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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    High Voltage no brainer sequel

    A few years ago a charming little flick hit the screens about a seemingly indestructible, stunningly masochistic man who got his jollies by subjecting himself to increasingly implausible feats of adrenaline-pumping violence, only to walk away triumphant at the end his death-defying ordeal. That movie was called “”The Passion of the Christ””.

    Oh wait, no, it was “”Crank.”” Same idea, though.

    If you missed out on the high-def hijinks of the immortal Chev Chelios (who else but Brit badass Jason Statham?) in “”Crank,”” here’s the gist: Man gets poisoned by Asian mobsters; man needs adrenaline to survive; man gets cranked, performing improbable stunts, killing monsters, sexing Amy Smart, and eventually falling out of a helicopter; Man somehow survives, makes a sequel. “”Crank: High Voltage,”” the new uber-inappropriate sequel, takes all the sex, violence and racially insensitive wordplay of its predecessor and amps things up by making Chelios’ dubious survival dependent not on adrenaline, but electrical charge.

    As was the case with the original, the plot of “”High Voltage”” is utterly immaterial; if you can’t suspend your disbelief (and human decency) at the door, you’re watching the wrong movie. The narrative of the goofy gore-fest follows Chelios three months after his unfortunate fall from grace (and from a helicopter) as mobsters loosely affiliated with the previous film’s antagonist plunder his organs, including the legendarily indestructible “”Chelios Heart””, which is manically replaced with a battery-powered synthetic.

    When Chev wakes up, you can guess what’s on his mind. The following hour catalogs Chev’s quest to retrieve his second favorite organ, performing improbable stunts (getting jettisoned out of moving vehicles), killing mobsters (his new MO: sticking shotguns in places they really don’t belong), and sexing Amy Smart (this time at a horse race – I’m sure you can imagine the plentiful “”cowgirl”” jokes), all the while finding new, exciting ways to electrocute himself.

    There’s really nothing “”High Voltage”” provides that “”Crank”” did not, save for the graces of improved camera technology, which is a double-edged sword. The dazzling hand-held HD camera captures everything in its rawest, including stunning high def footage of Chev beating down punk-ass cops and robbers – and the gorgeous Amy Smart, who spends the majority of the film wearing little more than stripper nipple tape – along with unwanted close-ups of self-mutilation (amateur nipple removal) and unlicensed open heart surgery. Proof that beggars can’t be choosers.

    Does the good outweigh the bad and the ugly in this case? That depends entirely upon the viewer. Fans of the original and irreverent adrenaline junkies would be remiss not to see “”High Voltage,”” if they can take the time out of their busy drift racing and fight club schedules, that is. Weekend action viewers, comparative literature majors, and anyone who doesn’t possess a penis should probably stay away. To the discriminating mind, the unbelievable action, fleeting plotline and thinly-veiled misogyny might be turn-offs.

    Ultimately, Crank is a franchise that wants desperately to be a video game, and perhaps it would be best if it had only been one.

    Rating: ** 1/2

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