Exclusive: Bullets and Babes on the Crank High Voltage Set

A set report from the wild and crazy Jason Statham sequel out Friday.

by | April 15, 2009 | Comments

In this week’s super-charged sequel to the 2006 sleeper hit, Crank (60%), the writing-directing team of Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor (known simply as “Neveldine + Taylor”) continue the adrenaline-pumping adventures of hit man Chev Chelios (Jason Statham) — who, as you may recall, experienced quite a rough 24 hours in the first film. You didn’t think a little high-altitude fall from a helicopter could keep Chev down, did you? This Friday’s Crank High Voltage picks up right where Crank ended, and Rotten Tomatoes was on set at various locations during production to witness manic action, public indecency, Bai Ling craziness, leather-clad biker shoot-outs and good old-fashioned fun — all the makings of a true-blue Crank flick.


Last spring, Rotten Tomatoes was lucky to be invited on two exclusive visits to the set of Crank High Voltage, where co-writers and co-directors Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor (Crank, Pathology) were putting poor Jason Statham through the ringer yet again. As the sequel picks up, Chev Chelios — who’s just killed his enemy, Ricky Verona, while falling from a helicopter — has survived the plunge and been scooped up by a band of Chinese medics. Chev wakes up after his heart has been surgically stolen and replaced, and must keep his temporary heart electrically charged just long enough to win back the girl (Amy Smart), fight off foes old and new (Clifton Collins, Jr., Corey Haim, David Carradine), and get his ticker back.

RT first visited the set during filming at the Hollywood Park Race Track, where Neveldine and Taylor were setting up Statham in scenes against the backdrop of live horse races. Only a section of the place had been roped off for filming; elsewhere, the track was filled with its usual Wednesday crowd. (Anyone in the industry will swear that movie sets are boring, but we won $15 between takes!)

Extras filled an outdoor scene as Statham stumbled through the crowd, in pursuit of Triad thug Johnny Vang (played by Art Hsu). It seems that Vang is connected to the Chinese gang that stole Chev’s heart, and though Lionsgate and the filmmakers are keeping a tight lid on spoilers, don’t be surprised if connections between familiar faces and new ones are revealed.


Off to the side, a little old lady sat in a chair patiently waiting for her big scene. If you’ve seen the trailer, you know which little old lady this was — Chev’s “dirty little whore” — against whom he rubs up at the track in order to generate friction. The entire set was tittering with anticipation to watch Statham slyly molest 87-year-old actress Danna Hansen, whose credits, incidentally, include bit parts in Being There, Stir Crazy, and The Happy Hooker Goes to Washington. Needless to say, Hansen took the Statham rubdown with admirable grace, giving Crank 2 one of its standout comic gags.

True to their reputations, Neveldine and Taylor are more hands-on in filming than most directors, and shoot most scenes themselves. They work in tandem, each operating their own camera, and have been known to capture action sequences by following a rig on rollerblades. It’s no wonder that co-star Bai Ling called the pair young, crazy, and free: for Crank High Voltage, they upped the DIY factor by daring to use equipment that no other studio filmmakers have — consumer cameras.

It’s a producer’s dream, since Neveldine + Taylor’s cameras of choice both cost only a few thousand dollars apiece (the $3500 Canon XH-A1 and the even lighter, cheaper, Canon HF10, which runs about $1000); using in-camera tricks and their own cinematography, they promise a film that’s stylistically close to the first Crank — kinetic and handheld, with a picture quality that’s something between digital and film.

Next: RT visits the Malibu mansion for bikini babes, Bai Ling, shoot-outs and more


A few weeks later, RT dropped by a Malibu mansion off the Pacific Coast Highway for more exciting fare: namely, to watch girls in bikinis, shoot-outs, Bai Ling, and Efren Ramirez. These were scenes that ostensibly occur at the end of the film — where else do shoot-outs belong? — and we were treated to one HUGE spoiler… which, of course, we can’t disclose here. More on that later.

It was a delightfully tacky mansion, rumored in real life to have been constructed as a gift from some rich man to his lady. In Crank 2, this is where the beaten Chev Chelios winds up, alone amongst his enemies including Clifton Collins, Jr., who returns as El Huron. Bikini-clad beauties (and one entirely naked actress) lounge by the pool, as kept hussies are wont to do in the movies. “Vegas-y, shiny, sparkly…slutty,” is how the costume designer described the ladies, who variously scatter and are hit when gunfire explodes.


