Reader Recommendation by Adam Brodie


FEATURING: , Amy Smart

PLOT: Chev Chelios (Statham) is an arsehole, and triads stole his heart. Now he must fight to get it back.

Still from Crank: High Voltage (2009)

WHY IT SHOULD MAKE THE LIST: The soul of oddity rests in commitment. “Weirdness” is a property of technique and the subversion of technique, of alien visuals, outlandish topics and the flouting of narrative expectations, but the use of these in isolation does not make a movie weird. Weirdness is a mood, a feeling that the world has gone off-kilter—but it is not easy to confuse the brain. The organ can dismiss odd decoration. It has a harder time with purposeful oddity, and giving the brain a hard time is the entire intent of Crank 2. This is a grimy, filthy, despicable, alienating film that intends with every frame to titillate its audience into repulsion. It is a movie that holds a middle finger up to sense, and for that reason I believe the List is lacking without it.

COMMENTS: “And all I care about is sex and violence” – Dizzee Rascal, Bonkers

Modern movies are full of sex and violence, and mostly we love every kick-ass, lecherous, heart-pumping moment of it. However, we are also aware that making broad entertainment out of hurting people and out of the most intimate of human acts is a rather sordid cultural practice. I have no idea whether Neveldine/Taylor wanted to explore this dichotomy, or whether it just sort of happened, but that is the conflict Crank 2 makes visible. This is a film of unending sex and violence, shot to be as exciting as possible, and every second of titillation is ugly as sin.

Crank 2 is set in an LA bleached of attractiveness by incessant light. The male characters are extreme stereotypes, with Statham’s Chelios growling out meaningless parodies of Cockney rhyming slang as he battles a grotesquely alien Triad member and a Latin American gangbanger tattooed from head to toe. The female characters, prostitutes all apart from Eve (who is merely an exhibitionist stripper), pass by in a parade of misogyny. The violence is horrific when it happens to nipples, and mindbending when inspired by kaiju movies. Jason Statham punches a pudgy Mexican with a porno-stache whilst on fire. Some people are moral, some people are rational, and Crank 2 will spit in all their faces. It is an ugly, foul and fantastic film, loved by the id, hated by the superego, and keeping the ego captivated with the dissonance of despicable fun.


  1. Plot: a man is given an artificial heart that must be recharged with a jolt of electricity every hour. Crank 2 came out very early in this blog’s existence and fell through the cracks in our coverage. I think if it were released today, we would be anxious to cover it as a new release.

  2. What I liked about this movie: a guy survives a thousand-foot drop, then gangsters steal his heart and replace it with a mechanical one – and there’s *absolutely* no attempt to make any of this nonsense believable. They can’t even be bothered to frame it as surrealism, it’s just a giant “fuck you” to reason and logic. This is what sets it apart from the first “Crank”, which was equally crass and loud, but still grounded in reality.

    Somehow, I think the list is incomplete without Mr. Statham.

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