Why did I watch Crank: High Voltage?

Death must be an illusion because otherwise, why would I be winding down a weekend and burning hours of my precious single life by watching Crank 2?

In the original CRANK, underrated comedic talent Jason Statham was a cranky person who had a heart problem… or something. I don’t remember a lot about it. Someone gave him a terrible heart? Somehow? And then said “Oh, if your heart stops you die” just like happens to every other person whose heart stops, so Mr. Cranky says hisĀ catchphrase “Time to get cranky!” and then he runs around L.A. getting into terrifying danger so his heart beats really fast.

It’s so intense the camera people shake the camera a lot.

At the end of the movie he falls out of the sky and hits the ground and is dead.

Anyway. Cue starting credits as we watch what I have to assume will be 2 hours of watching Mr. Cranky’s body get scraped up, brought to a morgue, interred, etc. etc. because where else can this beloved franchise go but an exploration of how Los Angeles civil service deals with human remains?

Among the many ways I’m an idiot:

I knew, sitting down, that this film was a masculinist cartoon. A dumb power fantasy. So my brain powered down as the film picks up seconds after the scene that ended the previous film: Mr. Cranky hitting pavement and dying.

But some people pick him up and operate on him and remove his heart– which was such an important part of CRANK– and put in a plastic one. Mr. Cranky weaves in and out of consciousness until our first bit of lad’s humor arrives and it’s revealed the next “organ” he’s to lose is his generative unit, at which point he remembers his only character traits are to grimace and murder, which he does.

So far, so… “good.”

There’s a yellow electrode box at his waist that’s probably running his new fake heart and as he sneaks out of his organ-harvest hospice, he finds the other rooms feature acts of prostitution, and he reaches in to steal some john’s clothes.

And at this point, my brain perks up again and objects. “How could he know that prostitute-hiring fellow wears pants his size? What are the odds?”

NOW you want to talk plausibility, brain? NOW?

Okay, this violence-cartoon just got its first unforced laugh out of me. Mr. Cranky (without even giving his trademark “It’s cranky time!” battle cry) goes into a house and the house starts spontaneously jettisoning stuntmen out windows and doors.

And some wag crew member from upstairs chucks a latex arm out the window. Then a fake head.

Fun with props.

This movie may be overstuffed with sexism and racism, but at least all the multicultural villains are able to talk to each other in their native languages and be understood. The guy with the MS13 face tattoos perfectly understands the triad guy’s Chinese.

They’re all terrible stereotypes, but they /communicate/.

This is probably the film that America should put on the next Voyager mission to represent our decadent, failing culture.

Mr. Cranky just got into a gun fight with gang members in a strip club. These gang members were established as being in a back room, so presumably own/run the club.

And yet, as soon as bullets start flying, and with no explanation given (or perhaps required), one of the pole dancers appears on screen with a gun in her hand, shooting at the gang members.

Why does she have a gun? Why is she shooting at the criminal element that, presumably, employs her?

Why any of this, actually?

The last pre-credits image of the film is Mr. Cranky, on fire, flipping off the audience directly. Just in case you couldn’t read the not-at-all-subtext of the rest of the film.

Dude, we got it. You weren’t subtle.

All that remains is for a chemical spill to help this franchise become flesh, to rise as a towering embodiment of contempt, to crush the country beneath its heel so that nothing ever grows here again.