John Wick: Chapter 4

Thursday 20th April 2023

Keanu Reeves returns in one of his signature roles in John Wick: Chapter 4, as the un-retired hitman uncovers a path to defeating The High Table - a council of twelve crime lords that governs the underworld's most powerful organisations, and which has put a multi-million-dollar bounty on Wick's head for his defiance.
Keanu Reeves, Donnie Yen, Bill Skarsgärd, Laurence Fishburne, Lance Reddick, Clancy Brown, Ian McShane, Aimée Kwan, Hiroyuki Sanada, Shamier Anderson, Rina Sawayama
Chad Stahelski
Basil Iwanyk, Erica Lee, Chad Stahelski
Lionsgate Home Entertainment
2 hours 49 minutes
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Keanu Reeves returns in one of his signature roles in John Wick: Chapter 4, as the un-retired hitman uncovers a path to defeating The High Table - a council of twelve crime lords that governs the underworld's most powerful organisations, and which has put a multi-million-dollar bounty on Wick's head for his defiance. But before Wick can earn his freedom, he must face off against a new enemy with powerful alliances around the globe that turns old friends into deadly foes.

A new day is dawning in Wick's world: new rules, new ideas, and new management, as personified by The High Table's sadistic frontman, Marquis. But now, win or lose, Wick has a way out: Challenge the Marquis to single combat. If Wick prevails, The Table will honor its word and Wick will no longer have a target on his back. Whatever the fateful outcome, John Wick knows that he left a good life behind a long time ago.

Returning to the beloved film series, which has electrified audiences around the world, are Laurence Fishburne, as the Bowery King, the head of an underground intelligence network disguised as a homeless shelter; Ian McShane, as Winston, the owner of the New York Continental Hotel, which is frequented by the world's most accomplished killers; and Lance Reddick, as Charon, the hotel's loyal and distinguished concierge.

Joining the cast is action superstar and martial artist Donnie Yen (the Ip Man series; Rogue One: A Star Wars Story), as Caine, Wick's longtime friend, who must turn against Wick when The High Table threatens a family member; Bill Skarsgård (Pennywise the Clown in the It films) as The Table's sadistic emissary, the Marquis; martial arts/action film star Hiroyuki Sanada (Bullet Train, Army of the Dead), as Shimazu, another Wick friend and the proprietor of the Osaka Continental Hotel; Shamier Anderson as The Tracker, who, as his name suggests, is hunting Wick; Rina Sawayama, as Akira, Shimazu's daughter and the Osaka Continental's concierge; and martial arts star Scott Adkins as Killa, a jumbo-sized wild card shark / killer who is targeting Wick.

Chad Stahelski, who returns as director and a producer, having helmed the three previous blockbuster John Wick films, embraced the idea of taking the film series to the next level. John Wick: Chapter 4 transports us in an exciting new direction," he notes. "We continue to uncover new and sometimes unexpected facets of John Wick, and introduce many new characters, who have some surprising connections to Wick. In addition to the action, there is brotherhood and hope, and we explore some emotional threads that were only hinted at in the previous films."

Adds Keanu Reeves, who also serves as an executive producer on the film, "We really expand the world-building of previous John Wick films, with a lot of fun and unexpected developments and characters. We also have new levels of the John Wick action and new weapons. And muscle cars are back!"

John Wick: Chapter 4 expands the universe of the series, with the filmmakers painting on a much bigger canvas. "The story takes us out of New York City, where most of the previous films were set, and travels to Jordan, Japan, Berlin, and Paris," Reeves continues. "It has a look and scale unlike any we've seen before. There are no less than 14 major action sequences, including a wild and epic chase through the streets of Paris. In John Wick's fighting style, you experience his effort, commitment, and will. I love his never-give-up attitude; its style seems desperate and capable."

Reeves, of course, is the beating heart of the franchise. As producer Erica Lee explains, "The spin on the first film was not only putting an actor whom everyone loves at its center but telling an action film in a different way. The action came first, but the designs, aesthetics and gun-fu" - the film series' take on the sophisticated close-quarters gunfighting that combines firearms with martial arts and hand-to-hand combat - "all the things that make it unique, were born."

