CRANK 2: HIGH VOLTAGE

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Overall Impression – CRANK 2: FULL THROTTLE delivers exactly what it promises: non-stop electrified action!

THE FOUR QUESTIONS

Who’s your main character? – Chev Chelios.

What’s he trying to accomplish? – Professional: stay alive long enough to get his heart back. Personal: N/A. Private N/A.

Who’s trying to stop him? – Chinese gangs, Mexican gangs, local thugs, cops, dog walkers… pretty much everyone and everything becomes an obstacle.  Additionally, Chev’s greatest enemy is his temporary fake heart, which requires consistent jolts of electricity to keep him moving.

What happens if he fails? – He’ll die.

THE FOUR ARCHETYPES

Orphan – Chev’s a Brit in LA, seems to be on everyone’s wanted list, and his friends and loved ones have moved on after believing him dead for the past three months.

Wanderer – Chev’s heart has been removed, and with the help of his friend Doc Miles, he learns that he needs to juice his temporary thumper with electricity in order to survive. The rest of the movie is one big chase as Chev hunts Vang, a Triad thug whom Chev believes is transporting his real heart. Also thrown into the mix is a helpful hooker named Ria, Mexican gangsters out for revenge, Chev’s old flame Eve, and Venus – the identical twin brother of Chev’s murdered transvestite friend.

Warrior – The chase continues: Chev needs bigger shocks for his fake heart, and increasingly crazier antics are required to get them.  He fights like a dog to finally get to Vang… only to discover that his heart has already been transplanted into the head of the Triad gang!  Chev is kidnapped by the Mexicans, whose leader wants revenge after Chev killed his brothers in the first movie.

Martyr – A bit muddled…  It might be that Chev’s willing to get as close to death as possible in order to keep on living.  It might also be that he’s willing to give up his heart and even Eve to get revenge on the Mexicans… in which case the CENTRAL QUESTION flip flops.

AND, IN THE END…

I find it hard not to enjoy a movie that plays on its own ridiculousness, and CRANK 2: HIGH VOLTAGE is no exception.  When Chev whistles the film’s score whilst interrogating a baddie, we know the filmmakers are just out to have fun, and so can we.

While the movie’s structure is questionable, the ways in which CRANK 2 laughs at filmic conventions gave it the feel of spectacle as opposed to story, making some of these elements feel appropriate rather than failings.  Here are a few examples:

– Chev’s lack of PERSONAL and PRIVATE desires.  Chev’s a simple, tunnel-visioned guy, much like the movie itself.  It may have been inappropriate for the style, tone and objectives of the film to feature those elements which most movies both need and aspire to have.  CRANK 2 doesn’t bother with these… its hero just wants his strawberry tart (heart) back.

– There wasn’t a strongly discernible switch from WANDERER TO WARRIOR.  Instead, the entire mid-section of CRANK 2 can be seen as one non-stop warrior race, continually escalating in intensity and insanity.

The CENTRAL QUESTION changes right at the end,when Chev’s desire to get his heart switches to a desire for revenge.  (This I found harder to forgive :))

 

 

Again, none of this is intended to fault the movie, and in many ways CRANK 2 might be seen as ambitious.  Think no further than the final confrontation between Chev and Vang, which inexplicably becomes a fight between giant puppet-like caricatures.

By venturing into areas which might be deemed outrageous, stupid or just plain weird, you’ll definitely see things that you’ve never seen before, and that’s probably why CRANK 2 was so ridiculously fun.

– Dan Pilditch

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