Crank: High Voltage

Picks up where the previous film left off, this time with action hero Chev Chelios lighting out from his hospital bed to replace the plastic hunk of junk inside his chest with the real, beating heart that’s been stolen from him by gangsters. The result is, once again, simultaneously parody and quintessence of the contemporary action movie, pushed through a fuzzbox and amplified to the point of distortion.

I like the Neveldine/Taylor brand of mayhem well enough that I really wish so much of what’s going on here didn’t feel so, well, smarmy. It’s not the sex and the violence that I mind, but the targeted crassness — the joke about the horse cock is one thing, the outrageous racial and gender stereotypes another thing entirely. In some ways, this movie almost exists beyond prejudice, with its outsized offensiveness calling attention to itself sheerly for purposes of mockery. For all its super-charged action and good humor, I couldn’t completely dispel the whiff of chauvinism that hung about this thing, and it left me a little unsettled.

Jason Statham and Bai Ling
Jason Statham and Bai Ling

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