Rated R for frenetic strong bloody violence throughout, crude and graphic sexual content, nudity and pervasive language. 96 minutes
The dizzyingly jumpy, very messy "Crank: High Voltage" will leave you cranky
It's easy to see why Jason Statham is a movie star. His chiseled looks and skillful martial-arts moves are desirable, but it's altogether a mystery why Statham would choose to star in crappy movies like "Crank" and "Transporter." Statham's nice martial-arts skills are the only redeemable thing about the excessively crude, violent, racist and offensive "Crank: High Voltage," a highly unnecessary sequel to the modestly successful 2006 film "Crank," about a dude injected with a poison and must keep his heart rate up or die.
In "Crank: High Voltage," a Chinese mobster has stolen professional assassin Chev Chelios' (Statham) heart and replaced with an artificial battery-powered one that must be jolted from time to time for Chelios to live. He hunts down the mobster who took his heart, meets up with his old girlfriend Eve (Amy Smart), all the while talking to his doctor (Dwight Yoakum) on the phone to get tips on how to live through all of this.
There's not much to go on with this "Crank," I didn't care for the first one and hated this one even more. It's directed and written by the team that did the first movie, Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor. "High Voltage" is filled with every racist stereotype imaginable, to the point that they must add subtitles whenever the chatty Asian woman speaks. And "High Voltage" must be filled with more dizzingly jumpy edits than I've ever seen in a film, to the point that it renders the film incoherent.
In this manner, "High Voltage" could've been entertaining in a sloppy, over-the-top way, but there are so many edits it may leave you crankier than Statham is in the film, who never smiles and cracks some heads open (literally) in nearly every scene. It also wastes a decent comic actress in Smart ("Just Friends"), who spends most of the time running around topless with pasties covering the essential elements.
I enjoy Statham's martial-arts - the dude has some skills and can truly kick some butt - but he needs to find a better movie and far better material than this. The whole excessive jumpiness of "High Voltage" may be justified in line with the film's premise, but it left me not only dizzy but in a cranky mood and in great need of some Aleve to ease my pounding headache. In no way can I recommend this, so go at your own risk (and expense), and know that it's clearly not worth it.