LONDON, -, UNITED KINGDOM - 2019/05/03: Keanu Reeves seen attending the John Wick: Chapter 3 Parabellum, a special film screening at The Ham Yard Hotel, Denman Street. (Photo by Keith Mayhew/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Movies - TV
John Wick's Gun-Fu Fighting Style Was Made To Save Time and Money
The term gun-fu is often used to describe the fight scenes in the “John Wick” saga, but the style has had a long history in film and was first pioneered by legendary Hong Kong filmmaker John Woo in the ’80s. While it may seem like 2014’s “John Wick” pays homage to gun-fu and seeks to evolve it further, the development of the style appeared to come out of necessity.
Co-directors of the first “John Wick,” Chad Stahelski and David Leitch, had limited time and money to produce the film, so they required meticulous planning and ingenuity to get what they needed. The directors used one-shot action scenes, not only to reduce the need for edits but also to help the viewers believe they were watching an actual fight.
Stahelski explained, “The more you do punches and kicks, the more you gotta miss, because you gotta sell the hit, you gotta change the angle. So okay, we’re gonna get rid of punches and kicks. We’re gonna do judo, jiu-jitsu, and tactical gun work, so we can hold all the shots, no cuts. So we developed a style and reverse-engineered from there.”
This style, with its limited amount of strikes, led to yet another evolution of gun-fu, which remains constant in the franchise's sequels and looks to be a big part of the upcoming “John Wick: Chapter 4.” Although the development of Stahelski and Leitch’s unique gun-fu style came from necessity, its impact has taken the form to a new level.