Alex discusses fainting during “John Wick: Chapter 4,” efficient emergency room visits, Keanu Reeves at the top of his game, Lance Reddick, Ian McShane, and all the best action scenes from the entire “John Wick” franchise.
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Hey, everyone. Welcome to. What are you watching? I'm Alex Witt throwing I'm flying solo today. Flying solo for John Wick, Chapter four. Why am I Alone? My best man, Nick Dostal does not like the John Wick movies. I have tried. I have tried by demanding that he watch a few of them. I have tried by stating my case verbally as well as I can. I will let him explain his reasoning behind all this if he wants to someday. But essentially he thinks John Wick should have died at the end of the first movie and therefore all the other movies are I don't know, irrelevant or silly or unnecessary. I don't even know if he's seen any of them. Anyway, he's not. Here I am. I've seen John Wick for one and a half time, so I'm going to talk about that. I'm going to give a spoiler free review of the movie. Obviously, I'm not going to give anything away. It's going to be really high level. And then I want to talk about the first three movies a little bit, specifically the action scenes. I'm assuming most people listening to this have seen one, if not all of these movies. John Wick Ford has had a killer weekend in the movie theater. I love it. My relationship with these movies, you know, the first movie when it was released in October 2014, it was not a big deal like not on its first day. I don't know if people remember this this movie almost went to I don't know what it would have gone to in 2014, I guess streaming or straight to video or DVD, but it was not slated to appear in theaters. I know that is crazy to think about. Now. I'm not talking like during pre-production. I'm saying the movie is wrapped, done, finished. It's being screened and no one wants it. No one. So they were just going to dump this thing. I mean, that's that's insane to think about now. Lionsgate very smartly picked up that first movie, put it in a few theaters, and I see a lot in the theater. And I didn't even go to this. I was living in L.A. at the time and didn't even bother because I knew absolutely nothing about it. And by the time I caught wind of it, I heard about all these great reviews. Everyone was losing their mind on Twitter about it. You got to go see it. You got to go see it. It was gone from theaters because it really didn't hang around for that long. When I caught it later on Blu ray, I was just stunned at what I was watching. And I and I've gone to see all the rest in the theater. I own all of them. So I'm a huge fan of this franchise. I love how it captures and executes action. I think it is I think it is genuinely unparalleled in the past ten years of American filmmaking. I, I can't think of anyone else or any other films that are done this way. Maybe I'm not watching every single action movie, but in America, this type of where the camera's far back and it's not cutting a lot and you can tell the star is doing a lot of his own stunts. Oh, my God. It's so yeah, I love even though I'm mostly going to be talking about the action scenes of these movies today, I love all of this lore. I love the high table, I love the markers, I love all the words, all the codes, all the signals. I love that shit. I think it is hilarious. And that's part of why I've always gone back to John Wick one. So much, because we're just getting into this world, The Continental, all that shit. Oh, my God, I love it. I'll talk about all the movies in a bit. John Wick four So I'm in John Wick four in IMAX at the AMC near me in a place called Tysons Corner in Northern Virginia. Okay, I go to this movie theater a lot. I see movies in IMAX there a lot. I'm very familiar with it. The movie sold out. It's a 7 p.m. show. It's the Thursday before it officially opens. It's an IMAX sold out. I'm sitting like pretty far near the back dead center surrounded by people. Everyone is there to have a good time, and I'm having a good time for the first hour or so. And I'm just watching the movie, minding my own business and things start to change within me. I do not know what's happening. I'm just sitting there enjoying the movie and every time I have ever vomited in my life, like from being sick, every single time I vomited in my life, it has been accompanied with profuse sweating before it like 10 to 15 seconds of intense sweating. And I know my body well enough now to know that it is saying, Hey, buddy, you don't have much time here. This is going to be bad. So I'm just sitting there and I'm like, What? I'm going to puke in a movie theater. I'm never like, I don't know what to do. I'm I'm surrounded by people. And then that feeling goes away. I'm still sweating a lot, but then I notice that the screen John Wick is no longer in color. It's just in black and white. And I look around me and all my vision goes, I swear to God and everything is now black. And then suddenly the sound of the movie starts warbling like that, and the sound goes. So I cannot see, I cannot here and I am conscious, not like 100%, but I'm still able to think. And I mean, it's funny, laugh about