Thanks for checking out our Crank 2 review (yeah, we know it’s officially called Crank: High Voltage, but we all know it’s Crank 2). If you’d like to check out our Crank 2 review video, you can see it at the bottom of the written review.
It’s no secret I love Crank. To me, Crank is the living embodiment of the phrase “There are films, and there are movies”. There are artistic expression films with meaning and depth… films that are trying to say or express something. Then there are movies. Popcorn, turn your brain off and just have some fun for 90 minutes movies. Both are valid. Both can be great and both can be horrible. Crank is a MOVIE, and one that I had enormous fun with. So it was with great excitement that I heard they would indeed be going back to proverbial well to do Crank 2.
I finally had a chance to see Crank 2 today… and although it has some weaknesses (some of them pretty big which I’ll address in a moment) it in no way disappointed me, and I walked out of the theater giggling with a big smile on my face.
THE GENERAL IDEA
The synopsis for Crank 2 reads something like this: “Chelios faces a Chinese mobster who has stolen his nearly indestructible heart and replaced it with a battery-powered ticker that requires regular jolts of electricity to keep working.” Pretty straight forward huh?
This movie is insane. Neveldine and Taylor (the writers and directors of Crank and Crank 2) said from the outset that the movie would pick up at the exact moment where the first Crank ended. They weren’t kidding. The movie starts with it’s foot on the floor and it just never takes it off. The first Crank movie started off fairly normal and just got more and more insane as it went. Instead of going back to normal again, they correctly pick up the same pace and just keep it going until this film ends. Pure ridiculous fun. Chev Chelios evolves from just another movie hitman character into a mythological creature. He’s now more like Friday the 13th’s Jason than anything else. Nothing can stop him. Nothing can kill him. Nothing can slow him down… and I ate it up.
If you’re going to do a film this ludicrous, you can’t even pretend to take yourself seriously. The best way to offset that is humor, and Crank 2 has some great humor that had me giggling a lot through the film. Bai Ling was far more funny than I thought she’d be (I’ll be honest, I thought she’s be a hinderance to the movie, but she actually ended up adding to it)
You’ve probably seen the pictures online, so this isn’t spoiling anything for you, but there is a sequence in the film where Chev is hit with a massive dose of power while fighting a guy and it causes him to sort of hallucinate. His hallucination is HILARIOUS. I don’t want to say any more than that out of fear of spoiling it for you.
Seeing Corey Haim return to the big screen was funny and he did a very solid job playing Amy Smart’s new boyfriend (Amy has thought Chev has been dead for 3 months). You’ll never even realize it’s him at first, but then it becomes obvious, and he was great.
Some of the shots and cinematography in the movie are just fantastic and very unique. Neveldine and Taylor shot this film in a very raw guerilla style and it suits the film very well (with some exceptions which I’ll expand on in the “bad” part of the review). It’s crazy, it’s disjointed, it’s chaotic… just like Chev’s adventure itself. It was extremely fun to watch on that level.
Much has been made (at least by me) of the fact that Crank 2 was shot almost entirely on the consumer level camera, the Canon XH-A1 on standard mini-dv tape. IT WORKED WONDERFULLY!!!! Using $3000 camera instead of $300,000 cameras, that were small, light and rugged opened up tons of shooting possibilities that the filmmakers took full advantage of.
I love Jason Statham. I’ve said this before, but I’ll say it again: Statham was born to play Chev Chelios, and Chev Chelios was born to be played by Statham. Statham is just great in this flick.
Now before you go thinking that I thought Crank 2 was the greatest thing since sliced bread, I did have several issues with it. First and foremost is a pet peeve of mine for several films… SHAKY GOD DAMN CAMERA DURING ACTION SCENES. Don’t get be wrong, there is a difference between hand held camera (which is just fine when used right, like Crank 2 does most of the time) and shaky camera. There is a difference between a camera moving a little, and a camera jolting all over the place like it’s being operated by a chicken having a severe seizure to the point that you as the audience member have no bloody idea what the hell is supposed to be going on up on the screen. A couple of potentially fantastic action sequences in Crank 2 were completely ruined for me because of this. Most of the action sequences were totally fine, but a couple of them were nothing but random blurs of incomprehensible images and noises. Really a shame.
One of the things that gives Crank its unique identity is the style of editing. It works… for the most part. But in Crank 2 I found several spots irritated me because of the excessive random jump edits and supers that felt more like a visual collage of a 3rd grader doing show and tell. Again, 90% of great, but there is that 10% that bothered me… a lot.
There was a wasted segment in the film that dealt with Chev’s childhood that I thought was just completely wasted screen time. Not funny, had nothing to do with the story nor did it add to anything going on… it just dragged us out of the action. I can understand how it seemed like a funny thought at the time, but it shouldn’t have been left in the film.
Crank 2 is a fun, insane and extremely over the top amusement park ride for the senses that I believe, if you go into it with the right mindset, you’ll absolutely have a great time with. But be warned, like its predecessor this movie is NOT for everyone. Even as just an insane ride there are some glaring weakness and problems that could have been easily avoided, but for me, they did not distract from the pure enjoyment of the ride too much. Overall I give Crank 2 (aka Crank: High Voltage) a 7.5 out of 10.
YOU CAN SEE THE VIDEO VERSION OF OUR CRANK 2 REVIEW HERE: