The JOE-DOWN Reviews ‘Crank: High Voltage’

Welcome to the JOE-DOWN, a back-and-forth movie review blog by two snarky newspapermen named Joe from Minnesota, Joe Froemming and Joe Brown. We will take turns selecting a movie — any movie we want — and review it here. For this installment, Froemming picked “Crank: High Voltage.”

The info:

The‌‌ ‌‌Movie:‌‌ ‌‌‌‌“Crank: High Voltage”‌‌ ‌‌‌

Starring:‌‌ Jason Statham, Amy Smart, Clifton Collins Jr.

Director:‌‌‌‌ Mark Neveldine, Brian Taylor

Plot‌‌ ‌‌Summary:‌‌‌‌ ‌‌(From‌‌ ‌‌IMDB)‌‌ Chelios faces a Chinese mobster who has stolen his nearly indestructible heart and replaced it with a battery-powered ticker which requires regular jolts of electricity to keep working.

Rotten‌‌ ‌‌Tomatoes‌‌ ‌‌Rating:‌‌ 65 percent‌‌ ‌

Our take:

Froemming: We are not done with Chev Chelios.

Last week, Brown blew my mind by introducing me to one of the greatest movies ever made, “Crank.” It ended on sequel bait with our hero plummeting to his death, only to open his eyes and we hear a heartbeat. Because like we said in that review, Chev Chelios punched in the God Mode cheat in that movie.

And I wanted more. Like Chev downing energy drinks in that last movie, I am downing the world of “Crank” at a feverish pace. 

The question going into a sequel like this is: Does it top the first?

That is what we are about to find out.

Brown, as I ponder the health code violations of someone ashing their cigarette into an open body cavity during heart surgery, why don’t you give us your first impressions?

Brown: I’m still in shock by what we saw last week. I had no idea if they could top the sheer lunacy of the first “Crank.”

I mean, shit, Chev Chelios fell out of a helicopter. That seems like a finite ending. And yet, here we are, discussing the (REDACTED) sequel. 

I knew there was a sequel. I knew it had something to do with electricity. And… that’s about it. I opined last week that I thought the script for “Crank” was written by teenagers. 

After seeing “Crank: High Voltage,” I think this movie was written by several teenagers. Probably stacked on top of each other in a trench coat like Vincent Adultman

Froemming, get us started while I try to lick multiple batteries. 

Froemming: The movie opens where the last one ended, Chev having just fallen on top of a car, bouncing off said car, and landing flat on the pavement. After falling out of a helicopter. This movie slaps the real world in the face and dares it to try and make sense of it.

A van pulls up, and with a shovel, hired goons scoop Chev into the van and it takes off.

Brown: Couple things. 

  • Why bring the shovel? It’s not like they’re scooping up Chev Chelios’ viscera. Dude was perfectly intact and not at all stuck to the pavement. Even after he fell out of a goddamn helicopter. 
  • Where are you buying a snow shovel in southern California? 

Froemming: I will let Michael Bay answer these questions.

Then we get a newscast, hosted by poor Donald Margolis, who was fired from his job as an air traffic controller after Walter White watched his daughter OD.

Yes, I am claiming the Crank movies exist in the Breaking Bad universe. It would not be the most improbable thing to believe in these films.

Brown: Yeah… I need to stop thinking that we’re watching anything in the real world. The movie opening with video game graphics is a sign that we’re going to watch something somehow more insane than any “Grand Theft Auto” or “Saints Row” game. 

After getting picked up, we suddenly get Chev Chelios under the knife in a makeshift operating room. While Chev is going through open-heart surgery, a Chinese man, Johnny Vang, walks in, cigarette in hand. I figured smoking in an OR was a big problem. And then he FLICKED ASHES into Chev Chelios’ open chest cavity while they remove his heart and replace it with an artificial heart. 

Froemming: I believe his surgeon is Kano.

Brown: By the way, while Chev’s heart has been removed, he’s still conscious and watches as his heart is replaced. 

Look, like Mac with stars, I don’t know enough about heart surgery to dispute that. 

Now, removing a man’s heart is one thing. But Chev is recovering. However, shit hits the fan and the blood-thirsty Chev Chelios returns after he finds out the next body part these mystery doctors are going to remove is his *sigh* gigantic penis. 

