Ninety percent of action movies are derivative. Carbon copies of better movies that came before them. They can be enjoyable, but are often forgettable. Then there’s the other ten percent. Those movies are something special. They originate and innovate, and rise about the rest by being different and surprising. However, by definition, even the best of the best employ many of the same beats. Punching, kicking, shooting, and explosions are the building blocks of an action movie. The ninety percent use them in ways we’ve seen before. The rest mix them up in ways we don’t expect. John Wick is among the ten percent.
In the first film by accomplished stunt coordinators Chad Stahelski and David Leitch, Keanu Reeves stars as an unstoppable assassin hell-bent on revenge after thugs steal his car and kill his dog. We’ve seen the assassin revenge story a hundred times, but John Wick feels different because it’s set in a unique, dirty, and lived-in world. Everyone has a reputation. Connections. They know each other. This is a place with a rich history simmering below the surface action of guns, choke holds and car crashes. What makes John Wick a standout action film is that it makes us curious. Read More »
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Keanu Reeves is getting a TV show. He’s producing and starring in the hour-long series Rain, based on the novel series by Barry Eisler. The show is described as a “globe-trotting action drama,” which is also being produced by his John Wick directors Chad Stahelski and David Leitch. Read More »
On November 1st 2012, I visited the set of The Wolverine in Sydney, Australia. To give you an idea of the timeline of my visit, Hurricane Sandy had just wreaked havoc in New York, and I woke up early one morning from the constant noises coming from my computer because I was getting so many notices of the breaking news that Disney had purchased LucasFilm and was making more Star Wars movies.
It is five in the morning and I’m standing in a street lined with Japanese houses covered with snow. The elaborate set was built in a huge parking lot that was built for the 2000 Olympic games. Flakes of snow fall as ninjas run and ride motorcycles along the rooftops. Hugh Jackman is hanging off the top of a snow plow as it barrels down the street, away from a crowd of masked ninjas. Jackman, employing safety harnesses, flips to his feet on top of the snowplow and “activates” his claws. The second unit director calls “cut”, and Hugh notices our little grouping of press off in the corner and yells out “So you guys a pulling an all nighter? Why don’t you put some ninja suits on and get in the action?”
After the jump you will find a compilation of interesting facts I learned while visiting the set.
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