Chev Chelios was dead, but he got better.
Jason Statham returns as the lead in "Crank: High Voltage", and in every way this sequel breaks the rules and pushes the bar to insane new levels, sometimes even a bit too far.
Three months after his "helicopter incident", Chelios awakens to see that Chinese black-market surgeons are slicing his famed "Chelios Heart" out (made famous by the fact that it kept beating after the events of the first film), and replacing it with a surrogate artificial heart, so they can keep him alive while they farm more of his organs.
Chelios escapes and discovers he has a whole new set of problems- his heart is connected to an external battery pack. When this battery pack runs out of juice, he only has one hour before his artificial heart stops and he dies. And of course one of the first things that happens is that his battery pack is smashed! Now Chelios has to keep his artificial heart beating with regular volts of electricity to recharge it, using anything he can- car power outlets, jumper cables, power stations, stun-guns- whatever he can get his hands on.
His goal- track down psychotic criminal Johnny Vang, who is seemingly parading around Chelios's heart in a miniature cooler, and get it back, so old friend and medical expert Doc Miles (Dwight Yoakam in a returning role as the man who lets the audience know exactly what's going on) can put it back in.
Chelios is also being tracked by sadistic criminals sent by "El Huron", a crime lord who has some devious connections to Chelios and his past actions.
This film has a very convoluted plot, but like the first one, it works out rather well. One particular thing I enjoyed is that we spend a little more time with subsequent and secondary characters, like Chev's girlfriend Eve (the sexy Amy Smart), Venus (Efron Ramirez portraying the brother to his slain character Laylo from the first film), and other characters that come up. It just adds to the plot, and gives it more reality, in contrast to the literal circus of Mayhem that Mr. Chev Chelios is stirring up.
Speaking of returning characters, this film certainly has a lot of cameos from characters from movie number one, which was a delight for me as a fan. Fans of the first "Crank", you'll definitely get a kick out of some of the cameos in this entry.
Now, onto the psychotic weirdness of the film. If you've seen the first film, you'll know it used strange tactics, like subtitles, graphics, and nightmarish imagery to put you inside of the heads of the characters. This film expands on that, by using and abusing subtitles, insane graphics, medical films, and more on a fairly regular basis. We even get a hilarious pseudo-flashback of sorts, and it is one of the most abrupt and brilliant segues I've ever seen to bridge two scenes.
And on that note, I should mention that this film does play for laughs a lot more than the first film. In fact, there are scenes specifically written to play for laughs more than for actions. As a fan, that may sound disheartening (sorry, had to make a heart pun), but trust me, it works. The film definitely teeters on self-satire at times (including a uproariously funny line of dialog where Eve swipes at fans who would call Chev surviving the first film "impossible"), but it keeps it's balance and lets us know that its not taking itself too seriously, so the comedy fits right in.
Writers/Directors Neveldine / Taylor also step the visuals up a notch. While not as haggard visually as the first film, this follow-up does have some pretty visuals, and is better-directed in terms of camera placement and editing in my opinion, and it fits right in with the first one. Their script is also to be commended for being so bold, with bizarre characters (I didn't even mention David Carradine going all "Charlie Chan"!), insane story lines, and one of the most over-the-top and unexpected finales I've seen in a long time. This isn't just an action movie, it's Looney Toons for grown-ups! It's the action equivalent of what "Evil Dead II" was to horror! It's brilliant in it's execution and definitely a step in the right direction for a sequel to "Crank"- not too serious.
This film literally left me in awe with its lunacy and action. If you loved the first film, then there's almost no way you won't love this entry.
I give "Crank: High Voltage" an 8 out of 10, because like the first film, it's the ultimate rush, and now it's even the ultimate source for laughs! Give this one a shot, you'll love it!