Lee also makes note of the "bond and trust" between Reeves and Stahelski that has defined the John Wick franchise. "Chad has given so much to the films for the better part of a decade. Keanu loves the series so much - he's in every script meeting and casting discussion and has come up with some amazing story ideas. Very few franchises have the consistency we've enjoyed with our core team."

Building upon the world created by Derek Kolstad, the new film's screenplay is by Shay Hatten, who also co-wrote the third film, and Michael Finch. The latter notes Reeves and Stahelski's directive was to "honor the title character and his world and give the audience even more. The beauty of these stories is their ever-expanding nature."

"It's been a pleasure working with Chad and our teams in coming up with new ideas and worlds," Reeves elaborates. "Chad has always believed that we should explore The High Table - you never see its members, but we envisioned them as a secret society, like the Masons or the Illuminati.

"In Chapter 4, we wanted to flip the paradigm of Wick on the run and have him go after The High Table," he continues. "It's the story of John deciding that he's not going to run away anymore. Instead, he runs at The Table, which really puts an exclamation point on why people fear John Wick."

Producer Basil Iwanyk elaborates: "At the beginning of the film, everyone assumes Wick is dead. So, he could live happily ever after and be in peace. But no, it's John Wick! He can't leave it alone; justice must be done. He kicks the global hornet's nest, and every assassin in the world is after him. And he's alone."

Reeves's work in the John Wick films, as well as in The Matrix quadrilogy, have established him as one of the cinema's premier action/martial arts stars. In John Wick: Chapter 4, he's joined by two other global film icons, Donnie Yen and Hiroyuki Sanada.

"We've always sought an antagonist who is Wick's equal - or better," Iwanyk points out. "We wanted to cast, as Caine, an actor whom audiences would believe that John could not defeat. There aren't many who can go toe-to-toe with Keanu, while giving a richly detailed performance. Donnie is one of them."

In many ways, Yen's Caine is an intriguing mirror image of Wick: a lethal figure who made an extraordinary sacrifice because he did what an assassin should avoid at all costs: he loved. For Wick, it was his late, beloved wife, who succumbed to cancer. For Caine, it's his precious daughter, whose safety The High Table threatens in order to secure Caine's services.

"Caine was close to John, back in the day," Reeves explains. "They share no personal animosity but do have in common several facets of their personality and work."

One of Caine's defining characteristics is his lack of sight. This initially gave Yen pause, as he had recently played a sightless character in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. "I was also concerned about how Caine could react," Yen notes. "I wanted him to be a complex, human character, and wondered how he could engage if he could not look Wick in the eyes. I had to find different ways for Caine to express himself. He's a blind martial arts master who can take on dozens of opponents simultaneously, so he must be very skilled. Finding that balance between being sightless and physically gifted was challenging."

Yen appreciated Caine's humanity and complexity, as well as his sense of style. "I saw Caine as a mix between Steve McQueen and Bruce Lee," says the legendary star. "I remembered black-and-white interview footage in which Lee wore a skinny black tie and black suit, which I thought was pretty cool. It's a classic look, and it works well for Caine."

The wardrobe also provides an interesting contrast to Wick's. The latter dons a new black Kevlar suit and Kevlar infused ballistic shirt.

"Donnie does everything with such ferocity and attention to detail," marvels Reeves, who counts himself as one of Yen's fervent fans. "Donnie Yen: the legend, the myth, the man," he says with a smile. "He's a special person and artist and working with him was an honor."

Stahelski, too, admits to being a little star struck by Yen, remembering, "The first day of filming with Donnie, well, the 18-year-old in me just came out. Standing between Keanu and Donnie, blocking the first fight scene, was a surreal moment for me.

"With those fight scenes, we wanted to craft something we haven't seen before," Stahelski adds. Donnie with a sword and pistol; Keanu with a samurai sword and a couple of guns and throwing an AR-15 into a mirror room filled with Japanese artifacts. Let's see what happens, I thought."

