April 28, 2009

Weekend In Reviews

Better late than never.

Crank - I didn't actually watch Crank this weekend but since I've seen it many times, I'll go ahead and give it a quick review as a companion piece to my review of the sequel.

Chev Chelios (Jason Statham) is dosed by a Mexican mobster with a Chinese poison that requires him to keep his heart rate way up or he'll die. It's like the premise of Speed except Jason Statham is the bus in this case. He runs, he huffs nasal spray, he defibrillates himself, he has sex with his girlfriend (Amy Smart) on a busy street, he beats the shit out of people, he consults his doctor (Dwight Yokham) for other ideas, and he shoots people.

The body count is high, the plot is THIN. At the end he jumps out of a helicopter, bounces off a car and lands face down in the middle of a street...then blinks. The end.

It is not great cinema. It's completely ridiculous, cheesy, stupid, awful cinema actually. It is as if the story were written by a particularly aggressive chimpanzee with ADHD - it's schizophrenic and poorly thought out, not remotely intelligent and utterly dissolves under the slightest scrutiny. But the action is undeniably exciting and the commitment to cheese of the entire cast, crew and director makes the movie pure entertainment. They know they're making a stupid movie but they get better than anyone that that is the beauty of it. They want you to laugh your ass off between decapitations and explosions and hard-on sight gags. They want your head to spin so fast from the fast-cut action and violence that you don't care there is no reason at all for any of it. And damn if they don't succeed on every single level.

Crank High Voltage - Having enjoyed the first Crank to a shameful degree I went with Heather to see the sequel in the theater on Saturday. Right out of the gate the childish giggling started and it was a non-stop blast until the very last credit ran.

It seems that a thousand foot fall and bounce off of an Oldsmobile is not nearly as deadly as it used to be as it's revealed in the opening scene that Chev was literally shoveled off the pavement by a mysterious Asian gang, and taken to a whore house (natch) to receive open heart surgery which he happened to be awake for. They took his heart (to give to a zillion-year-old Chinese bad-ass played by David Caradine) and left him with a battery operated faux pumper. Just as they're preparing to harvest his (no doubt extremely valuable) penis, Chev calls bull-shit and beats his way out of the place on the hunt for his "strawberry tart" which is, apparently, British slang for heart.

He suffers run-ins with any number of complete nutbars on his quest to find his pumper and get it back where it belongs. Bai Ling is the world's most annoying whore, and I swear to you, that isn't just me throwing non-sequiter insults at the actress - she actually plays the world's most annoying whore in the movie. Amy Smart returns as Chev's girlfriend who has apparently turned to stripping since the supposed death of her crazy-hot boyfriend. She works for a mulletted Cory Haim and that is just as awesomely bad as it sounds. Dwight Yokham is also back as Doc Miles and, despite Statham's incredible gorgeousness, Yokham might be my favorite thing about the whole movie. There are no words to describe the joy I get from his a simple delivery of lines like, "Don't make Doc get up and choke a bitch."

I'm not going to beat around the bush, there is some disgusting shit that happens in this movie. Chev axle greases up the barrel of a shotgun and anally rapes a rather large, tattoo-assed man with it. The head muscle from a Mexican mob cuts off both of his own nipples. A man keeps his brother's severed head in a tank of water. If you're not a fan of naked boobs, you're going to want to skip this movie because there are approximately eleven million breasts. There are probably other horrors which I've chosen to block out, too. Who remembers. What I do recall is that there is a lot more public fornication in the sequel and they've made it ever more graphic and silly and hilarious to watch.

Heather and I laughed our asses off and we stayed clean through to the bitter end of the credits just to see the few outtakes that they peppered throughout. I enjoyed the movie just as much as the first one. Even more for the fact that we came away with two great additions to our lexicon: "Bing fucking Crosby" and "Chicken. And. Broccoli." What do they mean? I have no idea. That's kind of the beauty of both the lines and the movie.

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