Crank: High Voltage (Neveldine/Taylor, 2009)

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Some very smart people, here and here, have latched onto this particularly ugly film with gleeful abandon, citing Neveldine/Taylor’s chaotic and ridiculous reckoning of style mashing style as “giddily amoral” and Statham’s brutally physical representation as “willing idiocy.” I get why both Crank films strike a nerve of anarchic bliss, both with the mass public, looking to get their rocks off on super-duper clashes of imagery, sound, violence, and misogyny, and critics excitedly analyzing the chaotic jumble as Busby Berkeley meets John Woo on steroids. Still, that doesn’t mean these films aren’t idiotic and self-fulfilling, and incredibly toxic.

However, no matter how you justify your interest in Crank or Crank: High Voltage, it’s impossible to deny that each film treats human existence as a minor afterthought, a footnote in a long masturbatory conga-line of head-shots, knife wounds, and bitch-slaps. Characters are brutally killed, sodomized, run-over, flung out of planes without the faux-pity or morality seen in big budget action films, but that doesn’t make this particular approach any more sustainable or honest, just more brutal.

Crank: High Voltage takes the style of its predecessor to an ever further extreme, spitting on narrative continuity like it was some unneeded, out of date foreign language. Compassion and loyalty are pejoratives in the world of Crank: High Voltage, which in a crazy sudden ending pushes Statham’s character to the brink of hell. In this case, maybe a third Crank will have Chelios fighting the devil for his soul, rampaging through demons, vampires, and goblins to get to the big guy himself. Or maybe not, because that would assume he had one to lose in the first place. In Crank: High Voltage, physicality, simplicity, and primitive nature destroys nuance and subtlety, and the very essence of feeling, so all we can do is absurdly laugh at the insanity.

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3 thoughts on “Crank: High Voltage (Neveldine/Taylor, 2009)

  1. Whoa– we just watched this one tonight — and loved it! (Can we now consider ourselves among those “very smart people” you mention?) I also loved the first Crank, and now this one just as much, both for their inventive takes on action movies, sex, and more. We watched the execrable DANCE MOVIE the night previous, and Crank 2 is actually much funnier, even though it is not billed as a comedy. I think I must blog about this one, Glenn. Thanks for setting me off!

  2. Well Jim, I certainly respect your reasons for admiring this vile romp, but I just can’t handle the style-overload and misogyny. I can’t find any sort of redeemable aspects in it like you’ve been able to do, and the others I mentioned above.

  3. It is a terrible film, I agree. It seems that, initially, everyone supposed that the directors were trying to pull a ‘wink and a nudge’ on the action film and its conventions, but with this – and with Gamer – it seems they really do think all of this is just terribly clever.

    Hmmm.

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