It’s here that two angels of sorts come to Chev’s rescue. The first is Venus (played by Efren Ramirez) who is the twin brother of Chev’s former sidekick, Kaylo (also played by Ramirez), who met his end in Crank. Venus is the polar opposite of Kaylo in appearance, and Ramirez was clearly having fun with it. Shirtless and wearing black leather pants, he’s a 5’7″ Goth–punk dynamo who comes to avenge the death of his brother — with a little help from a gaggle of gay leather-clad thugs and eccentrics.

Equally bizarre is Chev’s other new sidekick, Ria (played by Bai Ling, who we interview here), a free-spirited street walker who devotes herself to Chev — against his wishes — when he saves her life. Ria shows up with her posse of Asian female toughs (and a machine gun) to help Chev at the mansion.
As Ramirez practiced his stunt moves and his nunchaku skills by the pool, Bai Ling told us about how she played her character. “Ria is a beautiful, free, giving and loving character,” she said. “There’s an innocence in her. She’s crazy, but she’s innocent. I was telling my stunt double, she said, ‘How should I run through this fire?’ I said, you have to be crazy free, fun, and not controlled.

While Statham gets most of the action in High Voltage, Ling says she gets a fair share of her own. “I have lots of ‘I’m gonna kick your ass!’ scenes. I kick them, I run through fire, I get hit by a car, I’m running with one shoe that has no heel…it’s a lot of action, a lot of humor. The film has a sense of humor; [my character] is kind of wacky, funky, modern, young, a free-spirited character.

But back to that spoiler. Suffice to say, there’s a surprise waiting for Chev Chelios when he gets to the mansion…a real “WTF?” moment for fans. All will be revealed this Friday, as Crank High Voltage opens nationwide.

