Or the makers were high…or something…
The release of another Jason Statham movie honestly means very little to me. I’m just tired of the guy playing the same over the top badass who always succeeds and should be feared by his opponents. Hell, he even had that image in Mean Machine! His character was in that movie for maybe 15 or 20 minutes, if I recall correctly. It gets stale.
Having never seen the original Crank, the multiple suggestions I received for seeing Crank 2: High Voltage surprised me. io9 covered bits and pieces of the movie a while back, so I knew what would be present, but people said that I would get quite a bit out of it. Well, I just saw it, and it was everything that it was promised to be. The movie is truly a video game movie. It’s an ADD film with an odd soundtrack and absurd tendencies – not to mention the fact that Statham’s character essentially has a life gauge.
What really struck me about the movie wasn’t the fact that it feeds gamers but rather that it seemed to me like an updated version of Natural Born Killers. In a way, it succeeds more in terms of being immediately entertaining than its predecessor because it refrains from infusing the story with any sort of criticism. Killers accuses television of being one of the supreme evils of the world, but Crank appears to embrace video games wholeheartedly. Of course, this is likely to doom it because the film is absurd, violent, and blatantly objectifies women – and it does so with no merit whatsoever. Killers, by comparison, has value because it tried to make a point. Of course, I may be the only person to even think of comparing these movies. Then again, they both fixate on an entertainment medium, include scenes that are shifts away from the style of the overall movie that were included for the sake of absurdist style (Killers had the sitcom flashback as well as the LSD animation and Crank has the kaijuu battle and talk show scene – with Geri Halliwell! – that let the viewer glimpse at the protagonist’s childhood), and both are presented in a format that is perceived to be necessary to tell a story to the so-called MTV audience of today. Not to mention unnecessary violence and the fact that movies must have been conceptualized, if not made, while on drugs – LSD for the classic and speed for the latest release.
Crank 2 is made for a certain audience. Properly defining this demographic may take a while, but it’s easy to say that video game fans would be hard pressed to find a better movie presentation of their hobby. I guess it could be said that the movie is made for people who could give a flying crap about the expected movie conventions. The protagonist is not the best of people and doesn’t change at all over the course of the movie, his love interest (the surprisingly formidable Amy Smart) moved on pretty quickly after assuming he was dead and the story doesn’t go the way one would expect upon finding out she was wrong, and they don’t even try to pretty up transitions between scenes. Literally, in one scene Statham is running from the cops in a building. They cut to a card that says, “9 seconds later,” and then he’s out on the street. They just wanted him out in the open without bothering to show the process involved in getting outside!
Coincidentally, Amy Smart has another movie called High Voltage under her thumb. Maybe this one will achieve at least the cult status that she will never, ever have from her ‘97 film. It’s said to be pretty bad.
Crank 2 is a pretty worthwhile and fun film. No reason to drop your shit and go see it, not with Star Trek and Terminator: Salvation around the corner, but it’ll be a good movie for a group of friends. Maybe make it a double-feature with the original Crank or Natural Born Killers and fill a night with madness.
Bechdel Rule: Fail. It took me a second to remember that two women even had a scene together in which there weren’t any exposed breasts. When they were talking, they were arguing over a man.