Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Crank 2: High Voltage



Somewhere along the movie, Jason Statham's Chev Chelios attaches one claw of a jumper cable to his right nipple, and another to his tongue. With the other end of the cables juiced by a car's running engine, Chelios jump-starts his supplementary heart so he may continue his manic run of mayhem across the city. As with most genre films, you need to have an appetite for this kind of over-the-top action and politically-incorrect chauvinism that the Crank movies are all about. Either this movie is for you, or it isn't. There is no middle-ground.

After the events of Crank, Chev Chelios finds himself on the operating table. The Triads' doctors intend to harvest Chelios' body for its powerful organs. But they only get as far as his superhuman heart when he wakes up, much to the doctors' bad luck. He eventually finds out that he has been given an artificial heart that requires regular recharging to keep him going -- this until he can get his own heart back. And so starts his run of carnal mayhem across Los Angeles as, desperate to get his heart back, Chev Chelios does more of everything he did in his first outing. He even entertains a bigger audience for his open-air copulating act, this time in the middle of a race-track.

Jason Statham as Chev Chelios is a minor iconic figure. And not unlike Vin Diesel's Riddick or Brad Pitt's Tyler Durden, it becomes impossible to visualize Chev Chelios distinct from Statham. He stares menacingly, never smiles and walks faster than most people run. An anti-hero, he goes through goons, guns and girl(s) with his singular will to survive -- this extreme form of survival instinct making him less human, yet more man.

Nevaldine and Taylor are not only quite entertaining in the stylish way they've made this movie, they are also very creative in coming up with scene after scene of absurdity that only aim at not giving fans of this new "breathless" genre enough time to process the details of what is happening on-screen. The zaniness of Crank 2 can only be enjoyed at face value -- Chev Chelios has a "Jump First, Look Later" attitude, something that can hardly be described as the workings of a smart guy. Relentlessly and intentionally anti-feminist, Crank 2 is squarely aimed at the male audience, those that can take excess and over-the-top chauvinism as pushing absurd to the point of funny. When Robert Rodriguez or Quentin Tarantino made their tribute films to the B-grade genre movies of 70s and 80s, they were only trying to do that which comes to Nevaldine and Taylor naturally.

My rating --> 3 of 5

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