Statham's Chev Chelios, though more gruff and foul-mouthed, is every bit the professional man among twats, thugs, and fu*kheads as is Statham's Frank Martin in the Transporter movies. But the underworld landscape of the Crank franchise isn't so glamorous. This is a world of Mao-loving Chinese organ traders, white-trash strip clubs, black s & m gay bars, scuzzy backroom doctors, South American crime lords, Latino whorehouses, degenerate gamblers, striking pornstars, over-sexed psychiatrists, racial mockery, and boobies. But all of that would mean squat were it not for Neveldine and Taylor's unchained promulgation of all these sub-cultures and sub-humans through a witty lens and sly sense of humor that is more Godardian pop aware that Tarantino.
For instance, check out the subtle nod to Gnarls Barkley's "Who's Gonna Save My Soul" in a climactic scene where Chev climbs a power line tower that is shot from below to look like an installation of Jesus on the cross. Or the moment that immediately follows, when an engulfed in flames Chev takes down the last man standing, hallucinates a loving embrace between he and Eve (Amy Smart), and throws his hands to the sky to the sounds of REO Speedwagon's "I'm Gonna Keep On Loving You". This isn't moronic, ironic sideshow humor a la Todd Phillips (god, I hate that guy), no, this is fiery and fun cinematic dadaism that walks to the screen and confronts the standards and expectations of a movie culture that has to put up with the probably stupid Russell Crowe/Ben Affleck political thriller playing in the theater adjacent.
The supporting cast is outstanding. Amy Smart and Efren Ramirez give breakout performances by displaying the exact amount of fun an actor should be having in an off-the-grid movie such as this, and Bai Ling sheds the limiting slinky sexuality she's been moaned after for for too long and plays a yipping 80 pound pussy-powered force of life who fixates on Chev ("you're my shiny lunch box", she tells him) after he saves her from a 400 pound gang banger. "He's my Kevin Costner and he's gonna tap your ass!" she tells a pair of oncoming hoods in her mistakenly-mangled slang that runs as a recurring joke throughout the film.
In a movie industry that tells us the summer-fun movie season begins in May with a sure to be three-course vomit meal of more Wolverine, Star Trek, and Terminator movies, Crank : High Voltage cock blocks them all and takes the premature prize.