- Written and Directed by Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor
- April 15, 2009 (UK) / April 17, 2009 (US)
Having survived a deadly fall on the streets of Los Angeles, ex-hitman Chev Chelios is kidnapped and has his heart stolen by Chinese gangsters who replace it with an artificial organ designed to keep him alive for just one hour.
Crank: High Voltage is that rare film that is just pure fun. Our central character of Chev Chelios (Jason Statham) has more in common with the superhuman action characters of the 80s than he does of those today. Even though he has a very serious handicap as compared to his foes, he is more than capable of dishing out damage. Neveldine/Taylor find ways for Chelios to engage in frenetic action. This time around he must get his heart back because a rather creepy David Carradine as crime lord Poon Dong has it in his chest.
A good chunk of the first film’s cast returns. Keone Young as Don Kim, Julanne Chidi Hill as Dark Chocolate, Jose Pablo Cantillo as Ricky Verona, Amy Smart as Eve, and Dwight Yoakam as Doc Miles all come back. Clifton Collins Jr. and Bai Ling join the cast in significant parts this time around too.
We also get some of the more unusual celebrity cameos which include Ron Jeremy, Ed Powers, Jenna Haze, Nick Manning, Lexington Steele, Chester Bennington, Glenn Howerton, Maynard James Keenan, Danny Lohner, Keith Jardine, Lauren Holly (not so weird there), Lloyd Kaufman, Corey Haim, and Geri Halliwell as Chelios’s mother Karen who appears in a weird flashback type of deal. Whoever came up with this group was definitely thinking outside of the box.
Crank: High Voltage leans much more into action comedy than the last one did. They figured out what worked in the original and go all in here. They are gratuitous sex jokes. A crazed hooker that decides Chelios is her boyfriend. And rather abruptly Doc Miles announces he is a trained heart surgeon. But you buy it because this universe has effectively tossed reality out the window and you will buy whatever they hand you.
While I like the news segments they felt as if they were added in after the fact. And truthfully they were quite necessary. They helped keep the narrative fast paced and things coming at you. If they weren’t in the film the action would’ve had to abruptly stop and then start up again.
A good ending can really make a film and we have a good ending here. Ricky Verona’s (Jose Pablo Cantillo) was the best return from the last film. As you recall he fell out of the helicopter too and in this film exists as a head in a tank. A HEAD IN A TANK! That was just messed up but fit with everything because by this point in the film actual science had been tossed out the window.
Is there much story here? Not really. It’s just one action scene after another but you’re not here for deep story. You’re here for a good time and this provides you with a good time. Much like the best films of the 80s this is a guy’s movie. It’s action and testosterone driven. They don’t worry about being appropriate and they don’t care about who they offend. And there is plenty offensive here. Then again our protagonist is a former hitman so you should not be expecting nice and they cast porn people in cameos. Do not expect sensitivity.
Crank: High Voltage is a fantastic sequel to the first film. Its major flaw is that it leaves you wanting more and at this point it’s that’s unlikely to happen. Still you will not be disappointed with this. If you like action films this is a must see!