Two series mainstays, Ian McShane and Lance Reddick, return in John Wick: Chapter 4, as their characters, Winston and Charon, face new personal and professional upheavals.

McShane's Winston is the owner of the New York Continental Hotel, which functions as a comfortable and safe venue for hired killers. When, in the second film, after Wick conducts "business" on hotel grounds - killing a despicable adversary - he incurs terrible penalties and ends up with a price on his head. In the third film, Winston committed a shocking, if necessary, act against his friend, Wick, who had, after all, broken his establishment's laws. But Winston may be Wick's only hope when the cunning hotelier devises a strategy for the on-the-run hitman to finally be free of The High Table.

"Winston is always in control, and it's interesting to see how he reacts when everything he values is taken away from him," says McShane. "He's a suave figure when he enjoys all the vestments and services of the hotel, but when it's stripped away, he becomes a far more dangerous man than we knew."

"In this story, Winston is a master of revenge and instrumental in shaping Wick's only way out of a seemingly impossible situation," says Reeves. Adds Stahelski: "Ian is an indispensable collaborator who has helped define the world of John Wick."

The supremely capable, dignified, and helpful concierge, Charon, is Winston's right-hand man. Theirs is a bond that transcends employer-employee and even friendship. Says Lance Reddick, "One of the things that's so interesting about Winston and Charon's relationship is that it is so close. You get a sense that they've been together for many years, probably even before their tenures at the New York Continental. You feel there's an affection between them, and this film confirms it."

Laurence Fishburne reprises his role as the Bowery King, an underworld (literally) kingpin who, from his underground headquarters, heads an intelligence network designed to look like a homeless shelter. Now, he's traveled to Paris, to be of service to Wick, as the latter faces the ultimate challenge.

"Bowery King is the character who most embraces the world of John Wick," Finch states. "He opens his arms and draws it all in."

For Reeves, Fish, as he calls Fishburne, is "safe harbor; he's been a mentor to me since we worked together on The Matrix."

Fishburne was pleased to return to a world which, he says, "has gotten even more amazing. I love the juxtaposition of playing a character who is so regal, but whose kingdom is underneath a very stylised and elegant world."

Additionally, Fishburne enjoyed expanding upon the Wick-Bowery King dynamic. "Bowery King's relationship with John is really quite intimate and shrouded in mystery," Fishburne explains. "And I liked that Chad told me that Winston and the Bowery King are brothers, in a way. The Bowery King can be seen as Hades, the god of hell. Like Winston, he's also a protector of Wick's secrets. He's the chef in John's secret kitchen."

Another martial arts master who, like Caine, has a long history with Wick, is Shimazu, portrayed by screen legend Hiroyuki Sanada. Shimazu owns the Osaka Continental Hotel and faces the wrath of The High Table when he offers Wick safe haven at his establishment. As Reeves explains, "John doesn't have many friends left, but he has a brotherhood, steeped in friendship and sacrifice. John, Caine and Shimazu form a triangle: the assassin, Caine, who got out of the game but was forced back in to protect his daughter; and Shimazu, who also has a daughter he must protect. Shimazu will have to pay a price for his allegiance to John."

In casting the role, Iwanyk says, "We wanted a Japanese actor with real weight who could hold his own with Donnie Yen - two action legends on screen together. Hiro carries essential wisdom and integrity and takes up much of the screen with just his presence."

Sanada, in turn, explains the character's journey: "Shimazu is maybe John Wick's last friend. John had no place to go, but then he remembers his friend in Japan. Shimazu grew up with John and Caine; they were like brothers. They trained together. But when Shimazu had a daughter, he tried to transition to a more peaceful life. until John Wick's visit.

"The characters' histories are so deep and important to Shimazu," Sanada continues. When John arrives at the Osaka Continental, Shimazu cannot say no to him. John is a brother; it's a very touching situation."

