Friday, November 13, 2009

No Real Sparks in Crank 2

Bouncing, careening and ricocheting off the shelves of the L.A. Library system.

Crank 2: High Voltage (2009)

Chev Chelios (Jason Statham) survived his mile-long fall from a plane in Crank 1 and is kidnapped by Chinese mobsters who plan on harvesting all his organs for their aging mob boss. They start with Chelios' heart (giving him an artificial heart to keep him alive), but before they can take anything else, Chev comes to and starts killing everyone around him in his quest to get back his pumper. Every so often (when the plot requires it) he has to "jump start" the battery powering his heart. Hilarity ensues.

That's the whole movie and it's an absolute waste of time. Writer/directors Neveldine/Taylor have zoomed past the frantic antics of Crank 1 and gone right into the surreal and downright silly. They've gone from cartoonish to cartoon.

Watching this movie made me feel like I was on drugs. The vast majority of the film is shot with a very wide angle lens (the type that bends the image on the right and left sides) which was really annoying; it's right up there with Battlefield: Earth's using "dutch tilts" for every shot. I felt like I was in a video game, like Grand Theft Auto. That is NOT a compliment.

Chev Chelios roughs up anyone and everyone, when he's not killing them. Well, they're all gangstas and low-lifes so they deserve to die, don't they? There's a scene where an innocent bystander from Crank 1, who Chev had temporarily taken hostage, is seeing a shrink. (Of course for this movie, the shrink is a very busty woman, with a lot of cleavage showing.) He makes a breakthrough and exclaims that he's finally ready to start living his life, when a stray bullet from one of Chev's gun battles comes flying through the window and splatters his brains all over the wall. FUN-NEE.

Neveldine/Taylor do whatever they want in this movie. There are no rules. Graphics are thrown up on screen a couple times (as when a guy tells Chelios he has "Full Body Tourettes"). A man slowly and painfully cuts off his own nipples to atone for his failure to nab Chelios (in a scene that could have been in a Scorsese-like crime drama). Chinese actress/celebutant Bai Ling, playing a very stereotypical asian whore, has subtitles for her English dialogue (but no one else needs it). There's a hallucinatory dream-like sequence (it looks like a demo for Adobe After Effects). And of course Chev had to bang his lady love Eve (Amy Smart) in public once again (at the Hollywood Park racetrack, no less). The movie has the frantic, frenetic photography and editing of the love child of Sam Raimi, Robert Rodriguez and Tony Scott when he did Domino. A lot of it felt like film school kids just fooling around.

The one thing this movie showed me is that Jason Statham would be perfect for a remake of Airplane (not that I want them to remake that classic). He is just SO damn serious. I'd like to see him try comedy (one where he's not sticking shotguns up gangbanger's sphincters).

This movie is only for juvenile minds, addled by long term violent video game play and the constant screech of its guitar rock soundtrack. I am not one of those people.


  1. I actually liked it, after all the beginning 5 seconds is so outrageous (his surviving a mile high fall) the writers seem to have felt that gave them free range for anything after.
    It would have been a worse movie if they tried to play it serious after the words Crank II

  2. We can respectfully disagree on this one.

    Thanks so much for your comments and for reading my review.