Crank: High Voltage (2009)

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In the 2006 film Crank, we were taken on a wild ride as hitman for hire Chev Chelios, played by British actor Jason Statham, found himself poisoned by a ruthless gangster. After a fall from a helicopter, people thought Chev was dead, but he’s not.

In this insane sequel, the film picks up right where we left off. Chev is kidnapped by a Chinese gang, led by Johnny Vang. Chev’s heart has been stolen from his and replaced with an artificial heart that can be triggered only by electricity. Chev soon finds himself on another wild ride, one that reunites him with exotic dancer girlfriend Eve, as well as a bevy of thugs from Chev’s past as he must track down Vang and find his heart.

If you thought Crank took you in for a wild ride, you have not seen anything yet. Writer/directors Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor went quite insane with this film, sending Statham’s hitman back to using the most unorthodox methods to stay alive. In one sequence, Chev is surrounded by a band of cops who taser him. Big mistake as the electric jolt of the taser turns Chev into practically Superman as he dishes out some major punishment on the law.

The film also has the notion to be a B-movie fan’s dream as there are quite a number of actors from the lower budgeted movies of the past making appearances alongside a few adult film stars. However, mostly notable is former 80’s heartthrob Corey Haim as strip bar owner Randy, looking like he came out of the Billy Ray Cyrus school of 90’s hair. He has the pleasure of getting beaten up twice, once by Chev and once by Eve, played by returning star Amy Smart. However, the funniest appearance comes from David Carradine, who plays an old Asian man who has the distinction of looking like a sex-crazed Lo Pan lookalike named (get this) Poon Dong.

The film does have a few twists and turns that prove vital to the plot. For instance, Efren Ramirez returns but as a new character, Venus. It so happens that Venus is the twin brother of his killed off character from the original film and teams up with Chelios to find Vang and perhaps, someone else who may be the mastermind to kill Chev once and for all.

However, the film suffers from one major and brutal flaw that makes one wonder what Neveldine and Taylor were thinking. When Chev eventually catches up to Vang, the fight amongst power lines and the fight between literally turns into something that came out of a triple cross of Power Rangers, Godzilla, and Hitoshi Matsumoto’s Big Man Japan. This was perhaps the most whacked out sequence of the film and it absolutely throws away some of the credibility of the film.

Of course, like its predecessor, there may be a set up for a potential third film in the series, but after seeing this, let’s hope that is truly not the case. While it is another wild ride, Crank: High Voltage does have some major flaws and it may make some hope that should there be a Crank 3, make it more in the vein of the original in terms of action and not do anything on the border of absolute fodder.

WFG RATING: C

Lionsgate Films present a Lakeshore Entertainment production in association with RadicalMedia and GreeneStreet Films. Directors: Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor. Producers: Skip Williamson, Richard S. Wright, Gary Lucchesi, and Tom Rosenberg. Writers:  Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor. Cinematography: Brandon Trost. Editing: Marc Jakubowicz and Fernando Villena.

Cast: Jason Statham, Amy Smart, Efren Ramirez, Dwight Yoakam, Julanne Chidi Hill, Jose Pablo Cantillo, Reno Wilson, Keone Young, Art Hsu, David Carradine, Corey Haim, Bai Ling, Geri Horner, Clifton Collins Jr.

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