By CAINE GARDNER
Crank 2: High Voltage is the most outrageous, self-indulgent, pretentious, over-the-top spectacle possibly ever to be put on the big screen. Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor have increased the insanity a million-fold from the original pic and show how far two young filmmakers will take their vision, given the advent of cheap, high-quality technology. It's in your face and perverse -- I loved it.
The flick picked up were its predecessor left off and shows that no matter how bad your day has been, it could always get worse. In the case of Chev Chelios (Jason Statham) that means you wake to find your strawberry tart (heart) removed and replaced with a battery-operated model.
Now he must provide regular "charges" to keep his ticker going and find those responsible for the act. Guided by Doc Miles (Dwight Yoakam), Chelios uses a police taser, a car battery and most notably body friction.
The scenes that take place at the horse track have to be some of the most outrageous images I've seen in a long time. You'll be giggling as you stare at the screen through the cracks in your finger as you cover your eyes.
Chelios must elude Mexican gang boss El Huron (Clifton Collins Jr.) and the Chinese Triades as he attempts to reclaim his heart from the 100-year-old Poon Dong (David Carradine). Dong needed a heart and what better one to have that the famous Chelios heart that survived a Chinese Cocktail the first time around.
During his quest, Chelios reunites with his girlfriend Eve (Amy Smart), his deceased friend Kaylo's twin brother Venus (Efren Ramirez) and an over-caffeinated Ria (Bai Ling).
The flick ends with a surreal grindhouse-type gun battle, with women in bikinis and stilettos wielding machine guns mowing down people left and right. Chelios seems to live to fight another day and goes out of High Voltage in a blaze of glory -- literally.
Crank 2 is a spectacle, no doubt about it, and it certainly isn't for the faint of heart. The flick is rife with objectionable material, but filmmakers Neveldine and Taylor are able to charm their way through it with ease.
They also provide one of the most revealing, hysterical and bare bones audio commentaries to a film I've heard. As with the film, the duo holds nothing back and tells it like it is.
Additionally, the disc has some very cool supplemental materials available. It has a nice two-part "Making of" documentary and "Crank 2: Take 2" featurette. The Take 2 featurette is a collection of continuation errors the filmmakers gleefully point out. The film also comes with a digital download.
The thing I found intriguing about this flick in particular is the fact that it is essentially a low-budget film. I know that a budget of $13 million sounds like a lot, but in Hollywood terms that's nothing. They talk about using $2,500 and $700 consumer grade cameras to shoot the film and show that even if you have to use a camera duct-taped to a pole, you can still make an impressive product.
Statham is one of the few actors that I hope doesn't try to stretch his range. There's nobody better in an action film today. You can just sense this guy could rip your head off, while enjoying a nice, quiet pint.
Final Cut: Crank 2 is not for everyone. It's a thrill ride that will leave your eyes buggin', your palms sweaty and your own heart thumping out of your chest. If you want to spend an adrenaline fueled night with the guys, this is your flick bar none.
Crank 2: High Voltage
Starring: Jason Statham, Amy Smart, Clifton Collins Jr., David Carradine, Dwight Yoakam
MPAA Rating: R for frenetic strong bloody violence throughout, crude and graphic sexual content, nudity and pervasive language
Available now from Lionsgate on Blu-Ray and DVD