Monday, April 13, 2009

Crank: High Voltage

Crank: High Voltage

Dir: Mark Neveldine, Brian Taylor

Starring: Jason Statham, Amy Smart

Runtime: 1 hr 36 mins

Jason Statham returns to wreck havoc on those who have done him wrong. This movie opens with a memorable motorcycle chase that begins on the back of a blue whale and ends with Statham’s fist going through the head of one of the bad guys. Or maybe Statham is actually the bad guy. You don’t really know.

This movie plays with the antiquated Hollywood “Western” (by Western, I mean both the genre and the culture/ideology) paradigm that good and evil are polar opposites, and that people fall into one group or the other. If I wear a black hat, do I not also feel? This is just one of the high-minded themes that Crank: High Voltage attempts to tackle in its epic ninety-six minutes of heart-pounding intellectualism.

A Chinese gangster steals Statham’s heart. Let’s examine this for a moment. Let’s examine this for several moments, because it’s the most brilliantly crafted metaphor since Shakespeare invented metaphors.

The concept of stealing someone’s heart as a way to communicate love for someone has a disturbing origin that dates back to the Victorian era. An old doctor fell in love with his teenage patient. Although he professed his love for her at every visit, it was unrequited. With no reasonable recourse available, the doctor resorted to an unreasonable one. He cut out his own heart and mailed it her with the message “Thou hast stolen mine heart” written with his own blood. For many years it was speculated that in order to do this, the doctor had written the letter first, using blood he had drawn from a cut on his finger, and then prepared the box to mail the heart, the postage, and the recipient's address before cutting his own heart out and stuffing it into the mailbox with his last few moments of consciousness. It was later discovered that the blood and the heart belonged to another patient, who had merely gone in for a physical. The doctor was never seen again.

If your heart is stolen by someone, it means you have a deep infatuation with them that you have little or no control over (hence the “stealing” part – it’s involuntary on your end). Statham, while seeking revenge against the man who has stolen his heart also has to face the reality that he is in love with him. This adds another layer to the magnificently crafted onion that is Crank: High Voltage. Can Statham bring himself to kill the man who has in every way possible, stolen his heart? You'll have to watch the movie to find out.

4 out of 5 stars.