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

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