Starring: Jason Statham, Amy Smart, Dwight Yoakum
Directed by: Mark Neveldine (“Crank”) and Brian Taylor (“Brian”)
Written by: Mark Neveldine (“Crank”) and Brian Taylor (“Brian”)
In the final scene of the high-impact sequel “Crank: High Voltage,” action star Jason Statham – all bloodied and bruised and flaking away from the fire that has engulfed his broken-down body – looks straight into the camera and shoots his middle finger up in the air to reinforce his badass-ness.
It’s almost like an “f-you” to the audience, actually. “F-you” for sitting through the cinematic equivalent to someone with a neuropsychiatric disorder dropping acid, and “f-you” to anyone walking out of this thing not thinking it’s his best work to date.
Reprising his role as Chev Chelios, Statham, who has made a career out of dingy action flicks with the exception of the more intelligent “Bank Job” last year, starts where he left off from the original 2006 movie. If you don’t recall, at the end of the first one, Chev falls to his presumable death from a helicopter. Before the credits start rolling, however, you hear a faint heartbeat letting you know that a second “Crank” was probably on the horizon all along. Chev, of course, is not dead. He is whisked away into a van by surviving members of the Chinese mob and undergoes underground open heart surgery.
His own heart, which is to be implanted into an old Chinese mobster, is replaced with an artificial one fit with a battery pack to keep him alive. When Chev escapes his medical lair, a makeshift hospital where doctors are to harvest the rest of his organs, he sets off to find his real heart before he flatlines.
If you’re anticipating brainlessness for a quick 96 minutes of empty fun, you’ll be satisfied with the way the first 20 minutes play out as Chev goes ballistic on everyone he sees. This includes a scene where he sticks a shotgun barrel up the butt of a cholo. He also has time to reconnects with his girl Eve (Amy Smart) at a local strip club, meets Venus (Efren Ramirez), the twin brother of now-deceased Kaylo (also played by Ramirez) from the original, and keeps his buddy Doc (Dwight Yoakum) updated on his heart condition via cell phone.
“If you can get a hold of your heart,” Doc tells him, “I’m reasonably sure I can put it back in for you.” Is there any better reason to continue with this charade?
There’s no room for reality in “Crank: High Voltage,” and that’s what keeps it pumping for the first few scenes. However, the film turns into a check list of ways Chev can keep his heart pumping (i.e. sex on a horseracing track, jumper cables on his nipples) before the bad guys enter in for another beat down. If you’re down with Statham’s previous line of work, you’ll more than likely be pleased with “High Voltage.” Everyone else probably would get more of a jolt sticking any appendage in a wall socket.