A wise sage once remarked that there’s two kinds of people in this world. People who think there’s two kinds, and people who don’t.
Similarly, there’s two kinds of movie viewers in this world. Those who think “Crank” and “Crank 2: High Voltage” are hysterically funny thrill rides with no intention of redeeming qualities beyond amusing us with sex, violence, ethnic stereotypes and insane stunts. And those who think these movies are just disgusting self-indulgent exercises in vulgarity and stupidity.
Put me in the first category. “Crank 2” is indeed a worthy successor to the ground-breaking “Crank”. A little more ramped up, a little bigger budget, a new and even sillier premise, more silicone-inflated mammaries on display. Where is Chev Chelio’s strawberry tart? How many gangsters can Chev take out in a strip club shootout? What was it in Johnny Vang’s cooler that disgusted even the hard as tempered steel nails Chev?
I’d really like to know the answer to that last question. But even without that answer, we’ve got outrageous jokes, fireworks, multiple incidences of gratuitous nudity, open-air racetrack sex, fantastic tattoos, a Godzilla fight, nipple self-amputation, Dwight Yoakum and David Carradine! As Poon Dong, Carradine doesn’t have a lot of lines but his delivery is great!
Amy Smart’s delivery is, ah, not. She’s really hardly in the same movie with Statham, intensity-wise. She occupies space and looks good, but compared to the chaos swirling around Jason and the rest, she’s a little meh. Not that it matters. This is Jason Statham in full loonie mode, and he’s the Stathamist Statham he can possibly be. Is he as good as in the “Transporter” movies?
No, the “Cranks” aren’t in that league. But he’s fun. Is “Crank 2: High Voltage” as good as “Crank”? No, it doesn’t get to have the Shock of the New that the first picture had. In “Crank”, he piled absurdity atop absurdity, stunt upon stunt, stacking the laughs and the “Did they really do that?” higher and higher until the whole teetering mess fell out of a helicopter. In the second outing, we do know what to expect. And that’s delivered in spades. I wonder what more could be done in a “Crank 3”. I’d like to find out.