A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this gory, envelope-pushing sequel to Crank is packed with grotesque, bloody, how-do-we-top-this? moments of extraordinary violence, conducted with a smirking, smug sense of bad-boy provocation. It ends up feeling a lot like the filmed version of a video game -- a violent, hyper-stylized, over-the-top game along the lines of Grand Theft Auto (i.e. not for kids). The entire movie is soaked in sex, violence, and slapstick -- often combining all three -- but it's hard to appreciate any of the "fun" amid all the grisly gore, partial nudity, nonstop swearing, and other mature content.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Following the events of Crank -- in which hit man Chev Chelios (Jason Statham) seemingly fell to his death from a helicopter -- CRANK: HIGH VOLTAGE picks up with Chelios waking after months in a coma to discover that his heart has been harvested for an aging Tong crimelord. Understandably upset -- and fitted with a temporary artificial heart -- Chelios goes on a rampage to get his heart back; of course, the limited battery capacity of his artificial unit means that he has to jolt himself with electricity on a regular basis to stay alive.
Is it any good?
Statham certainly deserves kudos for hurling himself into the role, and director-writers Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor earn a few points for moments of mad invention. (A fight between a hallucinating Chev and a Chinese gangster is shot and envisioned like a monster-on-monster battle from a '70s Japanese science fiction film, for one example.) But familiarity breeds content -- or, in this case, shows contempt; the first Crank may have been shocking, but the only thing shocking about Crank: High Voltage is how far it's willing to go in the name of jolting the audience in pursuit of a quick buck.
The first Crank, for all of its excess, gory violence, and sex-obsessed misogyny, at least had the virtue of being unique, down to the fact that it killed its protagonist at the end of his misadventures. Bringing Chev Chelios back may make sense financially, but it somewhat dilutes the hell-bent-for-madness lunacy of the original film.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about violence in movies. Do you think movies have gotten more violent over the years? What's the impact of seeing these types of images? Is there any value in depicting violence in brutally realistic fashion, or is it all about shock value?
Families can also discuss the fine line between satirical, comedic action/violence and going too far -- what happens when the audience stops laughing? Who decides what "too far" is?
- In theaters: April 17, 2009
- On DVD or streaming: September 8, 2009
- Cast: Amy Smart, Efren Ramirez, Jason Statham
- Directors: Brian Taylor, Mark Neveldine
- Studio: Lionsgate
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Run time: 96 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: frenetic strong bloody violence throughout, crude and graphic sexual content, nudity and pervasive language
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.