Chev Chelios (Jason Statham) is back and this time the stakes are, well not exactly higher, just more highly charged. He’s still trying not to die, and doing a pretty good job of it. In Crank Chev was injected with a fatal poison which would kill him if his adrenaline stopped pumping. The movie ended with Chev splattered on a sidewalk after a mile high fall from a helicopter. He wasn’t dead, and we’re all the better for it.
Crank: High Voltage finds Chev on an operating table. Somehow he survived the fall (who cares how) and he’s been patched up by the Triads. Not because they love him, but because they plan to harvest his organs. After all he’s survived, they assume this guy must have some pretty good stuff in his chest. They’ve taken out his massive, indestructible heart and replaced it with an electric pump, meant to keep him alive while they rip the rest of his stuff out. When Chev wakes up they’re about to start on his cock, and for him that’s one organ too much. He’s off the operating table and out to get back his heart by killing everyone and everything between him and his most vital of organ. To keep going, he’ll need frequent electric charges, lest the mechanical heart stuck in his chest stop pumping.
This sets up more insanity of the same type seen in the last movie. Chev engages in a wild orgy of killing and sex, starts to run out of juice, does something completely and wonderfully insane to recharge himself, and then returns to the orgy of gore and violence. His journey takes him everywhere from strip clubs to horse tracks. In one of those places he kills everyone and in the other one he has wild ass naked, public sex. Guess which one is which. You’re wrong. You’ll either love it or you’ll hate it and if you hate it you’re not the kind of person who’s fun at parties.
Crank: High Voltage is, like Crank before it, a celebration of the most ludicrous and over the top filmmaking possible. In another era it would have been a grindhouse film, relegated to sleezy, dirty movie theaters in back allies where people slink in for bullets, tits (sometimes exploding tits), foul language and the bashing of heads. It’s somewhat amazing that a movie like this can exist in this day and age, and maybe even more amazing that they’ve somehow slipped it past the MPAA with an R-rating.
It works as wonderfully as it does, primarily because Statham is so perfect, glaring menacingly into the camera and intimidating even the scenery as he struts down the street dealing out indiscriminate, amped up violence. If it’s not as good as the first one, it’s only perhaps because it’s a bit too indiscriminate. As over the top as the original movie was, this one is positively spastic and at times it becomes so random that it veers dangerously close to becoming a collection of cut scenes rather than a movie.
Still, it’s hard to complain when you’re drowning in turrets afflicted, tranny hookers and re-animated severed heads. High Voltage is high octane madness, a brutish, skull crushing wet dream packed with more what the fuck just happened moments than you’ll get in any other film you’re likely to see all year. Writer/directors Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor push their movie to the limit and beyond, without regard for restraint or basic standards of common decency. It starts with a man’s heart being ripped out and ends with a flaming, burning middle finger to the camera. Crank: High Voltage promises something outrageous and then over-delivers, permanently deflowering and deforming the mind of anyone lucky enough to be in the audience. Fuck you Chelios for being so awesome.