Movies take themselves way too seriously nowadays. Too much emphasis is placed on hidden meanings, metaphors, and stuff that only an “educated viewer” should understand. I have a soft spot in my heart for movies that hide nothing, and don’t strive to over deliver on meaningful content.
The biggest soft spot in my heart is reserved for the Crank movies, the original simply being titled Crank, and the sequel, Crank 2: High Voltage. For those unfamiliar with the series, Jason Statham plays Chev Chelios, a gun for hire that is targeted for death. In both movies, the gimmick is that he has to perform ridiculous feats of strength, stamina, and vulgarity to stay alive. In the first movie, he is injected with poison, referred to throughout the movie as “Chinese shit,” and must keep the flow of adrenaline constant in order to stay alive.
In the second movie, his heart is removed and replaced with an artificial one, and he must keep his body electrically charged to stave off death. But, the plot really isn’t important in these movies. They’re all about turning off your brain and watching Jason Statham beat the shit out of everyone he meets, while extending the proverbial and literal middle finger almost constantly.
The movies don’t promise anything else, and if you’re looking for sophisticated, look elsewhere by all means. But if you think you can spare a few IQ points, I would highly recommend giving them a watch.
The Finer Things is a semi-regular Gateway feature when our Arts & Culture writers talk about why they love really crappy movies like Crank and Crank 2: High Voltage.