The film was released in the United Kingdom on April 15, 2009, two days prior to its North American release date; April 17, 2009. Upon its release, Crank: High Voltage received positive reviews with many praising the acting, action sequences, story and writing, with criticism leveled towards the violence and script for being too extreme.
Immediately after the events of the previous film, Chev Chelios (Jason Statham) lands in the middle of an intersection after falling out of a helicopter. He is scooped off the street via snow shovel by a group of Chinese medics and removed from the scene. Chev wakes up in a makeshift hospital and sees doctors removing his heart while Johnny Vang (Art Hsu) watches. The doctors place Chev's heart in a white cooler with a padlock, and place a clear plastic artificial heart in his chest. He wakes up sometime later and escapes. He notices a yellow battery pack is attached to him. After a gunfight and interrogation of a thug, he learns the location of Johnny Vang: the Cypress Social Club.
Chev calls Doc Miles (Dwight Yoakam), who says that Chev has been fitted with an AbioCor artificial heart. Miles informs Chev that once the external battery pack runs out, the internal battery will kick in and he will have 60 minutes before it stops working. While driving Chev crashes his car which destroys his external battery pack. After getting directions from a driver, Chelios has the driver use his jumper cables on him. At the club, Chev loses Vang but picks up a hooker named Ria (Bai Ling) who sends him to a strip club where Vang is hiding out. In the club, Chev finds Eve (Amy Smart), now a stripper (It is humorously revealed that the phone call Chev made to Eve while falling to his supposed death at the end of Crank was completely incomprehensible due to the wind rushing by, and the farewell he had left on her answering machine was merely how he imagined it would sound). A group of Mexican mobsters, led by Chico, show up looking for Chelios. After a gunfight, Chev learns that a mobster named "El Hurón" ("The Ferret") wants to kill him, but he doesn't find out why.
Outside of the strip club, Chev commandeers a police cruiser with Eve and another stripper. The stripper tells Chev that he should look at the Hollywood Racetrack for Johnny Vang. Along the way, Chev meets Venus (Efren Ramirez), who reveals himself to be Kaylo's brother (and unable to completely control his body due to "full-body Tourettes.") Wanting his help, he tells Venus that El Huron was involved in his brother's death, but escaped. At the horse track Chev begins losing energy again. Another call from Doc Miles informs him that friction will cause static electricity to power the internal battery. Chevy's attempts to generate electricity by rubbing himself against members of the audience prove ineffective, but Eve later arrives and they have sex on the racetrack, which generates enough friction to charge the heart. Chev spots Vang and leaves Eve behind. Vang escapes, and Chev is about to be subdued by security when Don Kim picks Chev up in his limo. He informs Chev that there is an ancient and prominent leader in the Triads named Poon Dong (David Carradine), who was in need of a heart transplant and chose Chev's to replace his. Chev kills Don Kim and his henchmen upon learning that Don Kim wishes to return him to Poon Dong for a reward. Meanwhile, Venus calls in Orlando (Reno Wilson) to assist in tracking down El Huron.
While searching for Vang, Chev boards an ambulance and steals a battery pack for his artificial heart. Chev exits the ambulance upon seeing Johnny Vang on the street outside and a shootout ensues before Chev subdues Vang. Chev discovers that Vang's red cooler doesn't contain his heart (it actually contains something that Chelios finds utterly disgusting but is never specified in the film). He then learns via cellphone from Doc Miles that his heart has already been transplanted into Poon Dong (who is shown using it to engage in various acts of revelry and depravity). Johnny Vang is shot and killed by Chico as Chev questions him, after which Chev is knocked unconscious. Doc Miles uses his secretary, Dark Chocolate, to lure Poon Dong into his apartment and retrieve Chev's heart.
Chev has a flashback seeing himself as a young boy, being interrogated by his mother (Geri Halliwell) and Luke Cunard (Jamie Harris) on the Luke Cunard show about his violent attitude and his already extensive criminal activities.
