Crank 2: High Voltage

crank2-rev Crank 2: High Voltage  (2009)    Lionsgate/Action    RT: 96 minutes    Rated R (frenetic strong bloody violence throughout, crude and graphic sexual content, nudity, pervasive language)    Director: Neveldine/Taylor    Screenplay: Neveldine/Taylor    Music: Mike Patton    Cinematography: Brandon Trost    Release date: April 17, 2009 (US)    Cast: Jason Statham, Amy Smart, Bai Ling, Clifton Collins Jr., Efren Ramirez, Dwight Yoakam, Art Hsu, Joseph Julian Soria, David Carradine, Reno Wilson, Julanne Chidi Hill, Corey Haim, Yeva Genevieve Lavlinski, Geri Halliwell, Billy Unger, Glenn Howerton, Lauren Holly, Lloyd Kaufman, Ron Jeremy.    Box Office: $13.6 million (US)/$34.5 million (World)


 The bloody insanity continues in Crank 2: High Voltage, the even more over the top sequel to the zany 2006 actioner starring that bad ass Brit Jason Statham (The Transporter) as Chev Chelios, the hitman keeping himself alive while avenging his own murder. He may have succeeded in his mission but his ordeal is far from over. This time, somebody has stolen his heart and I don’t mean some hot chick with a smoking bod. Somebody has literally stolen his heart and naturally, he wants it back. Can’t say I blame him; I’d be perturbed too if somebody nicked the most vital organ in my body.

 crank2Crank 2: High Voltage picks right up where the last one left off, with Chev lying in the middle of a busy intersection after falling thousands of feet from a helicopter. Seconds later, a black van pulls up, the Chinese occupants jump out, scoop him up with a snow shovel and drive off. Surprisingly, he’s not dead yet which is good or bad news depending on which side of the scalpel you’re on. He’s taken to a makeshift hospital where his heart is removed and replaced with a plastic artificial one powered by a yellow battery pack. He wakes up and escapes after learning the location of Johnny Vang (Hsu, The Girl from the Naked Eye), a young gangster carrying a red cooler that might (or might not) contain Chev’s missing heart. Once again, there’s a time constraint. Once that yellow box stops working, Chev has maybe an hour until his fake heart gives out and he dies. He has to constantly keep it charged, a feat he accomplishes with a variety of instruments including police tasers, jumper cables (yes, he says “Juice me” again) and high-voltage live wires.

 As if Chev didn’t have enough problems already, a tattooed punk named Chico (Soria, The Purge: Election Year) is looking for him under the orders of a crime boss known only as “The Ferret” (Collins, The Replacement Killers). While on the trail of his purloined pumper, Chev picks up an unwanted companion in the form of Ria (Ling, The Crow), an Asian hooker who can help him find Vang. What she wants in return is something Chev is unwilling to give. Speaking of which, he finds his girlfriend Eve (Smart, Road Trip) working as a stripper at the club Ria sends him to. Together, they chase Vang all over L.A. while Chico tries to take down Chev.

 Crank 2: High Voltage is one wild ass ride! Efren Ramirez (Napoleon Dynamite) returns, this time as Venus, vengeful brother of Kaylo from the first movie. He wants revenge and won’t let anything stop him, not even the FBT (Full Body Tourette’s) that sends him into sudden uncontrollable muscular fits at the worst times. Dwight Yoakam also returns as helpful Doc Miles who helps him locate his “strawberry tart” while dispensing useful medical advice. Well, useful in his particular situation. Former teen heartthrob Corey Haim, in one of his final roles, plays strip club owner Randy who’s also looking to cash in on the reward being offered by The Ferret for delivering Chev. Former Spice Girl Geri Halliwell plays Chev’s mother in a funny flashback sequence. However, the supporting performance that steals the show comes from David Carradine (his last movie to be released prior to his death that June) as 100-year-old Triad leader Poon Dong. It’s okay, it’s so silly a role it’s not even a little bit offensive.

 The action scenes in Crank 2: High Voltage are more hyper than those in the first movie. The sequel basically takes everything to the next level. It succeeds in outdoing its predecessor. The climactic shootout is especially cool. Quite a number of gun-toting folks (e.g. gay bikers, hookers) show up just in the nick of time to save Chev. Props to returning writer-directors Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor for working in a tribute to the timeless 1962 horror-sci-fi classic The Brain That Wouldn’t Die. There’s also another sex-in-public scene, this time at a horse track in front of a cheering crowd while “Heard It in a Love Song” (Marshall Tucker Band) plays on the soundtrack. The sight of Statham waving a cowboy hat while he “rides” Eve is hysterical. “F—k you, Chelios!” is repeated so often, it becomes a joke.

 There’s more violence and gore in Crank 2: High Voltage, something that pleases my inner gorehound. There are many shootings, stabbings and beatings. Somebody gets hit by a car. Somebody is assaulted with a bicycle. A man is shown with his intestines hanging out. Another man has the barrel of a shotgun rammed right up his ass. There’s plenty of blood splatter. There’s also a particularly gruesome shocking near the end that leaves the victim in flames. WOW, is this one ever violent! It’s all in fun though. Crank 2: High Voltage is a modern-day grindhouse flick with better production values. It’s funny, action-filled and totally insane! Like the first movie, the plot is completely idiotic. In fact, this one is more idiotic. But boy, is it ever fun! It’s another one to watch with your brain in OFF mode. Watch both as a double feature; it makes for a great Saturday night at home. 

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