The Mechanik Dolph Lundgren's second time as a director after The Defender. As an actor, he knows the business for more than 20 years.
The timetable for the production had been set very tightly. The production company Nu Image had allowed for only 32 days of filming. The story of a car mechanic who travels back from the USA to Russia in order to take revenge for the death of his wife and only son was just simple enough to carry out to meet this timeframe.
Filming began during winter 2004 in Bulgaria and St. Petersburg, Russia. Dolph says about the Russian Tsars' city that it has been great and beautiful there. And working has been wonderful.
Producer Scott Putman adds: It was exciting to film directly infront of the famous Eremitage, one of the world's most esteemed museums and in also former domicile of the Tsar.
Filming in Russia was especially interesting for the local citizens because for them Dolph is a super star. Putman observed that Dolph wasn't able to quit signing autographs. People approached him during rehearsals and even during filming.
Dolph Lundgren had to make fast progress and therefore tried to keep the production simple. Because of that no costly special effects have been realised at the location.
Also he selected the actors himself. He already knew Ben Cross from the movie Chariots of Fire (1981) and casted him as William Burton. They came along very well from the beginning even though Dolph was behind the camera in addition to being the lead character. Putman reckonns that there was an interesting chemistry between Dolph and Ben, even though they have rather opposite personalities. They came along extraordinarily well, whereby we had many a fun moment at the set.
Olivia Lee and Hilda van der Muelen were the rest of the main cast, the other roles had been assigned mostly to local Bulgarian actors with stage experience. Dolph reckons that in Europe most actors have a stage background and therefore acquit themselves very well.
Dolph Lundgren liked the combination of acting and directing. It was much easier for him to communicate at the set what had to be done due to his double function. According to Putman there was one filming day where Dolph tried to show the stunt coordinator how he imagined the motorbike chase. He just entered the bike and demonstrated what he meant. But the bike didn't have enough air and started to wiggle. Luckily for Dolph he managed to dismount in time because an accident with the director and lead character would have prolongued the production for weeks. But in general the production wasn't dangerous and did only a few complicated action sequences, just real fight scenes and stunts.
In order to get a realistic appearance for the movie Ross Clarkson was hired as Director of Photography. He had his own, very concrete notion about the look of the movie. He had been working on numerous action movies before, mostly Hong Kong action movies. He gave the movie the rough, dark and slightly faded look in order to point out the tale of robbers.
The cutting process began with cutter Joe Plenys after completion of filming in Bulgaria. After the rough filming days insuch short time I was very glad to have Joe Plenys because the cutting phase was very important with this movie, thinks Dolph. Joe added a sharp feeling with movement effects, fades and variations of speed, which I supported very much, says Dolph.
The result is a solid action movie with realistic fight sequences.