transplant, leaving him with a temporary one while they find recipients for other organs. Of course, he escapes, and as long as he keeps recharging his artificial heart with an electric shock, he can try to catch the bad guys, find his heart and perhaps clean up the mess he created on his last romp.

Filmmakers Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor barely pause for breath, and their approach once again seems to be to make a profoundly rude live-action Looney Tunes cartoon for adults. Characters are run over by cars, thrown off buildings and repeatedly shot (among other less-mentionable things) and keep coming back for more. It's profoundly silly, with plot twists that couldn't be any more ridiculous. Unlike the first film, the story splinters into several strands, which kind of dilutes the central flow of action.

That said, Statham has terrific presence, never taking himself seriously. From the variety of electro-shock therapies to rampant sex at Hollywood Park, he dives into the role with gusto, keeping his tongue firmly in his cheek. And the surrounding cast is good as well. Even though Ling quickly gets on our nerves, a string of hilarious cameos more than makes up for it. Without saying who Halliwell plays, she almost steals the show.

Really, the only problem here is the way the story drifts away from Chev, removing the central thrust of his tenacious quest and adding too many spurious side characters. There's absolutely no point to this film beyond gratuitous entertainment, and it delivers that with style, keeping us laughing, gasping and watching through our fingers when things turn seriously grisly. Sometimes it's nice to find a film that doesn't have a message for us to take away. Well, beyond: Get ready for Part 3.

cert 18 themes, strong violence, language, sexuality 16.Apr.09

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