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"Crank: High Voltage"

Directed by Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor.
Written by Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor.
Starring Jason Statham, Amy Smart, and Dwight Yoakam.
Release Year:  2009
Review Date:  4/19/09


I almost can't believe this, but "Crank: High Voltage"--the sequel to the 2006 flick "Crank"--is three or four times more insane than the first film.  It's more violent, even more hopped up on speed, it has more random naked breast shots, and completely implausible.

Why, then, was I having so much fun watching it?

Jason Statham reprises his role as Los Angeles hitman Chev Chelios, who was falling out of a helicopter the last time we saw him, on his way to the pavement.  Somehow, Chev opens this sequel near death, and then he gets picked up by Triad members, has his heart traded out for a mechanical substitute, and then juiced back to the present.  After breaking out of the Triad's makeshift hospital, Chev kills his way through mobsters, Triad members, cops, Latino criminals and a wide array of whores to get his heart back.

Completely, totally ridiculous.  As it introduces itself as being completely and totally ridiculous, I fell along for the ride; Statham just has this energy, mixed with an over-the-top film production, that makes "Crank: High Voltage" a thrill ride.  It is not a great thrill ride, but it IS a thrill ride.  A soundtrack that is drum-and-bass fast; editing that constantly made me move my head to not get dizzy ("Cloverfield" times 22); there is so much blood, sex and gunplay in this film that the constant profanity didn't even occur to me.  The action scenes are a little better here than they were in the first "Crank"; there were nasty scenes in that first film but they are even nastier here (like the punishment sequence for the Latino gang leader that loses Chev during a shootout).  There are a lot of throwaway scenes, though, and the film is generally useless unless it's Statham on the run.

As a movie that gets you fired up before a long night out, "Crank: High Voltage" works.  It's just okay overall, and as far from a date movie as possible, but that shouldn't stop you from taking this in on a Saturday night before hitting the town.

Rating:  Matinee


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Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  This is the highest rating a movie can receive.  Reserved for movies that exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development, setting...or Salma Hayek.  Not necessarily in that order. 

"$X.XX Show":  This price changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently, it is the $9.50 Show.  While not technically perfect, this is a movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.  "Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca", but you'll have a great time watching.  The $9.50 Show won't win any Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see "Office Space"). 

"Matinee":  An average movie that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.  Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about yourself.  A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave the theater saying "That wasn't too, did you see that Lakers game last night?" 

"Rental":  This rating indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one."  Mostly forgettable, you couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the video store was out of copies of "Ronin."  If you can, see this movie for free.  This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a half stars." 

"Hard Vice":  This rating is the bottom of the barrel.  A movie that only six other human beings have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen.  A Shannon Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a movie.  Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or "Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!  (Warning:  strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard Vice"-rated movies.)

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The "fine print":
All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/ except where noted
1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 04/29/09