Ah Crank. The baffling, chaotic bash from 2006 starring Jason Statham as Chev Chelios, a hitman poisoned with a drug that requires adrenaline levels to be kept high, creating a film that I described watching in “dazed amazement”. Given Crank’s ending no one expected a sequel, but the news of Crank: High Voltage certainly sparked excitement for cinemafool. Geddit? “High voltage - sparked”? I’m so clever…
Anyway, in this instalment our Chev has only gone and had his heart stolen and replaced with a mechanical version with a slowly dying battery. Of course. Along the same lines as the first, Chev must stalk the streets in search of the culprits, all the while performing increasingly insane stunts in order to keep his heart ticking. There are some that say Crank is highly unbelievable. To them I smack my forehead and say “well duurrr”. Even the film itself refers to the plot of its predecessor as “highly implausible”.
Crank is the computer game that never was, the resultant nightmare of a teenage boy with attention deficit disorder after gorging on a diet of sherbert, fizzy drinks and Grand Theft Auto. Don’t have Crank 2 on imax screens – you will cause mass eye haemorrhaging. The directing duo of Neveldine and Taylor, responsible for the first instalment, go all out once more, battering your senses with fast edits, booming soundtrack, random imagery, gore, guns, and a heck of a lot of boobs.
If it didn’t openly mock itself or so closely mirror itself to computer games (check out the first-person style shooter shots at the start) then this would be a horrific ball of shit, with a repulsive attitude towards women, gross stereotyping of most races and careless glamorisation of violence. But Crank has its tongue in its cheek, not enough to be a straight spoof, but enough to make everything a good giggle instead of appalling trash. Statham delivers with a straight face, even when wearing an electric dog collar or rubbing up to a granny.
There are so many little touches to the film – the “9 seconds later” cut scene, Statham’s “chicken and broccoli” quip after killing some Chinese men, the nonsensical Godzilla-esque fight – that it would stand repeat viewings despite a paper thin plot that spirals into, um, a reanimated head (seriously).
If you don’t approach this with the right attitude, you’ll probably be offended within five minutes or have some sort of seizure at the vibrant opening credits. But take Crank how it’s intended – an insane discharge of entertaining nonsense – and you’ll no doubt love it. It lacks the unexpected charm of the original, but still gains a nice CF0. I can’t wait to see what the new Crank / Transporter vehicle will be for Statham. Here’s hoping it involves more flapping hospital gowns.