Here at the Grump Factory, we like to think ourselves above certain things. Like incredibly retarded movies. I mean, look at Mortal Kombat: Annihilation. It’s not worth anything more than a derisive laugh. But that’s mostly because it’s boring on top of being stupid. I mean, what a kcombo. So is it possible to make an EXCITING retarded movie? Crank and Crank 2 seemed to think so. Originally I didn’t have much interest in the Crank franchise. I figured it was stupid-bad. Then I heard Bai Ling was going to be in the sequel, improvising her dialogue. And I will pay almost any amount of money to see Bai Ling, starfucker extraordinaire, make an ass out of herself in the hopes of some temporary, glimmering bit of fame. So I plunked down some money to see this stupid movie.
Crank: High Voltage includes the following:
- An opening credits sequence that resembles the world’s most irritating video game
- A man spitting into a heart transplant surgery
- Statham has a literal HEALTH GAUGE that measures how long he has to live
- The most offensive portrayal of a Tourette’s sufferer
- Jason Statham hooking up a car battery to his nipple and tongue
- Nipples being sliced off (this is almost passé now, actually)
- A stripper being shot through her breast implants and seeing them deflate as the silicon leaks out
- A head being kept alive in a tank
- A short sequence that flirts with being a silent movie
- A 70s grindhouse-style musical interlude where the screen tells Jason Statham to fuck off
- A random cutaway to a club where a song repeats the lyrics “suck my motherfucking dick”
- David Carradine in the world’s most racist makeup
- A kaiju battle
- A ferret’s testicles
- Possibly Jason Statham’s testicles (the movie doesn’t let you get a good look)
- Jason Statham and Amy Smart performing a raunchy sex act in the middle of a racetrack while a horse jumps over them and Amy marvels at the horse’s penis
Now, I didn’t see the first Crank before seeing this movie. So I was shocked that the movie started with (apparently) the first movie’s end: Jason Statham’s Chev Chelios falling from the sky and making a splat on the pavement. From there, mysterious men shovel him (literally) off of the street and into a van, where they carry him off to extract his heart for transplant in an elderly Chinese mob boss named (I shit you not) Poon Dong. They put an artificial heart in Chelios to keep him alive long enough to harvest his other organs (namely his penis, drawn crudely in an anatomical diagram). Chelios wakes up, does not approve of this, and starts killing people in order to find out where they put his real heart. The catch? His artificial heart needs to be juiced every so often or he dies, so Chelios has to do anything and everything that could charge him up to stay alive, be it grabbing onto electrical cables or rubbing up against naked flesh to create static electricity.
I wasn’t sure I would like this particular brand of excess. Then the movie started and assaulted my senses with blinking neon Atari-level graphics and wacky, raunchy comedy. In fact, it comes off like if SUDA 51 was offered the opportunity to make his dream movie. I knew for sure I’d like the rest of the movie when I saw Chelios ram a shotgun covered in hot tar up a giant Samoan’s butt and rape him with it. Crank 2 is sick, disgusting, completely tasteless and god do I love it. Just when I thought the movie couldn’t get sillier or trashier, it would prove me wrong. Whenever something outrageous wasn’t happening, there’d be T & A jubbling about, giving gratuitous ass and cleavage for the audience’s flesh-starved eyes.
And I was surprised by Jason Statham’s level of performance. The man’s obviously got the stunt skills and rugged looks of an action star, but he’s also a gifted physical comedian, something I hope we get to see outside of the Crank franchise in the future. And Bai Ling… holy shit. She plays a strung-out Chinese prostitute (Chelios calls her “Cuntonese”) and instantly falls in lust with Chelios, trying to have sex with him and shouting unintelligible Engrish the whole time. All of her lines, on top of being improvised, are subtitled in English, even though she’s speaking English. It’s that bad. Way to go, Bai Ling, you may just have cinched 2009’s Old Gay Butler from Spider-Man 3 Award! The rest of the cast is frighteningly game for writers/directors Mark Neveldine’s and Brian Taylor’s insane and offensive brand of entertainment.
I tip my hat to Crank: High Voltage for making a successfully post-modern action movie. Who watches these things for the plot or love interest? People watch these for sex and violence and more sex! The more bizarre and memorable the sex and violence is, the better! In fact, I think that this is actually a secret, back-door superhero movie for the R-rated set. All you’d need to do is put a cape on Jason Statham and he’d be a Man of Steel for the 21st century. So ditch that “other” superhero movie this summer and kick it with a hero that deserves to use the word “bub.”