This post contains spoilers for “John Wick: Chapter 4”
John Wick 4 is the climax of the franchise.
The saga’s fourth installement is the longest. Since John Wick 1, sequences have gotten longer and longer (1h36 for John Wick 1, 2h02 for John Wick: Chapter 2, and 2h10 for John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum). With Chapter 4, you’ll be in for a 2 hours and 49 minutes action feast.
It is also the deadliest: John outs his previous record from Chapter 2.
And most importantly: it is arguably the most original. The direction is – yet again – a step up. Whether it comes to style and scenery, costuming, lighting, stunts, music, or camera work, Chapter 4 raises the bar. One scene in particular caught our attention.
Top Down Bloodshed
As the movie nears its end, John Wick finds himself being chased by a swarm of assassins in Paris. At some point, he manages to seek shelter in an abandoned building. For our own pleasure, a group of assassins had the brillant idea to follow him inside. At the first encounter, as per usual, John takes one of them out. He gets a grip of a Dragon Breath loaded shotgun, and starts shooting his way through the first floor. The sequence builds up.
For the first and only time in the movie, John Wick Mode starts playing. He gets to the second floor. The hype is getting real.
As John proceeds to unleash his fury, the camera smoothly goes up. From here, the camera captures the action from a top-down perspective, slowly following John’s meticulous cleanup.
The movement. The color palette. The geometry. The muzzle flash lines. This seamless sequence felt straight out of “Hotline Miami”.
..or at least, that was our reference. In an exchange with slashfilm.com, John Wick director Chad Stahelski did mention the direct influence of a videogame in the making of this scene:
“I had seen this video game and I’ll throw a shout-out,” he said. “I think it was called ‘Hong Kong Massacre’ — they did this top shot and we had been doing so much with the big muzzle flashes and it just kind of clicked.”
Top-down shooter games have been a hit in the indie gaming community for a long time. Yet, the unique visual style of these games has not been replicated in live-action movies very often… Until Stahelski and the John Wick crew nailed it all in a one minute sequence.