Froemming: Yeah, they mention it, but like The Gang, I was asking:

Brown: Shortly after the fight in the OR, we get our first pair of bare breasts. 

We are six minutes into the movie, by the way. 

FOUR minutes later, we see Chev Chelios lube up and shove a shotgun up a man’s butt. 

*Sigh* This movie is as subtle as Chev Chelios’ gigantic penis. 

Froemming: And just as magestic my friend. 

See, he needs to know where his strawberry tart is, and I will forever believe this is how British people refer to their heart. And apparently Johnny Vang, the smoker in the OR from before, has it. And he is apparently at the Cypress Social Club. According to his recently sodomized-by-gun hired goon.

Chev calls his good doctor Dwight Yoakam (do not take medical advice from Dwight Yoakam) to find out what he has in his system. The doctor rattles off some nonsense so smug elitists like Neil deGrasse Tyson doesn’t tweet about how that does not make sense. Joke is on the movie, though, because nothing in this makes any sense. At all.

Chev then gets into a street race with some dudes. He then smashes up his car, because he is not paying attention to the road, or maybe Otto mistook him for a gremlin. And when they pull up to see if he is OK (he is, he is in God Mode) he asks for a jump.

And he jumps his chest with their car’s battery.

Brown: I wish “Mythbusters” were still on the air to discuss how ludicrous, well, EVERYTHING is in these two movies. It would drive Jamie and Adam to drinking. 

I wrote in my notes that Chev should be (REDACTED) deader than disco after he Superman’d through the windshield and landed on the pavement. Then I remembered, oh yeah, he survived falling out of a helicopter with only a scratch. 

Well, he crashed his car at a perfect spot because he is right by the Cypress Social Club. 

How do we know this? They bring back the (REDACTED) Google Maps cuts!

These movies are hilariously stupid. 

When Chev enters the Cypress Social Club, it goes as well for the people in the Fargo hotel when Lorne Malvo shows up. 

Now, that’s intense enough. And unfortunately for Chev Chelios, Johnny Vang gets away. But we get EVEN MORE violence when we watch a young woman *checks notes* bash a bicycle into a man’s balls so much he’s bleeding through his jeans. 

Froemming: She is also screaming some of the strangest, most racist, homophobic insults I have ever heard at this guy she is beating with said bicycle. Beating his dick with that bicycle.

Brown: This woman, Ria, is SO grateful to Chev for saving her that she dry humps him and begs to screw him. 

This… may be the most racially insensitive movie we’ve watched since “Soul Man.”

Froemming: Oh yeah. She sounds like the prostitute in “Full Metal Jacket” on speed, steroids and LSD. 

But Ria does know where Johnny Vang is going: To the strip club. Because this movie, like the last one, really enjoys its bewbs. And Ria goes with Chev, because I guess why the (REDACTED) not at this point. 

I am also starting to suspect Johnny Vang has a sex addiction if he is always at whore houses and strip clubs, with a cooler with this movie’s baffling Macguffin.

Brown: Well, we’re led to believe it’s Chev’s heart. It isn’t. But we’ll get there soon.

Also, these two movies posit that men don’t go ANYWHERE that doesn’t have readily-accessible bewbs. 

In the back of the strip club, we see a meeting between Mexican mobsters and Johnny Vang. Both groups want Chev Chelios dead. Somebody gets their elbow sliced off. It’s all kind of gross. 

Froemming: That scene told me Chinese people apparently do not eat sushi, that is more of a Japanese thing. Like Mac with stars, I don’t know enough about sushi, Japanese culture and Chinese culture to dispute that. 

Brown: Chev walks into the club and Billy Squire’s “The Stroke” comes over the PA. That’s… about on the nose as I’d expect anything in this movie.

Froemming: Look, if you use that song I expect Billy Madison to show up.

Brown: I will say, this club is still more classy than Sugar Daddies in Sauk Rapids. 

Turns out, the stripper performing is Chev’s main squeeze, Eve. 

Froemming, do strippers routinely work a topless club with electric tape Xs over their nipples? Because that’s what Eve does here. 

Froemming: You’re the one talking about Sugar Daddies, chief. I’m not some pervert who goes to strip clubs. 

*nervously wipes sweat from brow, hopes our buddy Kai never reads this to dispute that*

Eve becoming a stripper was the strangest way to put our favorite clueless character from the first movie into this one. But seeing how this movie treats just about everyone who is not a white dude, it tracks. 