"These men are not heroes; they're bad men with a code," Stahelski elaborates. We wanted them to be as multi-dimensional as possible, and we were lucky to get two great actors, Donnie and Hiro, to play against each other, and against Keanu. We don't get into too much detail about their pasts, and let the audience fill in the blanks. This is a world in the shadows, and these men should exist there."

Shimazu's daughter, Akira, works for her father, as concierge at the Osaka Continental. Theirs is a loving but complicated relationship. She's a part of his world but cannot embrace it. But upon John Wick's arrival at the Osaka Continental, she learns there is no escape from it.

For her position at the hotel, Akira is trained in etiquette and fighting. Her heretofore placid life there is turned upside-down when she learns that its New York counterpart has been demolished. Life gets even more complicated when Akira sees Wick sharing drinks with her father in the hotel's rooftop garden. "It is then Akira realises that she really doesn't have anything to lose," says Rina Sawayama, who makes her feature film debut. "She knows Wick is a very dangerous man who is using his last defense and connection - her father. Akira tells Wick that he's ruining people's lives; that's what drew me to the script."

Like so many in the John Wick universe, Sawayama underwent rigorous fight and weapons training and choreography. "But Akira has never actually killed anyone before," she notes. Chad was into creating that big moment when she first fires a gun."

Another pursuer of John Wick is known only as the Tracker, whose faithful and nameless canine partner is a Belgian Malinois. The Tracker makes a deal with The High Table but comes to realise it's a Faustian bargain. Just by agreeing to their terms, he may have already lost. .

Canadian actor Shamier Anderson, who takes on the role, worked with Stahelski to create key nuances for the character. "The Tracker is very tactile - from his notebook, in which he writes everything down during his search for Wick, to always carrying a sack, to his light, guns, clothing, and dog. The latter serves as a companion to - and extension of - the Tracker."

"We wanted to seamlessly fit the dog into the story," says Stahelski, "and not just have it do stunts and attacks. We loved the idea of a character who was literally tracking and could smell Wick."

Five animals take on the role. Anderson arrived early in Berlin to train with his canine co-stars. "I had to be with the dogs every day," he remembers. "Each one had a different personality, energy, and skill set. One dog did the tugging, another fetched. Not only did I get acquainted with them, I worked to understand their energy and build a believable relationship."

The Marquis is the emissary of The High Table - "the new sheriff in town," says Lee. John Wick has defied The Table, killed its Elder, and "now there's hell to pay," she adds.

The Marquis relishes his deadly duties - way too much. His scorched-earth approach to finding Wick, along with his sadism and underestimation of Winston and, of course, Wick, may lead to the . tables . being turned on the Marquis.

"The Marquis is one of the most loathsome characters in the four movies," says Finch. "In casting the role, we wanted to go with someone who could convey youthful punk-like qualities, and who could express a fake formalism and politeness at the same time. We want audiences to hate him."

Enter Bill Skarsgård, whose memorable roles include Pennywise the Clown in the recent adaptation of Stephen King's It. "We needed an actor who could go for it, and that's Bill," Stahelski sums up.

Skarsgård was excited to take on the role. "The Marquis is appointed to a high position to track down and kill John Wick," he describes. "He's off his leash, which means he can implement whatever he wants and whatever he thinks is necessary to get the job done."

"The Marquis has an agenda," Skarsgård continues. "He is a very powerful spokesman for The Table and is clear why John Wick must die. This is about rules, consequences, and maintenance of order. He is a villain who believes he's the hero of his own story."

The character's lifestyle exemplifies his power. In contrast to the Bowery King in underground Paris, The Marquis frequents glamorous locations, which his wealth and power have secured for him to enjoy. Says Skarsgård, "I've never worked on a production where I've been in such opulent, over the top, and exclusive locations - at the Louvre, the Louis Vuitton Museum, the Trocadéro with a view of the Eiffel Tower, and the Opera House. The Marquis likes to do business in places with magnitude."

The character's powerful suits, from Oscar®-nominated costume designer Paco Delgado, feature an incredible level of detail. Some were hand painted or hand embroidered. "One outfit has a bit of a western flair with a mid to late 1800s cut of the suits," says Skarsgård. "Other characters wear black suits with black ties, so the Marquis gives it a little bit more of a sparkle. At every location, there's a different suit in different colors - white, silver, and red velvet - plus there's glitter and gold, so what's not to like about it?"

