There are basically two types of people in this world: Those who think the Crank series is preposterous, offensive, and retarded, and those who are like “Duh.” Personally, I find that first type of person hilarious. Obviously, a series of films as over-the-top and willfully unrealistic as Crank and Crank: High Voltage had to have been designed that way from the start, but these assholes seem to think that it requires a world-class intellect like their own to notice it. They’re like, “At the end of the first one, Statham fell like 10,000 feet out of a helicopter. There’s no way he could survive that. What a crock of shit.” And I’m like, “I know, right? You know what else sucks? I saw this cartoon once where this dude shot a duck point-blank in the face and all that happened was its bill turned around backwards. And then—can you believe it?—the duck just turned the bill back around like nothing happened! That’s totally not what would happen if you really shot a duck in the face. Also, the duck could talk.” Basically what I’m saying is that pointing out that Crank is ridiculous and unbelievable is not a valid criticism. All you’re telling me is that you don’t like that type of shit in the first place, so why should I care about your opinion? It’s like somebody saying that Motörhead sucks because they’re too loud.
Now, I’m not necessarily saying you’re an asshole if you don’t like Crank and its sequel. I mean, you got a couple strikes against you, but if you could get down with the movies in theory but just don’t care for the hypercaffeinated visual style, I can appreciate that. I don’t normally go in for that kind of shit myself, but I think it works within the confines of the Crankiverse. So it’s cool, you and me can still be BFF’s. Just don’t try and tell me that the absurdity and crudity that has been carefully layered into the films from the script stage on was some kind of mistake that only you were sophisticated enough to point out. That dog won’t hunt.
Anyway, we should probably get around to talking about Crank Fucking 2 at some point. Most of you won’t agree with me, but I think the first one was a little better. The second one has way more crazy shit in it, but I think the storyline of the first one (Hitman has to keep his adrenaline up to stop the poison in his veins from stopping his heart before he gets his revenge) was more interesting. It’s a great action movie plot, because it creates a compelling reason for the hero to cause needless destruction, do lots of drugs, and pork Amy Smart in public. In Crank 2, Statham has had his heart (which is so badass that it somehow survived the poison from the first one all by itself) removed and replaced with an artificial one, so he’s got to keep juicing it with electricity so it won’t conk out before he gets his real one back. This leads to some hilarious shit, like when he electrocutes himself at a power station and somehow turns into a giant rubber-masked Godzilla version of himself. But it’s not as socially irresponsible as a movie that says sniffing cocaine off a filthy restroom floor to get your heart rate up is the right thing to do.
Also, I think the acting in the first one is a little underrated. There are so many little supporting parts that are so much more memorable than they could have been, from the dude who gets thrown off the roof who yells "What you mean ding? Whayoumeanding?" as he falls to his death to the surprisingly affable black gangster in the bathroom who says the immortal line: "There's a white nigga in here with a gun!" I also really appreciated the scenery-chewing yet oddly sympathetic performance of the main villain, who has a few moments where his facial expressions mix grief and hysteria and rage and humor in equal proportions. The performances in Crank: High Voltage are more of the Troma-style overacting-for-overacting’s-sake school. They’re entertaining and they fit the tone of the movie, but they’re not as distinctive as the ones in Crank 1.
The main area in which the original surpasses its sequel is in its ending. Having your hero jump to his (seeming) death from a helicopter and, while falling through the clouds, leave a goodbye message on his girlfriend’s answering machine was both incredibly badass and sort of sweet. It was a bold move to conclude 90 minutes of foul language, fornication, and bloodshed with a man coming to terms with his own mortality by giving closure to the woman he loved.
