Martial Arts and John Wick: Chapter 4 (part 4)

4. March 2023

Today is 4. March 2023. Let’s get ready to watch John Wick: Chapter 4!
Release date 24. March 2023.  Only 20 days left!
Let’s continue discussion about the martial arts world, which is a key element of the John Wick movies, based on some excerpts from the book Keanu Reeves’ Art & Speed, which will bring us closer to understanding martial arts and the fight scenes’ visual world in John Wick movies.


John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum

In John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum John Wick continues to fight for his life. The fight scenes are even more impressive than in the first two movies.

Keanu also did much training together with Halle Berry for fight scenes. Halle worked on movies which she loved very much. She had to work and the computer did the other half of the work. But here she had to do all the work. So, training was different to anything she had ever experienced before. There were also some injuries. She remembered: “I was training with Chad, sorry I’m gonna put this on you, and all of a sudden couldn’t breathe anymore. I fell to the ground and I said, ‘Chad.’ I never wanted to stop with him, I would always say ‘I can go again, I can keep going.’ But this day I couldn’t keep going anymore. I went to the doctor and I had three broken ribs.” The crew waited for her to recover, making some other scenes, and then continued together.

Keanu Reeves and a horse-fu

“We worked with amazing stunt people, everyone was so conscious of not punching someone in the face. We had a horse sequence that was a little interesting,” Keanu continued the story. “I love the horse riding. There’s a sequence where I’m riding on the street, they wanted me to get off the saddle then shoot somebody underneath. I guess it’s a horse-fu.” He trained to do it, but he fell a couple of times. So, they created a ‘safety system’ for him. He liked it. It was a great collaboration. Everybody was looking out for each other. And they could do crazy wild stuff. You’ll never get to do that anywhere else in your life.

Keanu Reeves’ training according to Eusebio

Keanu’s preparation was like a martial artist working toward his next belt. He built upon what he learned in the previous Matrix and John Wick films. The fights are designed in balance. Jonathan Eusebio, fight choreographer said: “In the first [two movies] John was mostly fighting one-on-one, but this time he’s fighting multiple opponents at the same time. So we also used a lot of Aikido-esque movements — a lot of circular movements and wrist locks, not as much striking. There’s a lot of absorbing force and redirecting it, so the footwork and evasion tactics are very smooth.”

Another time he explained: “If you watch Jackie Chan, Sammo Hung, or Bruce Lee fights, it’s all long, beautiful shots — you can see all the choreography, and that’s because they can physically do all those moves. Sometimes you have to cheat if [actors] can’t do the stuff — [the camera] goes to a close-up, or to the back of the double. But there’s no reason to turn the camera away from Keanu, because he does 98% of everything — and the other 2% are things that insurance won’t let us do.”

To be continued …

Excerpts from the book:
The Matrix’Hero, Wins Over New Dimensions
© Yvette Kulik 2022  All rights reserved

Keanu Reeves' Art & Speed


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