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John Wick's Gun-Fu Fighting Style Looks Cool While Also Serving A Practical Purpose

Back in the 1980s, the "action hero" archetype became the big thing at the movies. Whether it was Sylvester Stallone as John J. Rambo or Arnold Schwarzenegger as Alan "Dutch" Schaefer, moviegoers couldn't get enough of over-the-top heroes taking down their enemies with big guns in their hands and big explosions behind them. With the turn of the new millennium, though, this kind of character all but fell away from mainstream pop culture, but that's not to say action heroes disappeared entirely. In fact, one name alone proved audiences still wanted to see them.

John Wick.

Since he arrived at the cinema in 2014, Keanu Reeves' feared assassin has become a Hollywood icon in short order. After getting out of the hitman game and attempting to live a normal life, he's pulled back in and forced to once again navigate the criminal underworld. Luckily for him, his skills are as sharp as ever, so anyone attempting to take their place in history by killing the "Baba Yaga" has an uphill battle ahead of them. Firefights, sword-clanging duels, or hand-to-hand encounters? Wick hasn't met a fight he couldn't win.

In fact, the "John Wick" films have even featured the title character in numerous gun-fu encounters — clashes that blend fistfights and gunfights for aesthetic as well as practical reasons.

Gun-fu worked well with John Wick's short filming schedule

In an interview with Forbes, "John Wick" director Chad Stahelski discussed what goes into the franchise's incredible gun-fu action sequences. He shared that while gun-fu certainly looks cool, the first film implemented it for the sake of accommodating the rather limited 47-day shooting schedule. "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," he said, explaining that traditional hand-to-hand sequences are far more tedious to film and would've hurt the pace of production.

Thankfully, as the "John Wick" saga has continued on, the movies have gotten more time to film, thus allowing Stahelski and his team the chance to pull off more elaborate fight sequences. In a sneak preview of "John Wick: Chapter 4," Keanu Reeves shed some light on an incredibly complicated action set piece involving a fight through a crowd of dancers. "They had to keep dancing or be in the moment and kind of just ignore that fight scene that's going on around you and in front of you," Reeves told Collider, adding that the scene all came down to perfect cooperation among those involved to make it feel authentic.

The "John Wick" series shows little sign of slowing down any time soon, so it stands to reason the minds behind the films have plenty more breathtaking action sequences in store in the years to come.