Friday, 25 September 2009

Film Review Crank 2 Alex Errey

Crank 2: High Voltage (2009)
“He was dead…But he got better”
“Stay charged…Stay alive”

“Awesome” Zoo
“Simmering charisma and impressive physicality” Hollywood Reporter

Lions gate
Lakeshore Entertainment

Written & Directed by Mark Neveldine & Brian Taylor
Cast: Jason Statham, Amy Smart, Dwight Yoakam, Efren Ramirez, Art Hsu, Ling Bai & Clifton Collins Jr.

There will never be a need for anymore action movies. The back catalogue stretches way beyond anyone’s line of sight. The Die Hard Quadrilogy (1988-2004), Independence Day (1996) and many other well made but slightly tedious blockbusters empower themselves onto our screens, with A package of fast-paced, hardcore action, mixed with witty and somewhat comical dialogue, roared from the mouth of a well built, slightly askew actor trying to imprint himself on the Hollywood sign. Gladly, I’m a fan of such films but is this genre starting to come to a close? How many more original ideas can be brought to the forefront of mainstream cinema?

Crank (2006) saw an original but somewhat outrageously over the top idea of chaos in the Los Angeles gangland. A hired killer is poisoned by his rival and due to the potency of this so called “Beijing Cocktail”, has to keep his adrenaline at ridiculously high levels. Cue car chases, ill advised sex in public & ultra violence by the bullet load which enthralled the audience & gained itself a cult following. The real question is, why make another?

Crank 2: High Voltage (2009) was never meant to exist. Due to events that happened at the end of the first film, you would be right in thinking that a second Crank would be put into production but the writers didn’t even consider it until they saw the DVD sales, where all the money was made. Being convinced to write another chapter in the unlucky life of Chev Chelios (Jason Statham), the story’s foul mouthed & seemingly indestructible lead character, their plan was not to take part in the films production. After completing the script, which seems to have been developed while on various coffee and drug related highs, they were so impressed by it that they gave themselves director credits for the film’s shoot.

The tale starts where the first one stopped, Chev falling out of a helicopter and enduring an almighty stop in the way of the downtown Los Angeles traffic. After seemingly surviving the fall, his body is hastily collected by a group of Chinese thugs. Cut to three months later and he’s lying in a drab hospital bed with an artificial ticker whirring in his chest. I personally would have reacted differently finding a battery attached to me but Chev, being the man he is, escapes in a wave of violence and unconventional interrogation techniques. With this new information he ventures forth, hoping to chat with the man who supposedly has his “Strawberry-tart”. Seems quite logical, until an accident leaves his battery pack useless, meaning poor Chelios has to keep himself electrically charged by any means possible. Shocking!

Statham happily reprises his role as Chev Chelios, bringing back the resourcefulness but stepping up the psychopath. As with most Statham films, the action is very hands on and physically demanding. Even though he did have a stunt double/look-a-like on set, Jason did practically all his own stunts and an awful lot of running. A man with an electrically charged body is bound to do a lot of running, I could be wrong. Amy Smart returns as ever faithful girlfriend Eve, which is a surprise seeing as I still don’t know how the character puts up with so much in her life. Could it be the love they Share or is it just that she enjoys engaging in adventurous sex, in front of thousands of gambling punters? You decide.

If you are a faithful Crank fan, then you’ll be happy to hear that all the surviving characters make an appearance in this over the top second outing. Some of which have certainly “Developed” since the first film, especially Orlando played by Reno Wilson. You will understand if you watch the film. Explaining it would be pointless and would spoil the surprise. Speaking of surprises, see if you can identify an actor who’s a legend in his own right but who also sadly passed away in recent months.

Everything I’ve said about Crank 2: High Voltage so far has been positive. I really hate to say negatives about a film I really enjoy but I wouldn’t be a competent reviewer if all my opinions made films look godly. The story lacks the pure energy of the first, putting the whole electricity thing to one side of course, it lacks the urgency and pure fluidity. Seeing a man trying to keep his heart pumping by doing dangerous stunts and taking drugs was a new idea, it gave life to an almost original story. This time round, it’s purely for laughs. Not overly a bad thing but when the film’s side plots and dialogue take over the running of the film; it makes the whole charging to stay alive action seem insignificant, which it really isn’t.

The action movie will continue to evolve even if, in the end, it can only be a part of limited number of scenarios. Crank 2: High Voltage will have its own cult following, just as the first, but it will be a different group. Comedy fans and the odd surreal follower will give this film a high mark out of ten. Original fans won’t be so generous with the scores. Many films don’t have the wit, comedic timing, blistering brutality or the sheer testicular fortitude as Crank 2: High Voltage does. Yes, Crank did warrant a sequel but no, it defiantly didn’t need one.

Crank 2: High Voltage Trivia
The character was also offered to another one of the UK’s treasured action stars, Gerard Butler, known for his role as the fearless Spartan Leonidas in graphic war epic, 300 (2006).

The Directors filmed over 300 hours of footage in 30 days of shooting.

The artificial heart shown in the movie is actually a real artificial heart, the AbioCor from Abiomed. However, it doesn’t have any external power source or way of being charged.

A rather large “organ” can be seen on the pelvic x-ray near the beginning of the movie.
Alex Errey

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