Donnie Yen displayed his martial arts expertise throughout his “Ip Man” run. But with “John Wick,” he’ll be fully immersed in the series’ unique form of gun-fu. The style, pioneered by legendary Hong Kong filmmaker John Woo, features heavily throughout the “John Wick” series, and involves gunfights interspersed with mixed martial arts. But Chad Stahelski and his 87Eleven Action Design company have pushed gun-fu to a level even Woo probably never envisioned.
Now, it’s Yen’s turn to have a go at the super-charged gun-fu of the “John Wick” saga, in a highly-anticipated face-off with Keanu Reeves’ hitman that’s been heavily teased in the “John Wick: Chapter 4” trailer. And as Stahelski explained to Collider, the clash of two action movie titans required him to once again step things up:
“I can do the Donnie Yen triple kick. I can do all this, but you also want to do something different. So, you start sitting, you come at it from character, and you have a lot of discussions with the guys going, ‘Okay, Donnie is amazing at this. Keanu is amazing at this. They’re both great actors, so let’s lean onto that, and let’s do something we haven’t seen before.'”
That “something” basically amounted to giving Yen a sword and a pistol, while Reeves used a samurai sword and a couple of handguns for the big showdown. Beyond that, Stahelski explained how he pushed things further by throwing in, “an AR-15 and a glass mirror room with Japanese artifacts,” alongside, “a couple of dogs.” All of which should combine to make a suitably spectacular set piece that draws on the gun-fu style of the franchise while mixing things up with the addition of the swords.