it. Now, this is Monday. This happened on Thursday, so it's been a few days. But I have to be honest, I literally thought I was dying. I was like, Oh, this is what happens. Everything just shuts down. I guess this is what it is. I thought maybe I was like, I guess I'm having a stroke or a heart attack. Like, I don't know what's going on. I've never experienced this in my life. I come to a little bit and things are still not okay. I'm like, I don't know what's going on, but I have to get out of here because something like really, really bad is happening. And I'm like 30% there. I have about 30% vision. I can barely hear. I'm sweating so much that I can't grip things because my hands are I mean, I sweat through. I was wearing a gray shirt. It was, oh my God, I sweat through the whole thing. I'm holding my jacket. So of course I'm in the damn center of the aisle. And I look over and I go, I have to crawl over like 20 strangers to get out of here. I have to at least try to get out of here because I don't know what's going to happen if I just keep sitting in the seat. So I get up and I'm, you know, I'm doing this. Sorry. Sorry thing. Excuse me. Excuse me. You know, even in these big ass IMAX theaters, they still don't give you enough room to, like, exit without people having to move. Sucks. So as I'm walking out with my right hand, like I am fully grabbing the back of everyone's chair in the row in front of me and fully supporting myself, putting all of my weight on that. And I'm trying to move and I'm like, I just need to get to the exit door. I just need to get there. Like, okay, sorry, sorry. So I make it. I'm in the aisle. I clear the theater now. I am in like a little hallway, you know, I just I've cleared the theater door and I wake up on the ground. I do not know how much time has passed. My head is hurting very badly. I can't see. Well, everything is extremely blurry. You know, I like kind of remember where I am, but I basically just, like, startled awake on the ground and I realize like, oh, my God, I just fainted, like, and fell straight on my fucking face. Like, nothing. Blocked it too straight on my face. So I got to rewind a little bit because everyone's first question and it is fair. How the hell did no one in the theater see you? Not even in like the actual screening room itself, but like, you know, in the lobby, in the hallway, how to No one see you? How to no one help you? Okay, bear with me. Most every movie theater we walk into, you kind of walk in toward like, the front of the house. You know, you're kind of close to the screen in most of them. You're kind of close to the screen. And then you walk up some stairs up to stadium seating to get to your row. And then when the movie is done, that's how you exit. You kind of walk down toward the screen and, you know, exit in those hallways. Okay, This specific theater, it that's how you get into this IMAX theater. That's one way to get in. But it also has a very small, somewhat hidden exit at the top of the theater. So at the very top back of this theater is a small exit that leads into a very small hallway. And in that hallway is a one stall men's bathroom. And I guess I assume a one or two stall women's bathroom. But it's they're kind of secret and tucked away. I've been going to this movie theater for like 12 years. I just discovered this little exit in hallway like a year and a half ago. I'm not even kidding. But when I was sitting there in my seat, that was my mission. I went, You're there is no way in hell you're walking down all of the stairs to use that main entrance exit, like near the screen. I even knew that, but I knew I was really close to that quote unquote side secret exit. So that was my mission for myself. I'm sitting there when I come to in the theater. I'm like, I need to make it out that back exit, and then I will make it to that men's room and be alone in there. And then I can you know, it's not dark, it's not loud. I can figure it out. I don't know what's going on. So that's where I was heading. And no one uses this exit. Even when the movie's done, people don't know about this exit. No one uses it. The only way someone would have found me is if they went to use that very small men's or very small women's restroom. And clearly no one did okay, So I wake up on the fucking ground and I do not know what's happened. My glasses, I wear glasses and my glasses are off of my face and I kind of pick them up off the ground and I look down at the movie theater floor. It wasn't carpeted. It's just like, you know, that the floor, the concrete floor and there is blood on it. So I'm like, okay, I'm in trouble here. I tried to get up and walk, couldn't walk. And again, I'm like, I'm maybe 20% with it. So I, I crawled on my hands and knees into the men's restroom, into the stall, and then I just put my jacket down on the ground and fell asleep again. People don't do this. I don't if you think you have a head injury for the love of God, don't fall asleep. Because if I had a concussion, this could have been very, very, very dangerous. I couldn't have been asleep for that long because I kind of, you know, I'm just like in and out of it. Bring my hand up to my face, bring my hand away. My hand is covered in