Normally, the fourth entry in an action franchise isn't the most anticipated of the series. That's simply not the case with "John Wick: Chapter 4," which by the way, is only the working title for the new movie due out in theaters March 24, 2023. "We still have the proper title to come out yet," director Chad Stahleski recently told Collider. The original "John Wick" set a new high bar for American action films, blending close-quarter fighting styles with a sleek art film appeal that's now referred to as "neon-noir." To keep raising the stakes, "John Wick: Chapter 4" has to be bigger, grittier, and longer than its predecessors.
There are at least a third more scenes in the new film, so expect "Chapter 4" to be somewhere over the two-hour mark. Moving way beyond the New York City limits, the world is expanding to feature exotic locales in Aqaba, Jordan (the setting for the opening sequence), Paris, Berlin, Tokyo, and Osaka.
Stahleski seems confident that all of the jet-setting will translate to the screen, making "John Wick: Chapter 4" the most visually stunning entry in the franchise. New characters like Bill Skarsgård's The Marquis and Clancy Brown's Harbinger should also expand the mythology and keep eyes glued to the screen. Throughout the entire process of shooting, editing, and adding VFX, Stahleski has watched multiple versions of "Chapter 4" with a small creative team around him including Keanu Reeves. They've watched it every week and apparently think they have something very special on their hands that may wind up making the much-anticipated sequel the most explosive entry yet.
'I Don't Get Bored At All.'
After co-directing the original "John Wick" with David Leitch ("Bullet Train") and the last two sequels, Stahleski said "Chapter 4" is the first film that never seems to drag at all, telling Collider:
"I've watched this thing now, this version of the cut, close to 100 times, and another 100 by the end of the month at least. And this is the first one that we watch and I don't get bored at all. It's my own film. I know it's weird to say, but I watch it and I was like, 'Oh, I'm still in the movie.'"
It's a very good sign for the speed and pace of the film when Stahleski and the entire post-production team including Reeves has so much confidence in what they've created. "Keanu and I, and the really tight circle that I have around us, we've watched it every week," said Stahleski. "We have a little group. 'Let's just watch it one more time to make sure we're not talking ourselves into something.'"
Aside from the action and lore-filled world of "John Wick," cinematographer Dan Lausten's keen eye could also be a reason "Chapter 4" has such a high rewatch factor. The look of the world was inspired by modern artists like Olafur Eliasson and James Turrell who both use light in profound, eye-popping ways. Potentially, Reeves will be battling with Donnie Yen, Hiroyuki Sanada, Shamier Anderson, and Rina Sawayama in the foreground while stunning background imagery lights up the action from behind.
When the title card pops up to hopefully reveal the actual title of "John Wick: Chapter 4," audiences should be taken for an incredible ride that should lead right into "Chapter 5." There may also be some links and clues that offer some insights into the new "Ballerina" spin-off and the upcoming television series "The Continental."
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