Crank 2: High Voltage - Fully Charged [Blu-ray]
Blu-ray A - America - Lions Gate Home Entertainment
Review written by and copyright: Noor Razzak (26th September 2009).
The Film

I'm going to take a cue from the IMDB boards and list the 10 things (instead of 100... that's just too much for this review, although not impossible to list) that I've learned from having watched this film... just to illustrate how brainless and retarded this movie is... and if you haven't seen this film I'd suggest skipping this section as it does feature some spoilers and going straight for the review below... so lets begin:

1) If you're Chev Chelios you can survive a free fall from a helicopter.
2) Police are dumb, donut chomping stereotypes that can never catch their perp.
3) Electric shock is an everyday annoyance for Chev, but he manages it.
4) Skin-and-bone thin Asian prostitutes can survive a full contact hit from a speeding car.
5) You can have sex at a racetrack and the entire crowd of thousands will cheer you on.
6) Not a single person after Chev can actually shoot worth a damn, either that or Chev is so fast you can't even see him dodge the thousands of bullets that came his way.
7) Ginger Spice is Chev Chelios' mother.
8) Everyone in this film is either super sweaty or they have all bathed in vaseline.
9) You can keep a head alive with plastic tubing, a tank of formaldehyde and fictional technology.
10) No one and no thing can beat Chev Chelios... not even fire can beat him.

That's really just a taster of what you can expect when watching "Crank 2: High Voltage", if you've read my review of the first film (here) you will see that I wasn't exactly a fan of the film. My sentiments haven't exactly changed for this film follow-up. It's yet another in a line of stupid, over-the-top, brainless action films that cater to the lower common denominator. The filmmakers know this, and thus the film doesn't aspire to be anything more than that... they know their genre and their demographic and exploit it well. There's some comfort in knowing that this film is what it is and doesn't pretend to be anything else. That way viewers will know exactly what to expect and if you liked the first installment then chances are you'll like this film too.

"Crank 2: High Voltage" follows our hyperactive action junkie ex-hit man Chev Chelios (Jason Statham), after surviving a fatal fall from a helicopter, he's abducted by the Chinese mafia, his heart removed and replaced by an artificial heart. Chev's heart has become the thing of legend after surviving the dangerous concoction he was injected with in the first film. Chev, sans heart but sporting a new artificial one, is pissed off and wants it back. What ensues is a breakneck pursuit of the gangsters that have his heart, the only problem is that a bunch of Mexican gangsters are after Chev, which complicates things. His revenge spree is further complicated by his girlfriend, Eve (Amy Smart), a crazy Asian prostitute, Ria (Bai Ling), and Kaylo's brother, Venus (Efren Ramirez).

Matching the first film's style with the ADHD editing, the pounding rock soundtrack and the multitudes of strobing, flash cuts, slow-mo's, freeze-frames and just about every other gimmick you can think of that adds a hyper-sensitive tone to the entire picture, for some it can be rather nauseating, and for others a fun time. I have to admit that while I didn't actually like the film as a whole there were elements that actually worked for me. The begin with I love the old school video game intro (just like the first film), the strip club sequence was actually fun and exciting and Dwight Yoakam as Doc Miles makes a welcomed return here as well in what is possible the least annoying (and funniest) character in the entire film.

The best way to describe this film is if you take a regular action film, then fill it with cocaine, drown it in Red Bull, inject it with steroids and then set it on fire... then you'd have "Crank 2: High Voltage", a loud and nauseatingly annoying, incredibly vulgar and occasionally tasteless waste of 95 minutes. However, it is everything it's supposed to be and nothing more, so fans will not be disappointed. This reviewer though, needs to watch something meaningful and inspiring now...

Video

Presented in the film's original theatrical ratio of 1.85:1 in high-definition 1080p 24/fps and mastered in AVC MPEG-4 compression. Shot with HD cameras and taken from the original digital source this image is astoundingly brilliant looking. This film, much like the first, totally shines on Blu-ray with cutting sharpness and crisp detail. The image is infinite in depth, features bold and vivid colors and textures look incredible. Everything looks squeaky clean and polished, the detail is what stands out the most from the gravel on the road to the stubble on Statham's face is clear. Black levels are bold and deep, grain is non-existent in this splendid transfer that presents the film with the best possible presentation. For all intents and purposes this image is reference quality material that can certainly be used to show off your HD set-up.