blood. Okay. Shit. So I managed to, like, get to my knees. I go look, I opened the stall door and now I'm standing in front of the bathroom mirror and are my glasses on the right side have punctured the right side of my face. I'm really damn lucky. No glass or or like the frame of my glasses didn't go into my eye, which could have really happened. So I had a lot of scratches around the right. I got a really big shiner. Moore, over my bottom set of teeth, severely punctured my lower lip. And as and that's where all the blood was coming from. There were some from my face, but I didn't need like a stitch on my face or anything. It was fine. Your face just bleeds a lot if you get, you know, if you have a cut there. My lip was bleeding a lot and I could see in to the hole and, you know, it wasn't going through my lip, but it was bad. Teeth were okay, Nothing was chipped. But I clearly just fell like on the right side of my face. And that was it. And, you know, I've been knocked around a little bit in my life. I've been hit in the face a lot. And I know what it feels like to get hit in the face. And I was like, okay, you just got hit in the face. Like, that's what it felt like, huh? So I'm sitting there on the toilet, you know, fully clothed, just still sweating my ass off. I again, have no idea why this is happening, but I'm like, we need to figure out what to do, because I'm losing a lot of blood, too, where, like, I could pass out again, like, it was a lot. So a little about me personally, I am. I really do not like to inconvenience people. Like at all strangers. Forget about it. I never inconvenience strangers. I never tried to do that. And this also includes people I love and who love me. And I it's, I guess, a little bit of a fault of mine. I just tried to, like, tough it out and figure out, you know, what to do and how to move on. So that's just how I've kind of done things. I'm not like stubborn in asking for help. If I need help, I'll ask it. Trust me. But I mean, my wife and I the next day, on Friday, like early, we're going to a wedding in Kentucky and like, we have to be on a plane really early. And I have to, like, meet dozens of people that I've never met. And that is what is going through my mind as I'm sitting bloodied, beaten, half awake in a stall in a movie theater as I'm about to call my wife, I'm like, God, I feel like I could just ruin this whole weekend. Like, is there a way I can handle this myself? She's at home packing. She's doing all sorts of shit that she needs to do. This is what's going through my head. But when I realized the damage was, you know, worse than I thought, gave her a call. So my wife is, like, super cool, like, super, super cool, knows how to handle things. She's keeping me calm. She hops in her car, comes and gets me. She found an emergency room right there in Tysons Corner. I didn't even know it was there. I got to give them a huge shout out. I was one of two people in that night. They got me back right away. And you know that. Come on, let's be honest. Even people listening to this podcast, if you've made it this far, I promise I'm going to talk about John Wick Ford, all the John Wick movies. If you've made it this far, it would be fair to think so. Was this dude loaded of any kind? Was he boozing? Were there drugs involved? Of course. That's the first thing the doctor's going to ask. That was the first question the nurse asked me. It's fair. Alcohol? None. Drugs? None. I said, I wish for drugs because then this would be easy to explain. Nothing not dehydrated. Been drinking water all day. Maybe didn't enough food. That's where my head went. Maybe it's low blood sugar. They're going to check all this. They I got every damn test, you know, they're hooked me up to all this shit IV's going into. I've made me feel better. I came back to life because before the IV, when they were talking to me, my wife said I sounded drunk, like I couldn't form coherent sentences. I knew like my name, my birthday, where I was. I knew that stuff. But it was I don't know. It was just tough to, like, get a thought out. It was everything was really hazy. Hook me up to the I.V.. I come back to life, I'm talking fine. They run every test imaginable. Everything's fine. Vitals, flying colors, everything's good. They've no idea what happened. So what did happen? Why did this happen? No one knows. I still don't know. I just know that it looks like I got punched really hard in the face because of my eye. While I was at this wedding all weekend, it looked like I had Kardashian lips as a few people lovingly referred to my lower lip as That was great. I don't know. I didn't even know I'm telling the story. I just thought it was kind of funny the way I can describe it. You know that feeling. Everyone knows that feeling. When you stand up too quick, you just get up too quick and you're lightheaded. It was that times a thousand for an hour and I did not move to provoke it. I was just sitting in my chair. Now, Nurse Tiffany shout out to nurse Tiffany said she was going to listen to this episode. Her and her husband are big fans of the John Wick series. She asked the question, And I even risk bringing this up because it's this is not why it happened, but but