Brown: I also have to ask, Froemming: Up to this point, how long were you expecting it to be from when Chev survived falling out of the helicopter to where we’re at now? The way this movie was shot, I swore it was the very next day. But no, Eve reveals that Chev’s been gone for three months and that’s why she’s stripping. 

Froemming: I thought it was the next day as well. Three months seems a long time for heart surgery. Also, if I go without hearing from you for three months, I will also become a stripper.

Brown: I imagine you being like Bang-Bang Bart. 

We get a shootout in the strip club. At one point, a stripper gets shot in the chest and *checks notes* her implants leak out and she gets more and more flat-chested.

Froemming: That is up there for the weirdest thing I have ever seen in a movie.

Brown: No argument here, my dude. 

We should mention that the artificial heart Chev has runs on electricity. It started with a battery pack that broke during his car crash. Now, Chev is needing to constantly electrify himself in order to stay alive. Throughout the movie, we see him get a jump from a car, absorb shocks from stun guns and cattle prods and touching live wires. 

… How do the rest of Chev’s organs deal with this, exactly? Sure, his heart is beating, but I feel like his brain would be fried or something. 

… There I go again, trying to argue the science of this movie. 

Froemming: He, like other dude bros, has the power of Chumbawamba.

Well, after the shootout, the cops show up. One of the only times in these movies when they actually do. Only they are easily stopped by Chev, who licks a stun gun and goes into RAMPAGE MODE.

This part is where GTA and this movie become one and the same. Synergy I think they call it. 

Brown: We can go more old school than “GTA.” This may as well be the music that plays after Chev Chelios gets a jolt of electricity. 

Froemming: And he steals a cop car that has Eve and another stripper in the backseat. A stripper who, for some reason, can’t take “no” from Eve for an answer. And, good for Eve, she finally got a cellphone. Which she hides in her g-string? I am assuming that is where it came from. 

Brown: I find it best to just stop questioning the things that happen in the Crank universe. 

Because we need a bunch of cameos that I can’t research on a work computer, Chev and Eve drive right through a porn industry strike. Ron Jeremy and others are here thankfully (in Ron’s case) keeping their clothes on as they make sex puns. 

Froemming: Well, some do not keep all their clothes on.

Brown: This movie was written by an army of teenagers standing on each others’ shoulders and hiding in a trench coat. 

Chev eventually makes his way to the Hollywood Park horse racing track, where Johnny Vang is supposedly hiding out. 

Needing some juice for his fading heart, the doc tells Chev to use friction. He does this by *checks notes* grinding on a grandma and rubbing his arms all over Chester Bennington of Linkin Park? 

Well, once the word “friction” was introduced, it was only a matter of time before we got Chev and Eve humping in public again. 

And this time it’s more… graphic. They…

And the final shot of the entire scene is a horse jumping over Chev and Eve and… 

I just threw my arms up while watching this scene. My words, they left me. 

Froemming: Well, Chev sees Vang and once again, blue balls Eve in public. And she is then hosed down by some guy. 

Vang escapes and Chev is picked up by Don Kim, the guy who everyone thought Chev killed in the first movie. Kim tells Chev his boss Poon Dong needed a heart transplant, and so he gave the old man Chev’s ticker. Not sure how Kim thought this would end, because if he had been paying attention to *waves arms around* everything up to this point, he would know he was a dead man.

And he is. Chev kills everyone in this car. Don Kim fell for the old “explain everything and die” trope that has killed so many Bond villains over the years.

Brown: It should be mentioned that Poon Dong is played by David Carradine. 

… Sure, why not?

Froemming: Chev is gonna…Kill Bill.


Along with the dilemma with Johnny Vang, we have another gang leader to hunt down. We get the brother of Chev’s dead friend Kaylo, Venus, on the hunt for a man called “The Ferret.” This man also wants Chev dead. Venus, he wants revenge for his his brother after the Ferret’s brother, Ricky Verona, killed Kaylo. 

There’s not much to say about Venus aside from this movie is real homophobic about the characters and he apparently has full-body tourettes? That doesn’t feel like a real condition but like Mac with stars, I don’t know enough about tourettes to dispute that. 

We get introduced to the Ferret, who makes one of his gangsters perform an act of fealty by slicing both of his nipples off…

… Sure, why not? The action for this movie kicks off at the suggestion of Chev Chelios’ castration. So this feels on brand. 

