FILM REVIEW: Crank: High Voltage

18 • 96 mins • 16 April

Directors: Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor

Cast: Jason Statham, Amy Smart, Bai Ling, Efren Ramirez

When a film grabs its audience’s attention using a particular gimmick, it’s all too easy for the sequel to over-egg that gimmick and end up as a damp squib. 2006′s fast-paced action comedy Crank grabbed us by simply being gleefully moronic, tossing out such film conventions as logical narrative in favour of a pure assault on the senses that, if you had the right mindset for it, was enormously entertaining. Crank: High Voltage does indeed go down the path of doing it all again, but making it bigger, bolder and more unbelievable. But here’s what’s even more shocking than Jason Statham’s increasingly bizarre methods of electrifying his own heart – it works.

Kicking off moments after the end of the first film, Chev Chelios miraculously survives his helicopter fall and is swiftly scooped up and bundled into a van. Months later he wakes up to find that Triad gangsters have stolen his heart and replaced it with an artificial one that needs to be continually recharged, sending him on a chase across LA to get his ticker back while developing a new-found appreciation for electricity pylons and old ladies in knitted cardigans…

The whole thing takes farce to new levels, with numerous moments that are both incredibly inventive and genuinely unexpected. There are some brilliant star turns, too – a returning Amy Smart gleefully embraces this film’s ass-kicking version of Eve, Bai Ling is hysterically bonkers as a hooker who speaks in subtitles, and some of the cameos will have you in stitches.

Crank: High Voltage is a real celebration of the phrase “Why not?”. It’s big, loud and brainless – and it’s all the more glorious for it.

Leah Holmes