The Marquis' principal enforcer, Chidi, a seemingly indestructible behemoth, is played by Chilean action star Marko Zaror. "Chidi, who commands a small army, the Myrmidons, feels superior to all the other assassins," Zaror points out. "His tailored suits make the character surprisingly elegant, and he doesn't get his hands dirty unless it's necessary. Chidi doesn't buy into Wick and Caine's code of honor. He's all about getting things done, according to the mandates of The High Table."

Noted character actor and genre fan favourite Clancy Brown takes on a figure known only as the Harbinger. As his name suggests, the character initiates major change. Indeed, this Harbinger initiates both destruction - he brings The Table's order to destroy the New York Continental - and death, as he presides over the final duel between Caine, and Wick.

Wherever The Harbinger arrives, bad things happen. You do not want the Harbinger knocking on your door.

Brown sees the Harbinger as "what John Wick is in danger of becoming. Like Wick, the Harbinger can't get away from The High Table, ever. Unlike Wick, the Harbinger is old. He limps and has scars. So, instead of being an assassin for that organization, he conducts its business."

And business is, well, booming, in a dark way. "The Harbinger is a watchdog and advisor to the Marquis, who is rich, elegant, smart, ruthless - and horrible," Clancy explains. "The Harbinger has been around a long time, as a go-between. He gives the Marquis enough rope to hang himself, but he will always enforce The Table's rules.

Wick must seek the assistance and sponsorship of his long estranged adoptive family - the criminal organization Ruska Roma, which has a seat at The High Table - so he can challenge the Marquis on their behalf.

"Before John can set the duel with the Marquis, he runs into the issue of hierarchy," notes Stahelski. "He must earn the right to duel, which, like in the Middle Ages, you cannot do outside your class. That's an interesting idea to play with."

Wick's attempts to reconnect with Ruska Roma won't be easy; in Chapter 3, under the auspices of the organization's Director (portrayed by Anjelica Huston), Wick was provided safe passage to meet the Elder in Casablanca, despite the price on his head. But Wick was banned from returning to them.

In Berlin, Wick meets two members of the extended clan: Katia, played by British actor Natalia Tena, and Killa, portrayed by action film star and MMA fighter Scott Adkins. "John and Katia are cousins," Tena explains, "and Katia is queen of the Romas. She knows how to wield her power."

After Wick passes one brutal trial, Katia sends him to meet - and kill - Killa at his pulsating nightclub. Stahelski was eager to cast Adkins but make him almost unrecognisable in a plus-sized bodysuit - inspired by the iconic and morally ambiguous nightclub owner "Signor Ferrari," portrayed by Sydney Greenstreet, in the classic film, Casablanca.

"Killa was once a feared and revered assassin, but obviously he's let himself go," Adkins describes. Still, the corpulent killer has a few lethal moves left. Due to the complex design and heavy prosthetics of his new bodysuit-enhanced frame, Adkins created new fighting moves for Killa. "We landed upon a style that's a bit of the MMA version of Mike Tyson," he explains.

John Wick: Chapter 4's department heads include director of photography Dan Laustsen, ASC, DFF, production designer Kevin Kavanaugh, editor Nathan Orloff, costume designer Paco Delgado, composers Tyler Bates and Joel J. Richard, music supervisor Jen Malone, and visual effects supervisors Jonathan Rothbart and Janelle Croshaw. Five stunt coordinators / fight choreographers, led by Scott Rogers, oversaw 14 action sequences, four times that of the previous John Wick films. The production brought in stunt teams from Japan, France, Bulgaria, Germany, and the United States.

The cast and stunt performers spent months perfecting and safely handling the action's unprecedented scope and scale. Although Reeves had been fight training for almost three decades, he began film-specific training in earnest almost eight months before the start of principal photography.

