Here’s a movie made for rapists. And guys who play Grand Theft Auto a lot. I’m drawing a line between those two that some may question, but let’s face it: video games hate women. And so does Crank 2. Crank 2 has an excuse, of course. Like the gore-porn trend in horror movies, it’s only trying to follow the lead established by games. Movies, unfortunately, are mostly about commerce. And right now, there’s nothing more profitable than one set of pixels gutting another set. But movies for guys don’t have to have this fury toward girls. Does Jason Statham’s mother know he’s making movies like this?
Statham died at the end of the first Crank. But as the movies tag-line explains: “He got better”. Crank 2 starts with Statham being shovelled off the street and ends with him being immolated. In between, he rampages through Los Angeles, merrily murdering as many ethnic minorities as possible. There is no point. The point is: the movie wants to be offensive. He’s after a Chinese gangster. But he mostly kills Hispanics. And strippers. If a woman isn’t naked in Crank 2, she’s dead. Occasionally, the movie is funny in a dark-hearted way. But then in turns, like a drunk who outstays his welcome.
They should make young actresses watch Amy Smart in this movie, as a warning. Her part is written with such contempt for her that it’s like watching someone smile after they’ve been spit in the face. She’s a stripper who likes fucking Jason Statham. I think that covers all the nuances of her character. She also gets slapped around a little. Poor Amy. If this isn’t the low point in her career, God help her when she hits bottom. I can see her thinking: well, I’ve got tape over my nipples in the titty bar scene, so it’s not totally degrading. But it is. Study her make-up: why the swollen lip? So she’ll look beaten.
Shame on Jason Statham. Bruce Willis would never have starred in this. But that anything, provided there’s a cheque approach was bound to land Jason in Crank 2 sooner or later. He plays his part the same as he plays everything, like a boxing glove with a smirk. But there’s just too much of him shouting at women. And that part isn’t funny. The directors (there are two guilty parties) probably told Statham they were after black comedy, but even in black comedy, there’s a line. Crank 2 is sordid where it wants to be outrageous. It will most delight men who don’t have a sense of irony (i.e. men under 18 and unabashed misogynists).
L.A. in Crank 2 looks like it’s been hit by a nuclear bomb. The sunlight is wretched, cancerous. Everyone in the movie looks like they’re being x-rayed. They’re all filmed too close. The movie has a Hustler-eye for women, especially. You wonder if the directors bothered to direct their actresses above the crotch. Maybe they were too busy feeding what they’d shot into a blender, for editing. The movie is shot as a series of shrieks and exposed wounds. There’s one good joke: a title card that says “9 seconds later”. But mostly Crank 2 is like watching a hyper-caffeinated teenager. Adults will get bored.
Games are a rotten influence on movies. For one thing, they’re mostly stupid. And action movies have a low enough reputation without seeking to ape Grand Theft Auto. It’s the part of that game where you earn points for stomping on prostitutes that Crank 2 most resembles; nasty, lurid, desensitized “fun”. In games, the women are pixel people who bleed pixel blood – so it’s ok (the theory goes). But in movies, even if the blood’s not real, the women are. And there’s nothing ok about seeing women so reduced. Crank 2 is the voice of the locker-room; male fear and self-loathing. It’s for dicks.