Crank: High Voltage – it’s all about the pacing!
Chev Chelios (Jason Statham) faces a Chinese mobster who has stolen his nearly indestructible heart and replaced it with a battery-powered ticker that requires regular jolts of electricity to keep working.Critique: Let’s not lie. The Crank films are not for everyone. In fact you have to leave your common sense in the lobby of the cinema before you watch them. The last film ended with Chelios falling from a helicopter to his death and inexplicably (in the sequel) he is brought back to life long enough for his heart to be stolen. It is this plot device that slows the beginning of the film somewhat (in comparison to the original). You have to sit there and wait whilst Statham’s character regains consciousness and escapes. Once he does so, he carries on like a nutter with a gun and rampages his way through the city in an attempt to find his heart (since his replacement needs a good sharp charge every once in a while). This is somewhat different to the first film as Chelios’s anger was originally reasoned because of his need to keep his adrenaline pumping. No doubt that if someone stole my heart, I’d be a little miffed. However instead of having a range of innovative ways of charging himself, he sticks with a few considerably normal ways (grabbing electricity pylons etc). Sadly (and unnecessarily) he seems to hallucinate whenever he gets these electricity "hits". I’ll admit that trying to create static electricity by rubbing up against an old lady in a Zimmer frame is somewhat amusing, but this scene was shown over and over again in the trailers of the film. The Crank films are all about pace and unfortunately with pace comes shaky cam! Sadly, this amount of shaky cam is only best for the hardened first-person-shooter gamer. As for the rest of us it is likely to cause nausea. I applaud the filmmakers for using standard cameras for making the film but if it is too uncomfortable to watch, then it is likely to scare a great deal of people from it. Whilst watching Crank: High Voltage, I find myself thinking that Amy Smart (whose character has had a major change in 3 months) being molested by another stripper whilst Statham’s character is using a tazor on his crotch is perhaps something I shouldn’t be laughing at. There is something inherently wrong with it and yet somehow this insanity is something the Crank series does best. Unfortunately Crank: High Voltage is let down by its ending. Somehow, after 96 minutes of Crank 2 powering along like nobody’s business it comes to an abrupt and unsatisfying halt. All problems are solved with relative ease and flimsy resolutions and you are left wondering why the filmmakers finished the tale at that point. It becomes clear that they did so as they wanted to continue the series at a later date (and perhaps with a different actor – although I hope not). The film is riddled with cameos including Geri Halliwell of Spice Girl fame (in an unnecessary flashback as Chelios's mother), the quite brilliant scene involving Lauren Holly as a psychiatrist and a few adult entertainment stars who are staging a protest (look out for the legendary Ron Jeremy). With the exception of Lauren Holly's participation, the rest of the cameos seem to unnecessarily disjoint the pace of the film and would have been better being omitted from the final cut. Conclusion: Crank: High Voltage was an attempt to continue the insanely fast ride that is Chev Chelios’s life. To some extent this was successful but it lacked direction in areas. The plot device; being Chelios’s heart being replaced with an artificial one and needing regular charging; was not as satisfying as the need for continually high adrenaline levels (from the first film). It is likely to offend many people and will be lacking for others. However, as long as you are not expecting sensible dialogue and an understandable plot and will accept that every single character on screen swears more than your drunkard uncle on Christmas Day (after having seven drinks too many), then you’ll have a good time. I enjoyed Crank: High Voltage. I was only really disappointed with the final act. Rating: 3.5 out of 5