"As an action star, Keanu is the best fighter I've seen in my career. He can also jump, drive and use guns better than many stunt performers, so he's really impressive," states Rogers.

Adds U.S. stunt coordinator Stephen Dunlevy, "When you're on a John Wick film, you give one hundred percent. Keanu is one of the first actors / stunt performers in the gym and one of the last ones out. He leaves it on the mat every day. Keanu lives and breathes John Wick."

For John Wick: Chapter 4, Dave Camarillo worked with Reeves to perfect the actor's judo and jujitsu. "Dave is a legendary judoka and jujitsu, works with American Kickboxing Academy, has been on teams with champions, and also instructs the military," Reeves tells us. "He took me back to the basics and elevated them not only with skills but intention. I'm so grateful for that."

Reeves refers to his core training partners in hand-to-hand combat as "The John Wick 5," encompassing Reeves, Camarillo, and stunt performers Bruce Concepcion, Qiang Li, and Jeremy Marinas, the latter serving as the fight choreographer for this film.

Reeves also did precision driving training and horseback riding training, in addition to instruction in many other disciplines. "Over the course of these films, Wick can sign, speak Russian, and, in Chapter 4, speak a little Japanese. So, I'm always picking up different skills," says Reeves.

"Everything is on a bigger scale for this movie," adds Dunlevy. "Any individual stunt piece in this film could be the tentpole action piece for any other movie." Fight choreographer Koji Kawamoto and a team of stunt performers traveled from Japan to Germany to work with the American team from famed stunt / production entity 87eleven to create the extended fight sequence set in the Osaka Continental. Over 50 stunt performers from Germany, the U.S., and Japan filmed the scene at that location for almost a month.

When Chidi and the Myrmidons arrive and deconsecrate the hotel, an all-out battle ensues, beginning in the lobby with assassins wielding guns, blades, and bows and arrows. Meanwhile, The High Table Tactical Team attacks John Wick and Akira amongst the cherry trees dropping their blossoms.

The fight moves though the different levels and spaces of the hotel. "I tried to mix a traditional with a modern aesthetic," says Kavanaugh. "For the Osaka Continental, I used this traditional Samurai way of life - depicted in artwork that dates to the 1600s - as a base. Then we add on to make it contemporary. For example, we did a big gunfight in the exhibition room, which has a lot of glass, which keeps reflecting even after it shatters. I framed all these old beautiful rice paper paintings in glass and put modern frames around them."

The glass display cases contain weapons like long knives, spears, bows and arrows, Wakizashi, and katana. "John Wick has a history of using everything near him, and we use that technique in the Exhibition Room. His gun is dry, so he throws the gun, and there are nunchaku and swords and glass nearby," says Kawamoto.

"Shimazu's fighting style is basically the same as Wick's, because they grew up together," Sanada comments. "Shimazu uses a gun and then jujutsu, but his specialty is a Japanese sword. So, it's a mixing of the original John Wick style with a little Japanese flavour. But the mental fighting is the most important thing."

The Alte Nationalgalerie in Berlin serves as the exterior of the Berlin nightclub where John Wick confronts and battles Killa. For the interiors, the filmmakers built a multi-story set featuring extensive practical water and fire effects inside the partially open interior of the three-story Kraftwerks Building. The nightclub set took up the massive interior of the former industrial space. "The sets are insane!" says Lee, with a laugh. "It's the largest set we've ever done for the John Wick films, with massive amounts of water and incredible fighting through walls of water."

A team of 35 stunt performers worked alongside 200 background extras for over two weeks filming the sequence, which features shifting allegiances and perpetual motion. "The club was insane, we had a mass amount of extras intermixed with stunts performing complicated choreography," echoes visual effects supervisor Jonathan Rothbart. "Adding in all the additional effects and extensions was extremely complex, as we had lights spinning in perpetual motion coming from different sources in different directions at all times."

Wick's race to Paris Sacré Coeur, where his duel with the Marquis will take place, turns into an all-out demolition derby with guns as he first takes the wheel of a banged up but lethal muscle car, and then runs the gauntlet across Paris, with hundreds of killers out to stop him.

