17 April 2009 | DelBongo
Where Is My Strawberry Tart?
Crank 2: High Voltage practically begs to be passionately loathed by absolutely everyone, with the notable exception of antisocial teenage boys. Its rank, nihilistic tone is relentless and exhausting. The misogyny is benchmark horrendous. The acts of violence are brutal, frequent and often blatantly homoerotic. Its flippant. Its homophobic. Its vulgar. And it feels as much seething contempt for its own narrative coherence as it does for its few prominent female characters.
But there is something bracingly brilliant about it. Films this fearlessly unhinged simply do not get made any more, and thirty years ago this would've played, late at night, to packed houses for years on end, perhaps aptly bundled with the likes of John Water's Pink Flamingoes.
One fact that was suggested by the first Crank is set heroically in stone barely five minutes into its sequel - that directors Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor appear to be completely obsessed with pornography. There is a truly jaw-dropping amount of flesh on constant display, and the film's only female speaking parts belong to a prostitute and a stripper. This lends the film an air of uncomfortable, almost lavatorial sleaziness, until a bunch of actual porn stars turn up in the middle of a scene, starring as a bunch of disgruntled porn stars striking for better pay. Although it hardly passes as satire, it does seem like a sly dig in the direction of the producers that populate the Hollywood mainstream, who'd surely relish the opportunity to make films like this if only the bastard machine would let them. Balls-out exploitation it may be, but if any film lives up to cinema's ancient adage of providing its audience with relentless sex and violence, its this one.
The second half of the film is where it really flies, and chooses to disregard not only its own plot, but any care for the patience or expectations of its audience. It goes, essentially, mad. And for something that was clearly deranged in the first place, it'd be foolish for me not to offer up the only advice that will enable you to see exactly what I mean.
Go and see it.