Crank 2: High Voltage

Does a Dadaist collage of erect horse penises, implants oozing from bullet-pierced breasts, kaleidoscopic T&A effects and shotgun sodomy played for laughs sound odd for an action movie? Welcome to Neveldine / Taylor’s borderline psychotic existence.

Waking up in the aftermath of a meth-lab explosion might be less disorienting than watching Crank: High Voltage, especially on Blu-ray. The transfer is so sharp that you can see the many, many pores on the many, many squishy female buttocks, and the sound field is heated and hyped-up with the heedless ambience of aggressive movement.

It’s Neveldine / Taylor’s sequel to Crank, their lunatic-fringe 2006 film in which hitman Chev Chelios (Jason Statham) fell from a helicopter, bounced off a car … and blinked. How, you ask? His veins coursed with so much adrenaline — to ward off the fatal effects of a toxin with which he’d been injected — that he just couldn’t die.

Scooped up with a shovel, Chev is wheeled away to what looks like the anteroom of a dingy Chinese restaurant. While there, his unstoppable heart is removed from his body and replaced with an artificial one. It’s just the start of the organ-harvesting process on Chev. Every boss in the underworld wants part of Chev — privates included — but guys who blink after splatting on pavement ain’t playing that.

With his tongue Krazy Glued firmly to his cheek, Statham realizes he’s both Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner in this loony tune

To keep his new heart going, Chev must maintain an electrical charge and, uh, avoid stress. Staying charged while pursuing his foes, Chev uses shock collars and tazers, rubs on old ladies and Linkin Park singers, has more monkey-like sex in public with his girlfriend (Amy Smart) and fries his tongue and testes with jumper cables.

In Neveldine / Taylor’s weird world, these are power-ups. Their obsession with cinema as video game is not as sleek or satirical as in their superior, overlooked Gamer. At its worst, it’s like nouveau Tony Scott. At its best, they up the surrealistically bonkers ante on Crank. Why not reference both Godzilla and an Aphex Twin video during a fight scene or boast a Mike Patton music score as sonically adventurous as any Mr. Bungle record?

Even the casting is as random as cow-pie bingo: a nearly unrecognizable Corey Haim’s mullet-headed strip-club boss; Bai Ling’s Asian-stereotype prostitute; David Carradine as a David Lo Pan-esque crime boss; Efren Ramirez (Pedro of Napoleon Dynamite) returning a la Curly’s Gold as the twin of a character killed in Crank; and cameos by Chester Bennington, Maynard James Keenan and Lloyd Kaufman.

It’s nigh impossible to keep track of who all wants Chev dead, and for what reason, but who cares. Tossing out the need for narrative coherence with their franchise in place, Neveldine / Taylor have nowhere to go but for broke. Oh, how they arrive there.

And if you think there’s no room to resurrect Chev after this ending, Neveldine / Taylor are probably a weekend and a bag of crack-filled Pixie Stix away from proving you wrong.



An award-winning film critic and features reporter, Nick has professionally written or gabbed about movies for Illinois newspapers, national syndicates, Playboy, The Art Immortal, The Film Yap and Midwest radio stations. He once drummed in a Billy Joel cover band known as Silly Joel and freely presents his Letterboxd page to engage and mock if you wish: https://letterboxd.com/ragekage79/


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