Saturday, April 18, 2009

CRANK: HIGH VOLTAGE - ridonkulous

Chev Chelios (Jason Statham) is an East End hitman who inexplicably lives in LA and dates a ditzy stripper called Eve (Amy Smart). In the original CRANK flick aforementioned triads injected him with an adrenaline-inhibitor. As a result, Chelios had to run round town after the anecdote, periodically re-charging his heart with adrenaline by, among other things, engaging in random outdoor sex. In this sequel, the triads are so impressed with his capacity for survival, that they decide to transplant the famous Chelios heart into an aged gangster (David Carradine). Chelios wakes after surgery, wired up to an external battery, with only a few hours to get his old heart back and into his body.

The one good thing about CRANK: HIGH VOLTAGE is that it knows, nay it glorifies, in how ridiculous it is. It's a movie that is deliberately designed to be balls-out ludicrous - more guns, more violence, more insane out-door sex, more crazy Asian gangsters, more revenge. It even has the juvenile wit to cast Corey Haim. It's like watching a live action video game on fast forward. There's little plot and less care for political correctness. Asians are Chinks, women are whores, and the audience is expected to laugh when a stripper gets shot in her fake tits and they deflate.

I laughed.

But I didn't laugh as much as I laughed during the original movie. Call me sentimental, but some of the innocence has gone. CRANK 1 was a simple low-budget cheap-thrills action flick starring Jason Statham. Statham's career is simply absurd: he's basically a skinny bald kid from Essex who can't act but has somehow muscled up and become a B-movie star. CRANK was the perfect vehicle for Statham - mirroring the absurdity that is his continuing success with its drug-induced aesthetic. Still, for all that, it had a semblance of a plot, and there was the thrill of getting to know these absurd characters. The sequel is just more of the same, but so much more that it's dizzying and, finally, boring. The movie builds to a crescendo with an open-air sex scene and then becomes plain dumb. The precise depth of dumbness is achieved in a pointless Jerry Springer parody sketch with a young actor failing to replicate Chelios' East End accent and Geri Halliwell aka Ginger Spice as his ChavMum.

CRANK: HIGH VOLTAGE is on release in the UK, US, Germany, Kazakhstan, Russia, Estonia, Lithuania, Taiwan and Greece. It opens next weekend in Iceland, Bulgaria and Romania. It opens in Turkey on May 8th; in the Czech Republic on June 23rd; in Sweden on July 31st; in France and Australia on August 20th; in Belgium and the Netherlands on September 10th; in Brazil and Spain on September 18th; and in Argentina on September 24th.

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