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Stupidity Overload: Crank 2 review


Crank 2: High Voltage

It's time to press the start button again for Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor's ode to video game pandemonium in “Crank 2: High Voltage.”

Chev Chelios (Jason Straham) gets to hit continue, back from a temporary brush with death after falling from a helicopter onto the top of a car in the first movie. This time, instead of being poisoned, Chelios has his seemingly indestructible heart surgically removed by the Chinese Triad mafia. In order to avoid fatality, Chev needs to charge the artificial pump placed inside him to recover what he refers to as his "f#*?ing strawberry tart".

Each stage has Chelios fighting Chinese crime lords, Mexican gangsters, and cops from whorehouses, strip clubs, all the way to the inside of a limousine. Of course, there are plenty of absurd, borderline ridiculous antics Chev goes through to get his pumper pumping (personally, Red Bull might have sufficed).

A couple of Chev's friends return in this sequel, including Doc Miles (Dwight Yoakam), who still remains fascinated by Chelios' uncanny ability to avoid death, and Eve (Amy Smart), Chev's beauty queen and consensual public sex offender, bless her heart. Returning is Efren"Vote for Pedro"Ramirez, this time as Venus, the twin brother of slained cross-dresser Kaylo. Rounding out the cast are Bai Ling as Ria, a prostitute ready go “me love you long time" on Chelios, Art Hsu as Johnny Vang, the guys carrying around Chelios' heart, and the very cool character actor Clifton Collins Jr. as El Huron, or The Ferret, the Mexican Crime boss who has it in for Chelios.

I wasn't fond of “Crank” the first time I saw it, and the film's wobbly camera shots and frantic editing would have tried my patience if not for the relatively tolerable 90-minute running time. However, I gave the Neveldine/Taylor duo props for having brass ones by killing their star and giving this overloaded heap some dignity. I even can take this film in small doses whenever it gets shown on cable, which plays with the video game concept the team went for, the ability to pause and go in “Crank” whenever and wherever you want to pick it up.

However, with “Crank 2,” a word like dignity has no meaning or value, and maybe that's the way it should be for this series. The characters are sternly amoral (with maybe Venus the exception since he is motivated by the death of his brother) and stereotypical in a sophomoric, old dull joke way. Even in this type of low-brow film it would be OK for the characters to be fleshed out since it may add a bit of attention span to a movie already full of shaky camerawork and abrupt cuts.

Perhaps I would have a deeper appreciation for this film if I was 6, or maybe I'm the one who should go "crank" myself, since to look for just a drop of substance in “Crank 2” is harder than trying to knock out Tyson in the old Punch out (yeah, I suck at video games!).

Jason Straham, for his end, can officially be awarded the Steven Segal B-movie King award for his lack of good movie choices. Unlike Segal or Van Damme (except in JCVD, he's great in it), or Don "The Dragon" Wilson, or Mark Dacascos, or Jeff Speakman, or OK, I being annoying, Straham is a good actor with A-List charisma and talent.

His roles in “Snatch,” “Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels,” “Mean Machine,” the so-so “London,” and the recent “The Bank Job” proves his versatility. But he continues to drown into mediocrity with sequels to decent movies where one film was enough (“Crank,” “The Transporter”), not to mention his involvement with Uwe Boll's “In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale.” Unless you need a quick paycheck or your career is a farce, there is no need to ever be a part of a Uwe Boll film. Then again, painful for me to say, maybe Straham might qualify for the latter after all.


Official website:

Crank 2: High Voltage


Directed by: Brian Taylor/Mark Neveldine
Written by: Brian Taylor/Mark Neveldine
Cast: Jason Statham,Amy Smart,Dwight Yoakam

Source of the Bitter: John Rojas

Comments, rants and other stuffs below
Que on Tue, 09/22/2009 - 2:09am

kinda wonder what is Amy Smart doing with that movie. is she really that desperate for parts? I always thought that she has potential but taking on roles like this isn't really that 'Smart'.

JAS on Mon, 09/21/2009 - 8:04pm

THis film was fine with the first one. Not amazing, but entertaining. However, if there is even the tiniest bit of profit then 30 sequels and spin-offs are sure to follow.

Transporter was a decent enough flick, but when they made two sequels and didn't have any character development for his Statham's character I transported my ass out of thinking, even in the slightest, that the movies were worth crap.

Statham is quickly becoming a hack. Good job on screwing yourself, man.

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