72° Good Afternoon
72° Good Afternoon

'Crank: High Voltage'

A sequel to the 2006 actioner "Crank" - a cheerfully preposterous movie in which a hit man, injected with a high-tech drug that will stop his heart, needed to keep his adrenaline pumping if he was going to live long enough to kill his poisoner - this retread amps the outrage-for-outrageousness' sake. But for all its ADD editing, it's a joyless slog.

The presumed-dead Chev Chelios (Jason Statham) has survived the last film's fall from a helicopter, only to have Chinese gangsters harvest his heart for their aged leader ( David Carradine, unrecognizable under makeup). Saddled with an artificial heart that needs continual recharging with jumper cables, a Taser, what have you, he has to track down his missing organ so that Doc Miles (a returning Dwight Yoakam) can re-implant it. His girlfriend Eve (Amy Smart) and others are also back.

True to its title, "Crank: High Voltage" cranks everything up so much that whatever gave you a charge before now just delivers nasty shocks - emphasis on nasty. Filled with more skank than crank, it's a parade of hookers, strippers and real-life porn stars; a reprise of the first film's graphic public-sex scene; and a man forced to slice off his own nipples.

Theater-of-the-absurd subversion? No. The movie just self-consciously snickers, with ham-fisted homages to the "Kiss Me Deadly"/"Pulp Fiction" briefcase, the Japanese monster movie "War of the Gargantuas," and videogames, with a maze shoot-out in which Chelios kills anonymous enemies and collects weapons. But none of it's any fun.

And just in case you were wondering: John de Lancie (Q on "Star Trek: The Next Generation") and former Spice Girl Geri Halliwell have uncredited cameos.


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