JOHN WICK: CHAP­TER 2

A SEEM­INGLY ROU­TINE THRILLER BLEW UP INTO A BUL­LET-RID­DLED PHE­NOM­E­NON. NOW KEANU REEVES IS BACK TO UP THE GUN-FU ANTE IN JOHN WICK: CHAP­TER 2

Empire (UK) - - CONTENTS - WORDS JAMES DYER DIG­I­TAL IMAG­ING JUSTIN METZ

The Keanu Reeves hit man hit has spawned a se­quel. Chap­ter 3 sees him team up with his long-lost brother, Hamp­ton.

here’s a scene in Taken 3 where Liam Nee­son climbs over a fence. As crack CIA op­er­a­tive Bryan Mills, the ac­tor jogs over to a parked car, scrab­bles onto the roof and heaves him­self over the eight-foot, chain-link fence be­fore land­ing on some­one’s lawn. The se­quence lasts just six sec­onds, but is cut to­gether from 15 sep­a­rate shots of Nee­son (and a swarthy stunt dou­ble) van­quish­ing the ob­sta­cle.

Quick cuts and clever an­gles, as much as bul­lets and bombs, have be­come the weapons of choice for mod­ern ac­tion movies. Whether em­ployed by Green­grass, Nolan or Taken 3’s Olivier Me­ga­ton, ver­tig­i­nous cam­er­a­work can cre­ate pow­er­ful il­lu­sions: be it Ja­son Bourne tak­ing out a dozen as­sailants in the blink of an eye, or an age­ing spy clam­ber­ing over a rail­ing. Rapid-fire edit­ing is jar­ring and dis­ori­en­tat­ing, repli­cat­ing the chaos of com­bat; the mael­strom of limbs sav­age and pri­mal, suck­ing view­ers into the fight. It is a tried and tested tech­nique that has un­der­pinned some of the most vis­ceral fight se­quences of the past decade.

“It’s also com­plete bull­shit,” adds Chad Sta­hel­ski. And he should know. The di­rec­tor of John Wick: Chap­ter 2 is an ac­com­plished mar­tial artist with more black belts than a Reiss sum­mer sale. A for­mer fight­ing in­struc­tor, Sta­hel­ski is also a vet­eran stunt co-or­di­na­tor with more than 60 ti­tles on his CV, in­clud­ing all three Ma­trix films. “Fast edit­ing is cheat­ing,” he con­tin­ues. “You watch any of the great Hong Kong guys like Jackie Chan or Bruce Lee and it’s all wide shots. Why? Be­cause you’re not watch­ing pre­tend mar­tial arts. You’re watch­ing an ex­tremely tal­ented in­di­vid­ual kick some ass.”

Em­pire is talk­ing to Sta­hel­ski on the Brook­lyn set of his trig­ger-happy re­venge se­quel, cur­rently dressed to re­sem­ble the in­te­rior of a mod­ern-art gallery. As if to il­lus­trate his point, the di­rec­tor gives us a pointed look be­fore he

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