Audio

Two audio tracks are featured in either English DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 surround mixed at 48kHz/24-bit as well as a French Dolby Digital 5.1 track. For the purposes of this review I chose to view the film with its DTS-HD audio and much like the terrific image is the equally terrific audio track that is an audio equivalent of being punched in the face. The dialogue is clear and distortion free, but it's the action scenes, music and aggressive nature of this audio track that truly shine. The ambient sounds are plentiful and immersive, the action scenes pop off the screen with strong and realistic sounds that present gun shots, crashed and punches with weight and depth. The music is rocking and occasionally overwhelming, in any case this track is totally immersive, loud and will certainly put your surround sound set-up through an intensive workout.
Optional subtitles are included in English for the hearing impaired, French and Spanish.

Extras

Lionsgate releases this film as a "Fully Charged" edition 2-disc set with a collection of extras that includes an audio commentary, a documentary, a featurette, gag reel, theatrical trailer, bonus trailers, a collection of exclusive BD-Live extras, a picture-in-picture video commentary and a digital copy of this film. Below is a closer look at these supplements.

DISC ONE:

First up is a feature-length audio commentary by writers/directors Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor. These two take us through the usual journey in this track covering the production, story elements, casting, shooting and various other topics. It's a fairly informative production track and features some insightful tidbits, anecdotes among other things. I found the technical elements of this track particularly interesting in regards to the cameras they used for the filming and the many special effects, both practical and CG based.

A 2-part "Making Crank 2" documentary is next. This feature can be viewed either separately or with a 'play all' option. This intensive feature takes a candid and in-depth look at the production. It features some excellent behind-the-scenes footage and plenty of interviews from cast and crew about their involvement in the film. We get a look at the location shooting in these clips (the most interesting aspects of this documentary) and fans will likely enjoy learning about the background of the production. The parts of this documentary are:

- "Part 1" which runs for 26 minutes 43 seconds.
- "Part 2" which runs for 24 minutes 20 seconds.

"Crank 2: Take 2" is a short featurette which runs for 4 minutes 3 seconds. This clip takes a closer look at the film's shooting style. I would have liked a meatier clip here as this feature ends just as soon as it starts.

Next up is the wrap party gag reel which runs for 3 minutes 26 seconds, this clip was edited together and presented at the film's wrap party, hence the title. It features the usual line flubs, missed cues and such things normally accustomed with gag reels.

There's also the film's original theatrical trailer which runs for 2 minutes 32 seconds.

Also there are some bonus trailers for:

- "More Than A Game" which runs for 2 minutes 32 seconds.
- "Transporter 3" which runs for 1 minute 12 seconds.
- "Crank" which runs for 1 minute 58 seconds.
- "Punisher: War Zone" which runs for 1 minute 38 seconds.
- "Rambo" which runs for 1 minute.

The disc also features a collection of Blu-ray exclusive extras that include:

- "Crank'd Out" BonusView picture-in-picture video commentary for profile 1.1 players or greater. This is an expanded version of the audio commentary and features more in-depth clips that pop-up during the film as we get more of a look behind-the-scenes and features interviews with more of the cast and crew. This is much more effective and enjoyable experience that the standard commentary.

- MoLog interactive feature is accessible for those with a profile 2.0 player only and connected to the Internet via Ethernet cable, this BD-Live features allows you access to the “LG LIVE” Lionsgate online portal and you download the following features:

- “LG Gadgets” gives viewers the option to check out news, weather and clock with an interactive dashboard.
- “Twitter/Facebook Integration" allows viewers to access these options while watching the movie and you can update people on your status.
- “Ringtones” film specific tones are also available so that you can download them.
- “Wallpapers” same deal, movie specific wallpaper is available to download.

You can also bookmark your favorite scenes from the film.

DISC TWO:

Is a digital copy of the film.

Overall

The Film: D Video: A+ Audio: A+ Extras: C Overall: C+

 


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