Saturday, April 18, 2009

Review - Crank: High Voltage

Last time we saw Chev Chelios, he was falling out of a helicopter to what seemed to be certain death. Upon impact however, Chev is instantly scooped up by the asian mafia who still have plans for battered man. The mafia removes his indestructible heart only to replace it with a electric heart that requires constant jolts of energy in order to keep Chev alive. With a limited amount of power and time, Chev must race against the clock to find his heart and seek revenge on anyone who gets in his way.

"Crank High Voltage" is a super-charged, action packed extravaganza that tickles the senses and ignites laughter throughout the implausable but, ridiculously fun filled movie. It should be noted, "Crank High Voltage" does not take itself seriously and neither should you. The film is meant to be absolutely inconcievable. The enjoyment comes from the imagination and creation of all the outlandish things Chev Chelios finds himself doing to stay alive and the thrill and excitement is seeing directors Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor pull it off in almost unblemished fashion.

One of the big joy's of "Crank High Voltage" is that it picks up right where Crank left off and instantly pulls the viewer right back into the story of Chev Chelios. The viewer is quickly inidated with the reality that Chev is alive and the gangsters are not finished with him yet. Chev doesn't hold back either, as soon as he realizes what is it stake, he begins an outrageous warpath to retrieve his heart. Watching Chev along his dubious adventure is completely engaging and keeps the viewer wondering just what will come next. I won't spoil too many of the gags, but one of Chev's first victims is questioned with a shotgun up his rear end, and it only gets better and more crazy from there. Strippers, hookers, old ladies, cops, gangsters, cholos, mafioso's and anybody that gets in Chev's way may find themselves apart of the unexplainable events that occur when Chev Chelios is around.

The entire cast of "Crank High Voltage" is great. Jason Statham is an ultimate badass, I will watch anything he makes and Chelios is definately one of his better recurring characters. Amy Smart is given alot more to do this time around as Eve and she's shows off her stripping skills as well as, her ability to kick some major ass. I got a huge kick out of watching Amy Smart lay a major beat down on Randy, played by Corey Haim. Haim is also hiliarious in his minor role. Ling Bai is one of the funnier characters in "Crank High Voltage" as Ria, an asian whore who has taken a liking to Chev. Efren Ramriez returns for revenge as Venus, Kaylo's also gay twin brother who actually, ends up being a much better character then Ramirez's role in the first Crank film. Dwight Yoakam also returns from the original film as Doc Miles, and delivers some side splitting laughs while he councils Chev on how to stay alive with his new heart. Clifton Collins Jr. provides a nice spark as the Mexican drug lord El Huron or The Ferrit, as does David Carradine as the Asian crime lord named Poon Dong. Both characters are absolutely ridiculous and brilliantly played by Collins Jr. and Carradine.

In any movie that is so over-the-top like the Crank series, you run the risk of just going too far, and in "Crank High Voltage" there is one scene inparticular that just plain sucked. The scene features Chev fighting Johnny Vang except, the two are fighting in the style of Japanese Mega Monster films like Godzilla. Images of this scene were released in July of last year and I was a bit skeptical about them then, but now after seeing the finished scene, I absolutely hated it. It was not well executed, it felt absolutely misplaced so much so it took the viewer completely out of the film, it went on too long and it was the one major disappointment within the 96 minute film. That said, the minute the scene was over "Crank High Voltage" was able to pick itself up and dust off and get right back to high energy action, comedy and violence that Crank is known for.

Overall, I had an blast with "Crank High Voltage," it was well worth the money and it entertained throughout. I came out with a huge smile on my face from ear to ear and as I reflected on the mind-numbing fun, I was reminded of mainly great memories. Despite my one major gripe with the film, it moved at a break neck speed and was well executed by directors Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor. All of the electricity gags were great minus, the previously covered Mega Monster Battle. The co-directors were able to create a story that was just as entertaining and thrilling as the first Crank with a few moments or gags that surpassed their predecessor. A perfect example is Chev and Eve's sexual escapade at Hollywood Park, which is alot funnier than the bus stop romp in Crank. The film is highy rewatchable and will definately become part of my collection and let's just say that this won't be the last you'll see of Chev Chelios. On a final note, "Crank High Voltage" is meant to sit back, munch some popcorn and allow the movie to unfold no matter how absurd it seems. It is not a film to become hyper-critical of or you face ruining the experience.