Crank: High Voltage
WHAT IT'S ABOUT?
Apparently, modest box-office success is good enough for a sequel these days. After watching our hero Chev spend 24 hours keeping his heart going at lightning speed to fight off a deadly poison in the first Crank, we now get the High Voltage follow-up, which picks up exactly where the story left off. Chev survives a fall to certain death only to wake up three months later to find a Chinese mobster has replaced his all-powerful heart with a battery-operated device that requires constant jolts of electricity in order to stay alive. He escapes and, with intermittent charging from car batteries and phone wires, embarks on a marathon chase to retrieve his heart and fight off various bad guys, including a Mexican gang boss and a group of Chinese triads led by 100-year-old Poon Dong, who desires Chev's vital organs (yes, even THAT one) for his own purposes.
WHO'S IN IT?
Jason Statham is back as Chev, of course, displaying the same combination of kickass frenetic action and dumb comedy that marked the first edition. Forced to act the human equivalent of a Road Runner cartoon, Statham gives it his all, but it's a stretch to say the least. Everyone else plays mainly one-dimensional buffoons, including the moronic hyped-up Chinese stereotype from Bai Ling, who has been given lines like: ''This dude my Kevin Costner, and he gonna beat you off'' or ''You need me like Whitney Houston, dude.'' Apparently, the 17-year-old The Bodyguard was the last movie these screenwriters saw. Clifton Collins Jr. (Sunshine Cleaning) seems to revel in overacting the Mexican baddie El Huron, while a really old-looking David Carradine destroys any fond memories of Kung Fu as he plays the jokey Poon Dong. Back from the original are Dwight Yoakam, literally phoning his part in as the ever helpful Doc, and Amy Smart as Chev's hot girlfriend.
It's in focus.
Moviegoers with the stomach to watch nipples and kneecaps being sliced and diced, dumb profane dialogue spelled out in graphic letters on the screen in case you're hard of hearing, over-the-top acting and sleazy direction you all will love it. It's a shame to see the usually solid Statham waste his potential in stuff that aims for the lowest common denominator and hits its target.
MOST CREATIVE SEX SCENE IN A JASON STATHAM MOVIE:
The horny and uninhibited Statham and Smart turn the racing track at Hollywood Park into their own personal motel room as they horse around in X-rated style while the betting crowd cheers them on. We're not sure about Win or Place, but these two definitely Show.
MOST PROPHETIC LINE:
During outtakes over the end credits, Statham blurts out, ''It's so hard to keep a straight face!'' We were thinking the same thing, Jason.
NETFLIX OR MULTIPLEX?
Netflix. But, you know, skip this, and rent the first Crank instead where there is at least a modicum of originality.
Hollywood.com rated this film 1/2 star.