Tuesday, September 8, 2009

DVD review: "Crank 2: High Voltage"

Imagine if you had a pair of 14-year-old boys who had never gone to school, never read a book, and they just stayed inside and watched TV and played video games, and that was all they knew of the world. "Crank 2: High Voltage" is the movie they would make.

This isn't to say that writing/directing duo Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor, who launched their careers with the first "Crank," are developmentally stunted individuals. They just make movies for people who are.

Indeed, in wading through the healthy set of extras that come with the "Crank 2" special-edition DVD, Neveldine/Taylor (as they bill themselves) come across as a wise-cracking, hip and smart duo who are fully aware that they're making preposterous action flicks for the attention deficit disordered.

At one point in the feature-length commentary track, they state unequivocally that one of their major plot points -- having to do with rubbing bodies together to create friction -- is complete bunk. "If you really believed this, then thanks for your $10," one of them says.

Hey, when it comes to exploitation filmmaking, at least they're honest -- and entertaining.
Now, you might think that the fact that grim hitman Chev Chelios (Jason Statham) died at the end of the first "Crank" might be an impediment to a sequel. But that's an easy fix -- some Chinese mobsters snatch his body from where it fell out of a helicopter, take out his heart and stick in an artificial one.

Like the first movie, Chev needs regular jolts of electricity to keep his fake ticker going, so he's forever sticking his finger in electrical outlets, grabbing hold of transformers or getting zapped by jumper cables attached to his nipple and tongue.

His adversaries are an endless array of racist portrayals of minorities who fall down with the ease of video game bogeymen.

In addition to the commentary, there's a 50-minute making-of documentary, featurette of continuity errors, theatrical trailer and a digital copy of the film.

Movie: 1 star
Extras: 3.5 stars

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