Crank: High Voltage

Crank: High Voltage Starring Jason Statham, Amy Smart and Chester Bennington. Directed by Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor. In cinemas from April 16. Thoughts Before I remember my cynicism before watching Crank, the 2006 release that surpassed all expect

Crank: High Voltage

Starring Jason Statham, Amy Smart and Chester Bennington. Directed by Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor. In cinemas from April 16.

Thoughts Before

I remember my cynicism before watching Crank, the 2006 release that surpassed all expectations (critically and revenue-wise) and has conjured up this unlikely sequel.

Starring Jason Statham, of Snatch and The Transporter series, it looked like one of those action movies that is all bang and no substance. I expected it to be overly seriously, involve those cheesy 'save the girl' moments and then the inevitable ability to completely forget the whole movie an hour later.

But Crank was not like that at all.

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It is deliciously self-aware of its ridiculous premise, written with a spark that the viewer can't help but enjoy and quickly turned into one of my favourite films of that year. Edited with real style and urgency, the viewers are taken on a fun and memorable ride.

But this is about the sequel of course, and those lucky lot that have ridden the Crank rollercoaster will know that this is about as unlikely a sequel as you'll get. I was quite content for this to be a single cult gemstone but when this cropped up on the release dates schedule I was ecstatic.

For those wondering how Crank could possibly have gotten a sequel the tagline on the poster says it all, in the original's splendid tongue-in-cheek way:

'He was dead... but he got better.'

Brilliant. The first one required our protagonist Chev Chelios (brilliant name, right?) to keep his heart beating at a crazy-fast speed or he'd die; an absurd but hugely entertaining premise. I cannot wait to see what they've thought of for this sequel.

Thoughts Afterwards

With Crank you had to put logic and reason aside. The suspension of the viewer's disbelief is what made the original so much fun and it worked brilliantly well.

With Crank 2: High Voltage however you need to put that logic and reason into a package, ribbon it up, post it as far away as possible (I'd recommend Australia) and forget you ever had those crazy characteristics. All realism is replaced by pure, masculine fun.

It's three months after the previous movie's rampage - where we've seen bruised and battered Chev Chelios (Statham, who is the movies only real standout but he really was born to play this part - brilliant) literally scooped up from the road and his heart replaced with some eerie pipe contraption - and his new likeness to the Energiser Bunny takes it toll very quickly.

He needs to keep his 'heart' sparked with electricity or it'd simply lose power and stop - that'd be bad enough but he's got to discover, in a hail of gunshots of course, who and why this has happened. We're treated to a completely jam-packed 80 minutes of our hero finding his heart again (in the literal way, of course).

For those who haven't seen the original and wonder whether this is worth a watch: it is, of course, but I'd recommend seeing the first beforehand. There are numerous, and hilarious, references to the first movie and it definitely added a much richer aspect to the movie. One of the greatest scenes was an off-the-cuff look at a surreal counselling session that one of the near-victims from the first movie was undergoing. Although references are greeted with brief flashbacks, this movie is made for fans of the first. It's only a few quid anyway!

And for those who have seen the original and wonder if this is better: it isn't, of course, but it is definitely in the same league. The main problem with Crank 2: High Voltage, when comparing it to the first, is that it's story is a little convoluted and pointlessly deep occasionally (a flashback scene to Chev's childhood comes to mind, complete with an odd cameo from Geri Halliwell as his mother). Some of the characters (new and old) began to grind a little by the end too and it's a little too shocking (excuse the pun) with its excessive violence sometimes (a grim encounter an elbow has with a knife comes to mind).

But the biggest draw this holds by a long way is that it is completely and utterly insane. There were times when I needed to splash my face with water to check I wasn't imagining things; a mental Godzilla fight stands out as particularly circus-like crazy and an outlandish sexual encounter on a race track (skin friction = static electricity, get it?) will be difficult to top in the inevitable sequel.

You could search through every DVD in existence and still not come close to the intense craziness of Crank 2: High Voltage. You could visit every website, reach the end of the internet and still not be close. It's on another level. Jason Statham pulls us through this with vigour though, actually commenting on how ridiculous things get at times, and I was rooting for our hero from the off.

This sequel is a wilder ride, yes, but it doesn't quite reach the heady heights of filmmaking fun that the first movie offered. It is, however, the most fun you'll have at the cinema this year - just remember to deliver all pre-disposed beliefs of reality to another continent first.