Tag Cloud

universal monsters Mudbound screen actors guild kids VH1 Image Comics Mystery TV movies Quiz dogs Amazon Prime unscripted The Arrangement Martial Arts Sci-Fi reviews concert animated new star wars movies 007 2017 TV Land godzilla Ghostbusters Elton John CNN scene in color asian-american rt archives DC Universe sopranos zombie tv talk boxoffice CBS All Access cancelled television Hulu Photos IFC Films PaleyFest cooking 2019 live action Paramount sequels crime cinemax 73rd Emmy Awards jamie lee curtis BET Awards mission: impossible 4/20 book docudrama social media Mindy Kaling best football Alien emmy awards satire science fiction posters latino USA Network talk show Warner Bros. south america HBO Go Amazon Prime Video name the review psycho Trophy Talk romance wonder woman Hallmark Christmas movies Pop TV worst Binge Guide discovery Film streaming movies Marvel Studios Lucasfilm 2020 The Walking Dead serial killer MCU RT21 Superheroes 2015 Election The Witch heist movie Superheroe Hallmark Broadway Pet Sematary slasher new york Neflix TCA 2017 Christmas spider-verse revenge VOD Britbox superman dexter WarnerMedia movies Anna Paquin DGA werewolf RT History hollywood History black comedy Sundance Now Tomatazos worst movies Grammys Watching Series cars Funimation Tarantino laika TV Holidays Pirates Avengers Winter TV versus indie Television Critics Association Comedy Central witnail Netflix christmas movies comedies New York Comic Con Fargo teaser cancelled TV shows DC streaming service Spike trailers what to watch halloween harry potter Spectrum Originals doctor who zombies Television Academy Legendary all-time Premiere Dates ABC Signature Song of Ice and Fire Shondaland Biopics CW Seed Starz Valentine's Day Universal sag awards green book cancelled TV series quibi debate singing competition franchise movie Creative Arts Emmys Emmys ABC Family American Society of Cinematographers AMC Marvel Television ratings 79th Golden Globes Awards rt labs Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt casting Teen Brie Larson Arrowverse independent genre Amazon Studios psychological thriller Netflix Christmas movies renewed TV shows Bravo nature TBS Acorn TV TV renewals prank free movies Epix NYCC television video action-comedy National Geographic Calendar comics jurassic park Spring TV TCA Winter 2020 superhero Extras Paramount Plus Lifetime 2016 children's TV Video Games Disney Channel President Masterpiece art house justice league comic book movie Pop Writers Guild of America Disney+ Disney Plus kaiju Heroines The CW TV One venice golden globes WGN international Opinion Syfy Horror dc boxing 2021 foreign japanese fast and furious spanish Rocky Fox News criterion Holiday ghosts FX scary Fox Searchlight royal family game of thrones zero dark thirty slashers Sundance TV aliens rom-coms Instagram Live golden globe awards Music classics CBS MTV 24 frames Classic Film Reality Competition adenture ViacomCBS scorecard disaster FOX NBC PlayStation canceled theme song Chilling Adventures of Sabrina trophy E3 anime Tubi 90s period drama politics The Academy Ellie Kemper nbcuniversal Thanksgiving Discovery Channel anthology black toy story comic book movies GIFs Universal Pictures news critic resources First Reviews game show toronto Comedy Disney streaming service SDCC festival robots transformers YouTube Premium Lifetime Christmas movies Shudder dreamworks french Interview Marathons know your critic Black Mirror films miniseries AMC Plus supernatural leaderboard Apple video on demand king kong Sundance Endgame thriller legend razzies Country Tokyo Olympics Rocketman MSNBC gangster Polls and Games Academy Awards basketball Emmy Nominations 71st Emmy Awards diversity Red Carpet OWN new zealand canceled TV shows joker deadpool hist saw Family stop motion sports nfl The Purge IMDb TV Box Office FXX LGBT streaming a nightmare on elm street lord of the rings HFPA BBC America mockumentary Certified Fresh Logo police drama Crackle natural history australia 99% rotten movies we love Cannes halloween tv stoner parents composers stand-up comedy X-Men 20th Century Fox sequel dark facebook Year in Review HBO Max SXSW Kids & Family vampires biopic Marvel olympics aapi directors medical drama cancelled Infographic Black History Month Women's History Month war El Rey Sony Pictures 1990s monster movies Walt Disney Pictures Esquire crossover LGBTQ TCA Dark Horse Comics 72 Emmy Awards documentaries DirecTV Lionsgate cats high school james bond Adult Swim hispanic heritage month suspense VICE king arthur Apple TV Plus Awards Tour YouTube Red 93rd Oscars rotten Podcast A24 TIFF TLC hidden camera Comic Book CMT TCA Awards adaptation series Action A&E Freeform Captain marvel cartoon Best and Worst book adaptation GLAAD Summer breaking bad marvel comics Peacock HBO Fall TV Stephen King YouTube popular Turner spanish language adventure crime thriller Prime Video Sneak Peek NBA TCM GoT 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards Mary Tyler Moore Nickelodeon TruTV Showtime mcc Mary Poppins Returns OneApp Cosplay Pride Month based on movie spider-man Trailer FX on Hulu ESPN Cartoon Network 21st Century Fox sitcom Super Bowl Musical Fantasy First Look award winner Tags: Comedy Ovation pirates of the caribbean blockbuster Countdown marvel cinematic universe finale TNT docuseries batman blockbusters BBC One SundanceTV telelvision Film Festival Paramount Network Columbia Pictures remakes blaxploitation spinoff space scary movies Amazon young adult Tumblr twilight Rom-Com Character Guide Hollywood Foreign Press Association BBC Schedule dragons mob fresh archives dceu die hard crime drama ID Comic-Con@Home 2021 reboot rt labs critics edition feel good dramedy Apple TV+ italian Pixar Animation BET Baby Yoda YA romantic comedy live event documentary San Diego Comic-Con Trivia Toys comic books Awards elevated horror Winners Nominations critics cops Mary poppins obituary Star Trek Food Network IFC indiana jones child's play comiccon Rock Travel Channel Wes Anderson mutant Exclusive Video historical drama Oscars Disney Plus Set visit japan Disney women Western Vudu Musicals spain technology spy thriller comic Drama festivals See It Skip It strong female leads kong PBS travel 45 Nat Geo cults Star Wars binge Chernobyl Crunchyroll political drama vs. DC Comics target 2018 Hear Us Out true crime Pacific Islander USA APB Comics on TV chucky screenings Turner Classic Movies E! biography ITV ABC richard e. Grant The Walt Disney Company BAFTA Reality hispanic