Published Apr 17, 2009In my imagination, writer/director team Mark Nevaldine and Brian Taylor (who use last names only in the credits of all their films) live on top of a faraway mountain in a castle made of pure cocaine, where they lounge poolside all day dictating their scripts to a row of bikini clad secretaries. What I'm saying is Crank: High Voltage is completely insane, and it's difficult to talk about the film without giving away some of the incredible surprises that make it such a treat to watch. However, if you picture the scenario I've described, you might come close to understanding the universe in which this film exists.
When we last saw our beleaguered hero, Chev Chelios (Jason Statham), he'd just fallen out of a helicopter and gone splat. Crank: High Voltage wastes no more than three seconds explaining the back-story before Chelios is shovelled into a van, taken to a ramshackle massage parlour that doubles as a hospital and has his heart removed and replaced with a temporary artificial one that runs on a battery strapped to his waist. Not one to take such things lying down, Chelios springs into action.
He's got to find his heart so that Doc Miles (Dwight Yoakam, in another brilliant performance) can put it back into his body. Ninety minutes of completely outrageous insanity ensues, as Chev tries to keep his body "electrically charged" while two warring gangs try to find and kill him. The film features nipple and elbow removals, disembodied heads, fantasy sequences and so much more. A highlight for me is the fight in an electrical field, which is hard to describe without spoiling it, but everything from the old-school video game opening credits to the preposterous (but amazing) grand finale is pure magic.
Look for small roles and cameos from such unlikely stars as '80s heartthrob Corey Haim, Kill Bill's titular bad guy David Carradine and Chinese actress Ling Bai, who some of you might recognize her as the hot cook from Fruit Chan's Dumplings.
Crank: High Voltage is modern grindhouse fare, more of an updated version than a homage (i.e., the Rodriguez/Tarantino Grindhouse), Nevaldine and Taylor take the clichés of schlocky, over-the-top exploitation cinema and update them brilliantly. But judging by the stunned expressions on the audience's faces last night, I'm not sure the world is ready for it.
Bonus feature: the funny outtakes during the end credits are totally worth sticking around for. (Maple)