Crank: High Voltage (2009)

(In theaters, April 2009) I remain severely conflicted about this film: While I admire its go-for-broke audacity, it carries along the unpleasant smell of moral decay. I’m a sucker for any kind of cinematic experimentation, especially in the action genre –but there was a clear moment in the film, as a stripper’s fake breasts start pouring silicone from a well-placed gunshot, that I realized that my moral integrity was being forever tainted by the excesses of this picture and everything it represents about the state of contemporary cinema. This film is about movement and thrills: its human characters are mere flesh puppets to abuse in the pursuit of ever-more nihilistic visual flashes. Sure, Ling Bai is a whirlwind dervish, and Jason Statham is just as solid as ever. But little is redeemable about this film, not when it sacrifices basic logic and decency in the pursuit of cheap laughs and gross-out moments. Most will agree that Crank 2 is fantasy cinema, and various elements such as a character running around with an artificial heart, fighting like Godzilla and throwing away disembodied heads will only underscore this. Yet there are moment in this film that can’t be unseen, and it may not be too late for a moment of stark moral reflexion: This film only enables the next and worse step that will push the boundary of moral disgust even further. Have I really written this review? Crap, I’m getting old.

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