maybe it contributed. Maybe it did. There is a scene about an hour into John Wick for no spoilers that involves a knife and a hand. That is what I'll say. And it's it's just one of those like CBGB scenes. I was like, Oh, you know, people in the theater groaning like, Oh, you can't watch. I couldn't even look at all of it. So that's what the nurse asked, Was there anything in the movie that could have, you know, set off a fainting spell? And I told her about the scene and I went, But that scene happened. And then like 20 more minutes of the movie went by like, I don't I wasn't even thinking about that scene. I'm only thinking about it now because you're asking me and I've gone back to see the movie and I watch that scene and I was I was fine. I don't I don't know. I mean that. And then she asked, Has this ever happened to you? I've actually wanted to talk about this on the podcast before. Has any movie made you, like, nauseous or sick? It has happened twice for one of them. I was 11 years old. It's like February 1996. So my friend Chris's house, we were watching Casino for the first time, and as soon as those baseball bats came out, I definitely felt like I was going to puke and I could not watch for like 20 seconds. So that's when I was 11. Then God, the first time I saw Antichrist in the theater. And it wasn't it it wasn't the wood block and how that is implemented. So when she uses that manual fuckin drill to go through his leg. Oh, my God. That was the only time in the theater where I was like, Oh, I'm going to lose it. Like I'm going to throw up. But I didn't think either of those times. I didn't, like, collapse in totally just fade. Wow. I have one more point to make about this story, and I risk making it because I have to get on my soapbox for a little bit. So the nurse and doctor, everyone was great. Everyone was great at this E.R. I loved them. The doctor said, You know, you got two choices with a lip. You can get a few stitches or you can tough it out and, you know, eat yogurt for two or three days and just gargle a lot of saltwater. And I went tough it out. And the reason I chose that is because stitches, when they're inside of your mouth, there's actually a higher chance of infection because there's just more going on in there. I've had them a few times. The main reason is because if I got the stitches, they were going to prescribe me painkillers. So soapbox time, stay off the pills, folks. Don't do it. Tough it the fuck out. Forget these fucking pills. Tough it out. These pills do not cure pain. They trick your brain into thinking your pain does not exist. Fuck them, Don't use them. That's it. Hate these pills. If you have someone in your life like I do. Maybe a few people like I do who've been taking pills like that for years for years. Because, you know, their brain and body has convinced them that they need it. It's a terrible thing to watch. Go watch Dopesick. Don't take these pills. Pain sucks, but it does go away. And also, I kind of like feeling this lit pain. Why am I recording a podcast? I think I have a little bit of a lisp. I don't know. I don't know. I can't tell. Why am I doing it? Because I plan to record this podcast on Monday anyway. And I went, You know what? I'm just going to do it. Who cares? I want to talk about John Wick. I didn't know I was going to have this story to tell. Just try to tough it out, okay? Don't take these. Just don't take these pills. Don't do it. What I was going to say is I kind of like this pain that I have right now, because as I was explaining to my wife, it puts into perspective how nice it is to eat on a regular basis and not have pain. Just so you know, if you're eating or chewing gum or drinking water right now and your lower lip doesn't hurt, just be a little thankful for that. I'm going to be thankful as hell when this thing clears. When this thing heals. No pills. Fuck those pills. All this to say John Wick four is awesome. Oh, it hurts when I smile. John Wick four Great action movie. I loved this movie. Not going to lie. I was really bummed sitting there in the hospital that I had to miss this movie. I was like, I really wanted to see this. So I had a whole plan is going to see it. I was going to let it marinate and then it was going to be ready to part about it solo on Monday. But I went to Kentucky for a wedding that was fun. All the jokes about my face were fun. I made some to oh, my hotel was right next to a movie theater. So my wife, on the day of the wedding at 11 a.m., it's like, Take your ass to John Wick four. You got to finish this. You know, a marker to cash in. She didn't say that. She hasn't seen these movies, but, you know, that was the idea. So that's what I did. And it was awesome. I had a great time. My God. My crowd in Northern Virginia was really into it, but so were my folks in Kentucky. We were cheering, having a great time, 11 a.m. on a Saturday. It was it was a hell of a time. I loved it. No snacks for me. Lip hurts, Candy popcorn. Got to drink. I had one beer at the wedding. One beer? Have you ever ordered a beer? And then right after it asked for a straw. That's fun, But no, really. John Wick, four. I am going to talk about all the movies, but I think it's pretty safe to say I'm