Why John Wick 4 Needs to Feature More Martial Arts Stunts

Why John Wick 4 Needs to Feature More Martial Arts Stunts

John Wick: Chapter 4 has brought on so many big martial arts stars, delivering on the high expectations this sets up needs to be a priority.

John Wick: Chapter 4 needs to devote more attention than ever to the martial arts that is the franchise’s stock and trade. From the start of the John Wick series, martial arts has been an integral element of each film, and as the series at large has gotten increasingly grand and complex as it’s moved ahead, so too have its fight scenes. However, the fourth John Wick has expectations skyrocketing ahead of its release next year, thanks to the casting of prominent martial arts movie stars. This is an opportunity the franchise can’t afford to waste.

As the film has entered production (following, as most films tend to at the moment, a COVID-19 delay), John Wick: Chapter 4 has cast Marko Zaror, Donnie Yen, Hiroyuki Sanada, and Scott Adkins. For martial arts fans, to call this a big deal would be putting it mildly, and even more casual moviegoers have a decent awareness of at least one or two of those names. Not only are all of them incredible martial artists, but each has also been involved in quite a few beloved action hits.

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Donnie Yen brought MMA into Hong Kong movies and is well known for his portrayal of Bruce Lee’s mentor in the Ip Man films, while Hiroyuki Sanada’s impressive career includes the period epic The Last Samurai as well as portraying Scorpion in the 2021 Mortal Kombat. Scott Adkins helped kicked straight-to-video action movies above and beyond their theatrical counterparts with the Ninja movies and the Yuri Boyka-driven Undisputed series, while Marko Zaror’s headlined Chilean action movies like Mirageman and Redeemer and also battled Adkins in Undisputed 3: Redemption. By bringing all four of them aboard, Chapter 4 is sending a very clear to message for action lovers, which is “get excited.

John Wick in the Continental

This isn’t the first time the series has set deliberately set expectations this high, either. John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum similarly pulled Tiger Chen, Mark Dacascos, Yayan Ruhian, and Cecep Arif Rahman into its roster of martial artists, while Sanada had been in talks to join, as well (ironically, as the villain Zero that Dacascos ultimately portrayed). Parabellum continued to take the series to new heights in every aspect, including its martial arts fights, which took on a ninja movie flair in Zero and his students’ battles with John. There was clearly a reason why Parabellum brought so many martial arts stars into the film, and it’s a reasoning that Chapter 4 evidently shares.

With Yen, Sanada, Adkins, and Zaror in the next John Wick, the movie needs to pull out all the stops and really let them all cut loose with what they can do, from Yen’s Wing Chun chain-punching from the Ip Man series to Zaror’s astonishing skill with flips and airborne kicks despite his fairly large frame. If Parabellum is any indication, that’s exactly the agenda that stuntman-turned-director Chad Stahelski has in mind, and it could lead to John Wick: Chapter 4 not just following John’s ongoing return from retirement, but also having the most amazing martial arts battles of the series yet.

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  • John Wick: Chapter 4 (2022)Release date: May 27, 2022

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