Reeves trained for nine months to develop his driving skills, which impressed everyone on set, including his director. "There's no actor in Hollywood that can drive better than Keanu," Stahelski says. "That's how much time he put into his training."

With multiple cars moving at top speeds, the sequence evolves into close quarter combat with guns, in the street, among the racing vehicles. "This gun fight is in the middle of the traffic circle around the Arc de Triomphe," explains Reeves.

Since it was logistically impossible to close the six to eight lanes of the roundabout around the massive monument on the Champs-Elysees for several weeks, filmmakers came up with a clever solution. "We worked at a non-operational airport in Berlin, Tegel," Reeves continues. "We did the wire work on the tarmac, and gunfights and judo through several lanes of traffic. We've had gun-fu in the previous films, and now we have car-fu."

Another large-scale action set piece with a unique style explodes in a French apartment building, with much of the action captured by an extended "god's eye view" looking down on the action from above. "It's something we've never seen before onscreen," says France stunt coordinator / fight choreographer Laurent Demianoff. "The first step was to shoot it from a camera mounted on a drone."

Most of the Bowery King's scenes were shot under Paris, in the St. Martin Canal, which flows beneath the city; Metro Porte des Lilas subway station; and in a never-before-filmed bomb shelter. Production had to put in special air ventilation and employ 80 cleaners for two weeks to safely work in the subterranean space, located deep underneath the most modern part of Paris.

"To be in Paris occupying spaces in the underworld of the city, well, it doesn't really get any better," says Fishburne. "Chad has somehow managed to take a little bit of Kurosawa, a little bit of Sergio Leone, mash it up, and put it in the City of Light."

As Wick continues his odyssey across Paris, toward his fateful showdown with the Marquis, he battles through scores of enemies as he attempts to climb a long, long staircase. He must attempt the ascension more than a few times, as he is pushed back and tumbles down them, only to rise and begin anew. Wick has only 13 minutes to somehow get through this seemingly impenetrable wall of skilled assassins determined to stop him. "We did one of the world's longest stair falls down all 300 steps," shares Dunlevy. "It's a steep staircase with railings down the middle, drop offs on one side, and ramps with trees on the other side; there was so much to play with stunt-wise."

It's nothing less than an opera of insanity, which thrillingly sets up on the climactic duel - during which Stahelski slows things down and lets tension and anticipation set the tone. "There's nothing more personal than a duel to settle disputes," says the director. "In a world where there seems to be no escape for John, we wanted to show action in a slower way and deal with the emotional resonance. We go back to the core of the films: one man against another, with something huge at stake.

"It's something Wick must earn," he continues. "It's also a nod to some of my favorite westerns."

As the filmmakers completed final touches on John Wick: Chapter 4, they offered some thoughts on the franchise and their hopes for the new film. "Chad pushes us all," comments Lee. "These movies have had an incredible reach, and the John Wick films have brought a lot of joy to people."

"John Wick: Chapter 4 has huge sets and vistas," adds Iwanyk. "Every decision we made is with the dream of sitting in a theater and watching it on a big screen. You get your popcorn, the theater's packed, you feel the energy, and audiences cheer as soon as John Wick comes on the screen. John Wick is an escapist ride and collective thrill for audiences."

Stahelski explains his goals for each of the John Wick pictures: "We didn't want each film to just be bigger than the previous one. We wanted each to expand on the character and his world. To be better, as well as bigger."

Keanu Reeves echoes his director's thoughts, commenting, "Working with this core team of creatives who have been responsible for the visionary look and world building of the John Wick films has been such an honor. Working with Chad on that vision, plus the story and action, has been a pleasure. His take on the way that action and dramatic storytelling must go hand in hand, is my taste, and it's been great to have a creative collaborator to put me in dramatic positions and action situations, where we had to come up with new terms, like gun-fu, and car-fu, just to describe them. We've created a wonderful playground to explore what you can do with this character. Over the course of these chapters, we've been able to continue to surprise and to world-build and innovate with John Wick."

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