Directed by: Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor
Premise: A follow up to the 2006 film. Picking up exactly where the first film ended, former mob hit man Chev Chelios (Jason Statham) awakes from a coma to discover that his heart has been taken out and given to a dying mobster, and he is being kept alive with a short-term artificial heart. Chelios goes on another citywide rampage to discover who has his organic heart while keeping his artificial heart charged with electrical shocks.
What Works: The original Crank was a fun guilty pleasure that seemed to take pride in breaking every possible rule of propriety. The sequel is double that with even more outlandish sequences.
What Doesn’t: The trouble with Crank: High Voltage is that the scenarios are largely recycled from the previous film, just done bigger and more outrageous. This takes away from the audaciousness that made the original so much fun. Aside from the familiarity of many scenes, there is also a credibility problem. In its own Wile E. Coyote-way, the original Crank made sense; it was Roadrunner cartoon for grown ups. High Voltage is certainly that but it is unable to maintain that same delicate sense of reality. The film also lacks a clear goal; we know that Chelios needs to get his heart back but his journey to do so lacks a sense of purpose or direction and gets caught up in tangents. Because so much is recycled and without a dramatic cause, the film lacks a sense of urgency and can’t keep the energy up, which is dependent to keep the film from collapsing under its own absurdity.
Bottom Line: Crank: High Voltage is rather disappointing in an odd way. The film is certainly audacious but it is not as fun. Where the original film was like the high of a first time user, the follow up is a junky strung out on its own self-destructive tendencies.
Episode: #240 (May 24, 2009)