Chev is taken to an island where El Huron awaits. It is revealed that El Huron is, in fact, the brother of Ricky and Alex Verona, both of whom Chelios killed in the first film. He reveals Ricky Verona's head is being kept alive long enough to watch El Huron kill Chelios. El Huron is about to kill Chelios when Orlando, Venus and Ria show up, each with their own group of gunfighters, and a fierce gunfight ensues. Chev kicks Rick Verona's disembodied head in the nearby swimming pool. Venus engages El Huron in a fight before he can kill Chev. As he starts to slow down, Chev climbs a nearby electric pole and grabs a pair of live wires to recharge. He is flung off the pole and set on fire by the massive current. He returns fully powered and on fire, just in nick of time to save Venus, and kills El Huron. Due to a hallucination caused by the electric currents, he sees Ria as a gorgeous woman and kisses her, inadvertently setting her on fire as well. Chelios walks towards the camera, giving the middle finger to the audience.
During the first portion of the end credits, Doc Miles replaces Chev's heart. At first it looks like a failure, but Chelios's eyes open wide and his heart monitor indicates normal activity, indicating that the transplant was successful.Jason Statham as Chev Chelios
Amy Smart as Eve Lydon
Clifton Collins, Jr. as El Huron
Efren Ramirez as Venus
Geri Halliwell as Karen Chelios
Dwight Yoakam as Doc Miles
Bai Ling as Ria
Reno Wilson as Orlando
David Carradine as Poon Dong
Julanne Chidi Hill as Dark Chocolate
Art Hsu as Johnny Vang
Yeva-Genevieve Lavlinski as Pepper
Corey Haim as Randy
John de Lancie as Fish Halman
Billy Unger as Young Chev Chelios
Celebrity cameos include Ron Jeremy, Ed Powers, Jenna Haze, Nick Manning, Lexington Steele, Chester Bennington, Glenn Howerton, Maynard James Keenan, Danny Lohner, Keith Jardine, Lauren Holly, and Lloyd Kaufman.
Dismissing that a sequel is not possible, Neveldine and Taylor wrote a script for a second film, which was greenlit by Lionsgate. Statham turned down other projects in order to re-appear as the protagonist. Lions Gate Entertainment handled North American distribution of the film, while Lakeshore Entertainment and Sony Pictures handled international distribution.
Filming started in April 2008. In order to help keep costs low, the filmmakers took advantage of low-cost prosumer HDV cameras such as the Canon XH-A1, as well as a consumer model, the Canon HF10.
Linkin Park's song, "Given Up", was featured in the trailer for the film. The majority of the soundtrack was done by Mike Patton. The soundtrack received an "Incredible" 9.5 out of 10 from IGN.
Original songs not scored by Mike Patton that appear in the film are as follows:"Keep on Loving You" by REO Speedwagon
"The Stroke" by Billy Squier
"Heard It in a Love Song" by Marshall Tucker Band
Crank: High Voltage opened in 2,223 theaters in North America and grossed $6,963,565 with an average of $3,133 per theater and ranking #6 at the box office. The film ended up earning $13,684,249 domestically and $20,876,328 internationally for a total of $34,560,577.
The film received mixed to positive reviews and has a rating of 63% on Rotten Tomatoes based on 67 reviews with an average score of 5.9 out of 10. The consensus states "Crank: High Voltage delivers on its promises: a fast-paced, exciting thrill ride that doesn't take itself too seriously." The film also has a score of 41 out of 100 on Metacritic based on 15 reviews indicating 'Mixed or average reviews'. One critic for The Guardian pointed out the film's "extreme misogyny and racism", and noted that although "nothing should be off limits in comedy", the film only amounted to "flashy, arrogant emptiness".
Crank: High Voltage was released via DVD and Blu-ray on September 8, 2009 in the United States. At the DVD sales chart, Crank opened at #2, selling 305,000 units which translates to $5,345,078 in revenue. As per the latest figures, 827,000 units have been sold, acquiring revenue of over $15 million. This does not include Blu-ray sales or DVD rentals. In Germany, the uncut DVD and Blu-ray was indexed on March 31, 2010.
In an interview, when asked about a third Crank film, actress Smart said "It's been talked about," but no actual statement from the writers has been made. Also in an interview with Amy Smart after the release of High Voltage, she mentioned that Crank 3 might be made in 3-D.
During an 'Ask me anything' on Reddit, Brian Taylor gave a possible 2013 release date for Crank 3.
In March 2015, Statham gave an update on the sequel, saying that he'd love to do it and he was waiting for Neveldine and Taylor to "get their heads together." Neveldine and Taylor have a rough idea, but no script.