Feature by: Jack Foley
One of the first rules of the sequel process is making things
bigger and more spectacular. Hence, having dazzled audiences with
the fight sequences first time around, the challenge for Full
Throttle was raising the stakes.
Explains director, McG: "We all wanted to make this film
decidedly more muscular and show that these girls can hang with
"Hence, we ramped it up to include wrestling, motocross,
car crashes and leaps off tall buildings. The Angels hold their
own in arenas normally reserved for idealized male action heroes.
We wanted to put them in those environments and still have them
be beautiful and comfortable in their own skin."
While there is some of the spectacular wire work from the first
film, the fight sequences in Full Throttle proved to be more gruelling,
but the girls insisted on doing many of their own stunts so audiences
could feel the impact of every blow.
Explains Barrymore: "McG and I like many different types
of fighting styles, from different films and time-periods, and
we brought all those elements together. This film used more than
one genre, one flavour."
In order to be able to achieve the level of authenticity required,
the production team enlisted The Master, Cheung-Yan
Yuen - the Hong Kong fight choreographer who instructed the three
actresses in martial arts and wire action for the first film.
"Cheung-Yan brings a code of honour and a way of conducting
yourself that is very angelic," states McG.
"Hes the ultimate example of speaking softly
and carrying a big stick. Months before we started principal
photography, the girls were working out with him and his team
For the sequel, however, Yuen decided to make the Angels
fighting abilities reflect their personalities.
"Having confidence in yourself and your ability is as important
as learning the correct moves," he explained. "Each
of them has an individual strength. Cameron has amazing explosive
power and reflexes, and she is very focused. Lucy is strong and
professional. Drew has very good flexibility and great willpower."
In addition to the Angels, Yuen also trained Crispin Glover (aka
The Thin Man) and Demi Moore.
Though Glover had previously worked with The Master,
his training was equally intense this time around.
"Wed begin with stretches, then practice kicking,
punching and various fight combinations. At the end of the day,
wed work with swords.
"The style of fighting is influenced by Wu-Shu, a derivative
of Kung Fu. Its the most dance-oriented martial art and
has a lot to do with form.
"Cheung-Yan had a specific way of moving. He and his team
were very clear about how youre supposed to hold your poses.
There is no difference in the fighting style between good and
evil. What is interesting is that his choreography is psychologically
based. There are different styles for the different characters."
For Moore, who had never studied martial arts before, part of
the fun of filmmaking is learning new skills.
"There is a particular stylistic element to the way Cheung-Yan
choreographs," she reveals. "In some ways, its
like a dance. Some of it is very challenging because its
extremely intricate and has to be well timed.
"Learning the different sequences was very empowering and
exciting. Still, you really count on getting The Masters
approval because you want to do your best for him. Cheung-Yan
looks for a certain commitment, so we were all working towards
maintaining a level of integrity to what we were doing."
The same sentiment was echoed by Diaz, who maintains that part
of the training effort was to avoid repeating actions from the
Hence, Yuen moved her and Lius characters more toward kung-fu
training and Barrymores towards street fighting stances.
"We really get thrown around in this one, but I think Cheung-Yan
and McG have married the two different styles of fighting very
gracefully, so you have the best of both worlds," says Diaz.
"This time the bar was raised in a very organic way. Its
charged with even greater energy. The fight scenes are more exciting,
And Diaz claims to have the bruises to prove it.
"There is just no way a human body can collide with another
body over and over again, a hundred times a day and not get bruised,"
she asserts. "Its part of the job. Eventually the bruises
go away. What remains is the great feeling you get when you know
that, after all that rehearsal, you got it right and that the
take is perfect."
Yet while the stars had the option of using a stunt double, all
declined. As Barrymore concludes: "I felt that if the Angels
can do their stunts, then I can too."