Statham ‘Cranks’ Up the Action

Courtesy of Lions Gate Films

Courtesy of Lions Gate Films
Jason Statham proves his worth as an action star in the “Crank” sequel.

Fans of the first “Crank” movie will not be disappointed with “Crank: High Voltage” in the least. They might actually pose the question: “Is this movie the second part to ‘Crank’?” In so many words: Yes, it is. “Crank: High Voltage” is full of the same qualities that made “Crank” popular. In fact, the film actually picks up at the exact second that the first film ended.

The opening seconds of the film show Chev Chelios’s (Jason Statham) freefalling from the sky that closed out the first film. As soon as Chelios hits the pavement, he is picked up by Triad gang members and taken to a building, where he has his heart removed. Chelios is brought back to life and has an artificial heart put in him. In order to keep his heart going, he must apply an electric shock to himself to keep the heart charged. He finds some interesting ways to consume electricity, such as rubbing up against people for static electricity. Chelios goes after his real heart and encounters Triad gang members, South American mobsters and numerous police officers.

Since “Crank: High Voltage” picks up exactly where the first film left off, retaining its “real-time” feel, characters who weren’t killed in the first movie (there are some exceptions) reprise their roles. Amy Smart returns as Chev’s girlfriend, Eve. She is a tougher and sexier version of the character from the first film. Dwight Yoakam is back as Doc Miles, who stays busy trying to keep Chelios alive. Clifton Collins, Jr. plays the South American mob boss El Huron, aka the pharrat, while former child actor Corey Haim and porn star Ron Jeremy make cameos in the movie as well. Bai Ling has a memorable performance as her character Rita, who is overly emotional and always in the wrong place at the wrong time.

“Crank: High Voltage” is extremely fast-paced and there is a lot of material to digest in the hour and 25 minutes that the film lasts. Every 10 seconds, hitman Chelios is engaged in some intense battle where the odds appear not to be in his favor. The only other film that can stand in the same league with the small destruction per time ratio in “Crank: High Voltage” is the recently released film, “Taken,” which is still far off base. Chelios kills numerous Triad gang members in the first 10 minutes of the film, and he has been dead for five of those minutes.

The cinematography matches the movie’s short length in more than one way. The movie cuts are quick and sync up well during the action scenes. In a strip bar shootout scene, the cuts come on almost every shot fired. There are also numerous non-diegetic shots and inserts that are funny and educational. One insert flashes back to a young Chelios as the audience learns about some reasons for his volatile personality. A jerky steady camera that turns up-side down and twists truly captures the chaos and mayhem Chelios creates in one day in Los Angeles. There are no simple camera shots in this film.

A large majority of people who go to see “Crank: High Voltage” are most likeyl going for the content. They want to see, like in “Crank,” how much destruction (and in what fashion) Chelios can deal out. Let’s face the facts; this film will not be up for any Academy Awards. The audience will get its thrills from seeing Chelios attack a whole house of Triads with nothing but his hands. They will laugh and applaud as Chelios, once again, publicly displays his love for his girlfriend. The action and thrills are all there.

After it’s all over, “Crank: High Voltage” is nothing but a fan’s exact expectations of what a sequel to “Crank” would be like. There are no shocking improvements made to this film from its predecessor; if you liked the first movie, you’ll like the second.