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Crank 2: High Voltage (Blu-ray Review)

3 Sep, 2009 By: John Latchem

Crank 2

Street 9/8/09
Box Office $13.7 million
$29.95 DVD, $34.98 two-DVD set, $39.99 Blu-ray
Rated ‘R’ for frenetic strong bloody violence throughout, crude and graphic sexual content, nudity and pervasive language.
Stars Jason Statham, Amy Smart, Clifton Collins Jr., Efren Ramirez, Bai Ling, David Carradine, Dwight Yoakam.

Those who saw the first Crank will remember it as a wild ride that threw video-game-style action at the screen with little regard for logic or decency. Crank 2: High Voltage is more of the same. For those who don’t mind violence, sex and huge lapses in logic, that means it’s also a lot of fun.

Jason Statham returns as Chev Chelios, the professional hitman who in the first film had to keep running for an hour to fight off the effects of a deadly poison while he took his revenge on those who tried to kill him. The sequel picks up right where the first one left off, with Chinese mobsters cutting Chev’s powerful heart from his body to give to their elderly boss, and giving Chev a cheap artificial pumper. Chev escapes and begins the quest to recover his ticker but must electrocute himself from time to time to power his artificial heart.

The writing-directing team of Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor have taken surreal absurdism to a whole new level. Fortunately, they know it, and even interject a fictional newscaster (played by the great John de Lancie) to comment on how “improbable” all this is.

The hyperkinetic action borders on self-parody, with the filmmakers populating the frenetic setting with a series of visual gags only a “Crank” movie could get away with (for example, a stripper is shot through her breasts, causing implant gel to ooze from the wound).

Most of the behind-the-scenes extras and the Neveldine/Taylor commentary focus on the use of smaller prosumer HD video cameras to capture the action, giving the film a unique look. These lead into the “Take 2” featurette, which is basically a blooper reel of all the film crew and equipment that ended up on screen because the cameras were moving so much. But the camera technology on display further opens the door for filmmakers looking to create a slick production on a modest budget.

The Blu-ray version of the film offers a picture-in-picture “Crank’d Out Mode" among other exclusive extras, plus (for those with Internet-connected players) a menu that displays the local weather, time and Lionsgate news tidbits.

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