Retro Review: Crank 2 – High Voltage

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Crank 2 is one giant f*ck you to conventional cinema.

Never burdening itself with things like depth, logic or believability – the movie is both a celebration, and a satire of the reckless, and shallow MTV generation.

Directors Neveldin/Taylor and star Jason Statham deliver a  gloriously violent, testosterone-fuelled marathon of  profanity,guns and balls to the wall mayhem. It’s rude, crude, and gloriously juvenile, and the most fun I have had watching a movie in a long time.

The plot is so ridiculous that I wont bother going into too much detail – but in a nutshell –  after miraculously surviving his apparent death at the end of the first picture – our hero Chev Chelios`s heart has been stolen by Chinese triads, and has been replaced with an artificial one. Chelios must keep himself topped-up with electricity to stay a live long enough to wreak vengeance on those responsible, and get his heart back. Ridiculous I know, but it is not the story that is important here.

The movie does not take itself seriously – not even for a second. The world of Crank 2 is more akin to a live action cartoon, than reality – and is all the better for it!  It has an entirely unique directorial style that is both wildly inventive, exciting and bursting at the seams with originality. The directors hand-held camera work is the cinematic equivalent of a bulldozer – tearing its way through its 90 minute runtime with as much frantic energy and determination as its hero.

The movie has a bohemian feel to its story – as thought the directors were making it up as they went along – but boy does it work! Even the craziest moments (like the hilarious Godzilla parody) feel entirely organic to its narrative. 

Jason Statham was born to play the part of tough as nails Chev Chelios. Chelios is the unholy communion of Clint Eastwood and Ray Winstone, all rolled-up into one tough, balding anti hero.The actor knows exactly what kind of movie he is in, and revels in it. Rash, crass and a fondness for the C-word – Statham is joy to watch. His co-star Amy Smart is cute, and in on the joke too – throwing herself into the role just as much Statham.

My only minor criticism would be that this is very much a movie for men. It panders exclusively to everything your average male would enjoy – brutal action, gross out comedy, video games, sexy ladies etc.  The film makes you both proud, and a little embarrassed to be a man. So much so that I could potentially see it offending some members of the opposite sex – it is slightly misogynistic at times.

That a side – Crank 2 is certainly a hard film to critique, because it is more a parody, than a straight up action movie. It comically lampoons the clichés and conventions that our damaged generation – with its short attention spans, and indifference to sex and violence – have unknowingly become accustom to. Thus turning its negatives – such as it lack of character and plot – into its strongest assets. Not having these things is the very point of Crank 2! 

I will proudly admit that I loved every second of this movie. Crank 2 is far superior to the first in almost every way. The non stop pace, and barrage of insane characters and set pieces will leave you both shocked, and in awe of its hilarious outrageousness. In my opinion – a modern action classic, that is a little smarter than it would like you to believe.

8/10

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3 Responses to “Retro Review: Crank 2 – High Voltage”

  1. Danjo Kazooe Says:

    Something has just occured to me – Crank 2 has perfomances from both the recently deceased Corey Haim and David Carradine! Both died from sinful excess – which is very much the bread and butter of the movie.

    …just my little observation there.

  2. James Says:

    Is it being unconventional as a film? Is it not being absurdly conventional? Crank 2 takes the bread and butter conventions of modern cinema and…cranks….them up. Hero gets away from a firefight, gets the girl, deals with the bad guy, does the impossible etc etc. Crank is holding up a mirror to the ‘Bad Boys’ of this world and asking ‘do you see?’.

    As with any satire or paraody it exaggerates its point for effect, but ultimately what is viewed as absurd in Crank is accepted in other films – which is of course Cranks theme – a desensitised generation feeding on violence

  3. Danjo Kazooe Says:

    I stand by my use of the term – unconventional – in my review.

    To me, a convention movie is one that (at least) attempts to have an interesting and layered story, fully developed characters and well crafted dialogue. They may not always succeed, but that is the film makers end game.

    Crank 2 purposely tries NOT to do this, hence why I call it unconventional.

    I guess it all comes down to how you personally define a conventional movie.

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