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Could Chev Chelios Actually Survive Crank 1 & 2?

Jason Statham's Chev Chelios takes a lot of punishment in Crank (2006) and its sequel Crank: High Voltage (out on Friday).

But if he was real and not, uh, a movie character, could he really survive all that adrenaline-guzzling, heart-pummelling, blood pressure-raising action? asked Dr Hugh Montgomery, a senior lecturer in cardiovascular genetics at University College London to cast a medical eye over Chev's punishing schedule...


In the original movie, Chev is poisoned by a slow-acting drug. He must keep his heart-rate above a certain level in order to stay alive. To do this, he tries several novel approaches...

1. Grills his hand in a toasted sandwich-maker

"People get a little uptight about the true realities of these things," says Dr Montgomery. "Medical dramas try so hard to be 'real' they end up fucking it up. This is like the bit in Pulp Fiction where they stick a huge needle into Uma Thurman's heart - it's not taking it so seriously. It's just enormously funny!"

2. Has sex with Amy Smart in a public place

"Well, this would obviously get his heart racing. Yes. I approve."[page-break]

3. Drinks loads of Red Bull and other assorted energy drinks.

“Oh, that would work - particularly in such quantity.

"Caffeine is a very good way of keeping your heart-rate up. You get effects within minutes – like alcohol, it's very quickly acting. Drink enough caffeine and physical performance can improve, reaction times can get better, even memory can improve.

"Drink too much though, and your heart can start getting irritable and you can get all sorts of weird rhythms and scary rates.”

4. Gets shocked with a defibrillator

"The only way defibrilating would increase his heart rate would be because it would be so bloody unpleasant and painful! Beyond that, sad to say, it wouldn't have speeded up his heart.”[page-break]

Crank: High Voltage

5. Falls thousands of feet from a helicopter, bounces off the roof of a car and lands on the pavement

“This could happen. There have been several famous sky diving accidents where people have survived falls from ridiculous altitudes.

"There was a guy who jumped from a burning Lancaster bomber in World War II. He woke up in a pine forest with a sprained ankle, smoked a cigarette and then got caught by the Germans a while later.

"When they released him from the POW camp at the end of the war, the Germans gave him a certificate to prove that he was telling the truth!”

6. Has his heart removed and replaced with an artificial version

"But there are some artificial hearts that can be fitted and act as a bridge until a proper heart transplant can be done. One called the Aviocore has a coil under the surface of the skin on the chest and uses induction to charge. You put another coil on the outside over that one, which is connected to an external power source.

"And yes - there is a built-in internal battery which gives you about 20-30 minutes of power. So there's a grain of truth in the movie's artificial-heart premise. It's not such a daft thing...”[page-break]

7. Charges his artificial heart by rubbing up against someone to generate static electricity

"Most people will have had that experience of wearing the wrong clothes, walking on a nylon carpet and reaching for a door handle. You get that snap, but it's not very much current, just a momentary high voltage.

"And even if you could get enough current, it would dissipate too much. Where's it going to flow to? Absolutely everywhere - not just the one place you want it to go.”

8. Sticks his fingers in a car lighter socket and has someone jolt him back to action by using car jump-leads on him

"Any random power source running through him wouldn't recharge an artificial heart.

"Sticking your finger in a car lighter socket would just be a pretty good way of short-circuiting whatever device you've got inside of you!”[page-break]

9. Grabs hold of part of an electrical sub-station

“You're more likely to fry your brain and your muscles than you are to recharge an electric heart.

"High voltage can cook tissue quite effectively. If you see someone struck by lightning they've often got these blue-black patterns called Lichtenberg figures on the surface of their skin.

"They look a bit like the veins of a leaf, but they're actually coagulated blood - because the electricity follows the path of least resistance and blood vessels conduct the electricity very effectively - which coagulates the blood in them.”

So is any of this likely to be possible in the future ?

"In fact this kind of technology is almost certain to come, because you can't have an indefinite power supply inside. Unless it's nuclear! That'll probably be the premise of Crank 3 - a nuclear-powered hard man. Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the thorax...”

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