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"A man seeking revenge for the death of his puppy.

July 31, 2020 - 14:20 -- Admin

I almost got into it with a friend over on the Book of Face after he seemed to diss Charlize Theron’s The Old Guard as a John Wick Chick Flick.

But I couldn’t get past ‘John Wick Chick Flick’ as a smackdown, so I gave up. The exchange did remind me, however, of a great essay I read about the importance of that first John Wick movie to the action genre as a whole.

I’m pretty sure it was this piece in Looper.

It touches on a bunch of reasons for the genre breaking nature of JW. It’s use of ‘gun fu’, theist implied backstory, the stripped down minimalism of Keanu Reeves’s acting.

The thing that stayed with me was the importance of the directors having been stuntmen, and specifically Reeves’s own stunt doubles on The Matrix.

Stahelski and Leitch earned their trade in Hollywood as stuntmen, most notably on the The Matrix, the former as Keanu Reeves' double. This gave the pair a unique vantage point, combined with the desire to make the action a prized asset, demanding the spotlight. For Stahelski, many cameramen saw action sequences as stressful and cumbersome, an exercise in "hiding imperfections." Instead, they invited the cameramen into rehearsals and choreographed each scene meticulously, leaving no room for surprises on the day of filming.

To add even more authenticity, the directing duo were determined to include as much footage of Reeves as possible, resisting the temptation to use highly trained stunt doubles. No spring chicken at the age of 49 when filming began, Reeves performed the vast majority of stunts himself, spending four months of pre-production honing his technique. Training included Japanese jiu-jitsu, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, standing judo, tactical 3-gun and Center Axis Relock (CAR), a shooting system designed for close-quarter combat.

The result is fight choreography that flows freely, as charming as it is brutal and, most flattering, likened to a form of ballet; every movement carefully synchronised, each bullet accounted for and fired with poise. Violence in John Wick isn't only stylized, it's a form of art, an exercise in creativity, channelled through a professional hitman in the midst of his craft.’


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Anyway, it’s worth a read.

Even if the Rhino thought The Old Guard was just a chick flick.

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