September 1, 2009

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Crank caught a lot of people by surprise, including me. I was not sure what to expect from the Lionsgate film, which arrived with little publicity, and didn’t seem to get too much press beforehand. The film was a combination of the film D.O.A. and Grand Theft Auto, with Chev Chelios (Jason Statham) trying to avenge his own death, only keeping himself alive by stimulating his adrenal gland. But keeping high on life is a moment to moment struggle, so the film keeps raising the stakes. My Review of Crank 2 after the jump.

crank_high_voltage_movie_image__10_.jpgChev dies at the end of the first film, but here his body is taken, and his heart removed. He comes back to life with a fake pumper, but it needs constant electrical charging. But here the benefit of juicing up is that it gives Chev super-strength. He wants to get his heart back, but it seems that Poon Dong (the late, great David Carradine) has purchased it and had it installed. And so Chev is on the chase, and gets help from Venus (Efram Ramirez), the turrets-infected twin brother of Ramirez’s character from the first film, and Eve (Amy Smart) his girlfriend. But she thought he was dead and so she’s hooked up with Randy (Corey Haim) a white trash piece of shit. There’s also the Doc (Dwight Yoakum) who often offers good hints and cheats. It turns out there’s a new final boss, El Huron (Clifton Collins Jr.), a brother to one of the main bad guys in the last film.

crank_high_voltage_movie_image__28_.jpgThough there is some overlap from the first film in terms of structure and some events (the sex scene, the end shoot out), the plot is secondary to the motion, which upgrades the video game feel from the first action sequence into full born coke freakout. The film is ultra violence and ultra sex and ultra pornography, including a number of porn stars in a strike scene. The effect of this overload means that the film opens with Chev shoving a shotgun where the sun don’t shine, and going from there, so the ability of the film to keep ratcheting the level is nigh impossible. The film comes in at full speed and doesn’t let up. This may prove tiring for some viewers, but if you can get with the film it’s an engaging act of insanity. Thankfully the makers keep the film to 83 minutes with 12 minutes of credits, so it never wears out its welcome. You don’t get the same sense of discovery, though, for what it’s worth. What you do get is the closest Americans have come to making a Takashi Miike film.

Lionsgate presents the film in widescreen (1.78:1) and in DTS 7.1 HD DVD audio. The film comes with a commentary by Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor, in just audio format, or in Crank’d Out mode, which offers the film as a PIP, and has Neveldine and Taylor sitting and hosting it as behind the scenes footage plays. This is easily one of the best track of this sort I’ve seen. Also included is a thorough making of (51 min.), a Crank 2: Take 2″ (4 min.) on the film’s gaffes, and a gag reel (3 min.) along with a trailer for this and other Lionsgate films. A digital copy is also included.

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