Froemming: Chev, in need of juice, jumps into an ambulance and demands a new battery pack thingy for his artificial tart. This feels like a callback to the first movie where he menaced Dennis Reynolds at the ER.

Because it is. Chev gets into a shootout with Vang around this time, the bullet bounces off many random items like a Rube Goldberg machine, and hits Dennis in the head as he is in therapy with his horny therapist.

Brown: Therapy hasn’t always gone well for Dennis Reynolds. 

Also, his horny therapist is Lauren Holly, which caught me all sorts of off-guard. The cameos in this movie are… eccentric. 

And yes, Dennis Reynolds meets his bloody demise in the most shocking shooting since Kermit the Frog at the hands (paws) of Ginger. 

Froemming: Could be worse, could be gunned down by the Bemidji Police Department.

Brown: After a LONG wait for that bullet joke to pay off, we get a fight between Chev and Johnny Vang. And after Chev gets shocked by some high voltage, the fight goes full surreal. The two battle like a Godzilla movie with their faces looking straight out of the “Wynona’s Big Brown Beaver” music video.

Chev gets the upper hand and gets Johnny Vang to open the cooler to reveal… well, it’s not Chev’s heart. We don’t get to know what’s in there. All we get is Chev talking about how sick Johnny Vang is for carrying around such a thing. 

Froemming: It is “Stupid Pulp Fiction!”

Brown: It turns out that Poon Dong got Chev’s heart weeks ago, so now he needs to get his ticker from the chest cavity of an old, old man. That’s about to (REDACTED) a prostitute that just so happens to be the doc’s secretary. Named Dark Chocolate. Because this movie is written by teenagers chugging Mtn Dew. 

Froemming: Chev is knocked out by someone named Chico, and we get a dream sequence where we see Chev as a little kid

Brown: Also, Chev’s mom is (REDACTED) Ginger Spice.

Froemming: The dream is Lil’ Chev on a British version of the Maury Povich Show. With his Spice Girls mom. And we see he has been a bastard sunofabitch his whole life. I am not sure what any of this adds to the movie beyond confusing the audience even more, to a point where we believe there is no topping what we saw already. 

Chev wakes up being dragged behind a speed boat heading to Catalina Island, where the movie will top in weirdness what we have seen so far.

Brown: Weird shit happens at the (REDACTED) Catalina Wine Mixer. 

Chev is brought to the mansion of the Ferret, who reveals that he’s the brother of Ricky and Alex Verona (the Kirkland Brand Steven Seagal from the first movie). And if that’s not enough, the Ferret went full “Futurama” and is keeping Ricky Verona’s head alive in a fish tank. It’s like finding Mother Brain in “Metroid” on NES. The head even says “(REDACTED) you, Chelios” in underwater gargles. 

Well, Venus shows up with a whole lotta backup to get his revenge on the Ferret. So, we get another epic showdown that has Ricky Verona’s sentient head taken out of its fish tank and thrown into a pool. 

Running out of time, Chev’s heart starts to give out again. But he apparently has enough energy to climb up an electric pole and gets hit with so much electricity that he’s literally on fire. 

Chev Chelios may as well be transforming into the Ghost Rider. 

Froemming: After he beats the life out of The Ferret with his bare hands, like Homer Simpson beating the life out of the Krusty Burglar…

… Chev hallucinates hardcore, seeing Ria as Eve, and has loud sex that pretty much burns her alive. Which, I mean….holy shit.

Chev then walks toward the camera and gives us all the middle finger, which tracks. He is also looking like the burned side of Harvey Dent at this point. 

Brown: The fire effects are bad enough to fit into the “Birdemic” universe. 

The movie goes into credits. But during the credits, we get scenes where the doc takes out Chev’s replacement heart and puts in the original. But Chev flatlines after the surgery, leading us to believe he’s dead. 

… Except the bandaged-up Chev wakes up and begins his life as The Invisible Man!

Froemming: He looks like The Mountain after he became a zombie.

Brown, let’s hijack an ambulance down to recommendations!


Froemming: Yup. Yes I would. 

Brown: This movie is less charming than the original and MUCH more abrasive. But yeah, I’d recommend it as a stupid popcorn movie.

Here is what’s coming up for the next JOE-DOWN

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