But even if Crank 2 isn’t as awesome as Crank 1, it’s still more awesome than a gorilla with a chainsaw. This movie is giddy, mean-spirited fun from beginning to end. It’s basically just scenes of crazy sex and violence and profanity slapped together one after the other, so you’ve barely had time to reconfigure your mind-grapes to deal with the insanity you just witnessed before they slap you in the face with some more. To support my thesis, I give you this quote from noted Onion AV Club commentator and caps-lock enthusiast Zodiac Motherfucker:
I AM HERE TO SERVE NOTICE ABOUT THE REAL THATS RIGHT CRANK 2 BITCH FUCK YEAH IT IS ONE OF THE GREATEST MOVIES I HAVE EVER SEEN IN MY FUCKING FUCKING LIFE. WALL TO WALL OWNAGE YOU GOT STRIPPERS SHOOTING MOTHERFUCKERS YOU GOT CHINESE GANGSTERS TEARING SHIT UP YOU GOT GREAT BIG JACKED UP CHOLOS OWNING PEOPLE YOU GOT GAY DUDES WITH NUNCHUCKS YOU GOT STATHAM RUNNING AROUND LIKE A FUCKING HURRICANE OF OWNAGE YOU GOT AMY SMART BEING AWESOME AND HOT AND GETTING FUCKED IN PUBLIC YOU GOT HOOKERS CRUSHING SOME FAT MOTHERFUCKERS NUTS YOU GOT OLD ANCIENT ASS CHINESE DUDES GETTING PUSSY YOU GOT MOTHERFUCKERS GETTING THROWN OUT OF WINDOWS YOU GOT LITTLE KIDS BEATING THE FUCK OUT OF OTHER LITTLE KIDS LIKE FOR REAL A STONE FUCKING BEATDOWN HOLY SHIT IT IS ABSOLUTELY FUCKING INSANE THE OWNINGS PER MINUTE ARE PROBABLY THE HIGHEST THEYVE EVER BEEN
CRANK BITCH FUCK THE FUCK YEAH CHRISTMAS CAME EARLY THIS YEAR MOTHERFUCKERS GET YOUR ASS TO THE THEATER AND FEEL THE FUCKING VOLTAGE IF YOU LIKE TITTIES YOUR GONNA FUCKING LOVE CRANK 2
ZMF is rarely this effusive, but he's just barely scratching the surface of Crank 2’s madness. He didn’t mention how the pussy-getting old Chinese dude is played by David Carradine. Or the part where a stripper gets shot through both titties and they start leaking saline. Or when Statham interrogates a fat dude by cramming eight inches of greasy shotgun up his ass. Or Bai Ling’s outrageously offensive pidgin English, which is full of lines like “I bitchfuck you!” that are even funnier when subtitled—it’s like a Chinese takeout menu published by Larry Flynt. Or then there’s the part where a character from the first movie has a cameo as a rubber head in a fish tank. Or the part where a dude has the tip of his elbow hacked off with a machete for no reason. Or the part where Statham gives the audience the finger with his fucking face on fire. Shit, he didn’t even mention the part where Amy Smart puts Corey Haim through a windshield.
Still, despite his deplorable oversights, ZMF’s enthusiasm is dead-on. (Also: "Fuck the fuck yeah” is now something I say.) This is a superior entertainment that never stops coming up with inventive new ways to blow your fucking mind. I strongly recommend seeing this movie with an audience. I have gone on record as stating that the American public as a whole is allergic to awesome, but my Crank: High Voltage viewing experience has renewed my faith in my fellow countrymen.
Before I close, I would like to give a post-dated “Fuck you” to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for failing to recognize the groundbreaking work of music legend Mike Patton. His score for Crank 2 is the weirdest and most rockingest soundtrack I’ve heard since Dario Argento lost Goblin’s phone number. It sounds like if Sergio Leone got signed to Anticon to record a tango/thrash/electro jazz album that got remixed by DJ Spooky to be the soundtrack to Todd McFarlane’s porno revamp of Tom & Jerry. So yeah, it’s a Mike Patton album, only it comes with a feature-length music video full of boobs and blood and occasional interludes by REO Speedwagon.
Seriously, what do I have to do, jerk you off on my chest? Go watch the fucking movie already.