Fabrizio del Wrongo writes:
I think “Crank 2” is better than the original. It may also be one of the best slapstick comedies of recent years. (It suggests Frank Tashlin on speed or “Pee Wee Herman’s Big Adventure” as recounted in pantomime by a ‘roided-out, perpetually masturbating frat boy.) No recent movie is as in touch with the culture or as willing to blow it up for the sake of ridicule, ethnic humor, and dick jokes. Are writer/directors Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor commenting on the culture or simply running right over it? Is there a difference? Whenever Statham sticks his finger into a light socket or rubs his crotch against an old lady in order to jolt himself into action, we’re reminded of the often crude, mechanistic nature of action movies. It’s not a critique, exactly, but there’s an integrity to the completeness of its submission to base drives and impulses — a submission which itself speaks to the crass character of the culture. Depending on your disposition this kind of thing will seem either dangerously reductive or exhilaratingly savage. But however you take it it’s not simplistic: “Crank 2” is dense, cohesive, and arrhythmic in a way that feels planned out from conception. I imagine that Neveldine/Taylor rely on storyboards or thickly annotated screenplays, because nothing in their movies feels arbitrary, despite the wild-ass nature of the content and presentation. The result is a density of sensation I’d compare, with some hesitation, to certain hip hop records of the late ’80s and early ’90s — “Paul’s Boutique,” for instance. Have movies finally caught up to music, video games, and graphic design in their ability to provide an immersive, collage-like, and mostly non-linear media experience?