not out here trying to speak for everyone, but it kind of seems like everyone who loves these movies, we're all kind of in agreement that four is the best. Like it's just the best movie. It's one of the best action movies I have ever seen. And I love one, two and three, but it's pretty damn weird that a lot of fans are out here admitting that the fourth movie in the series is the best. And you know, your ranking may differ. That's fine, but I haven't found a single person online in my personal life anywhere who has disliked John Wick. Four. And this damn thing is 3 hours. And oh, I would tell you if I was bored at all during it and not once I actually checked my phone at one point. Not because I was like, God, where am I? I do that sometimes in a movie just to track the movie, just to be like, Oh, is this going to wrap up? I checked my phone and there was 50 minutes left and I was still like, How the hell are they going to end this? I'm like, Oh my God, I'm on the edge of my seat. They're going to do this in 50 minutes. Oh, my God. Five zero. Oh, my God, you're so good. So if you're thinking about seeing it, please, for the love of God, go see it. I will say I saw it in a regular format in Kentucky. I didn't really have a choice. That was all that was available at that theater. The kind of like our 20 minutes I saw in IMAX was I don't want to be hyperbolic here, like, that might be the best sound I have heard in IMAX yet. I'm talking again. No spoilers. I'm talking This movie opens John Wick, Chapter four opens. You're just like staring at a woodblock and there's like some rope tied behind a woodblock and there's like, some blood stained on the rope and you're just looking at it and then boom, a fist comes into frame. And when that fucking fist hit that woodblock, I saw some popcorn go flying in my theater. I'm talking the IMAX showing here. And everyone who had two free hands just started applauding. I was sitting next to two strangers and we all looked at each other and we were like, Holy shit, this price of admission was absolutely worth it. So John Wick four Go see it. But if you live near an IMAX screen, Oh my God, I cannot recommend that enough. I'm still going to go see the whole damn thing in IMAX. I don't know if I should go back to that theater and tempt fate. I actually really want to go back and ask them for the footage. I swear to God. I want to go and ask them to go back to the time stamp and see if their security footage of me just like fallen straight on my ass or really straight on my face. I think it would be hysterical if I can find it. Hand to God. I will upload it to our Twitter account, I promise. Okay. Let's go all the way back to John Wick. One. Yes. Full endorsement. John Wick four. What are you watching? Recommendation? Absolutely. Let's go back to John Wick one, though. You know, I kind of talked about where I was at in October 2014 when this movie was released. In terms of me not seeing it, not really hearing much about it and not really caring what I did here. So weird to say all this now, but this movie was released in October 2014 and Keanu Reeves was. I mean, Kyoto has always been okay. Career wise Star wise, whatever he has. But after Matrix three and before John Wick one, so we're talking like, I don't know, 24 to 2013, it's a little spotty. I've seen most of the movies there and some of them are good and some of them have since Constantine A Scanner Darkly. Nick and I love that movie, The Lake House, but there was not a hit. He did produce a really good documentary that I liked side by side. He directed his first movie, Man of Tai Chi, but it just wasn't the best decade of his career, I'll put it that way. John Wick comes in 2014 and this damn thing catapults Keanu back to the upper echelons of pop culture, where he's really been ever since John Wick one. They made that for 20 million. It grossed 88 million total. That's not bad considering this. This movie barely got released in theaters. All hail Lionsgate for that one. Trust me. Another thing I love about this series is that they've all been directed by the same guy, Chad Stahelski, who's a legendary stunt performer, now turned director. He was Keanu's stunt double on The Matrix films I also love. He has a hilarious acting performance, I thought, in Matrix four as Carrie-Anne Moss is husband Chad. So one thing I've gathered from watching every John Wick movie I watched one, two and three in the same day, and then the next day I was supposed to watch four, but I only got like an hour into that. But I've seen all these movies in very quick succession and one, two and three. If we're talking action scenes, they kind of follow a similar template. There are five main action set pieces in the first three movies and the style of some of the center set pieces usually like the third and fourth set pieces in John Wick movies. There's three or 4 minutes of intense action and then things calm down for two or 3 minutes. Then the action picks back up for 3 minutes, 2 minutes of calm, three more minutes of action, and then we're done and we go back to story. And then usually the last action scene is just you're just staying there for like, I don't know, 6 to 7 minutes. But in John Wick one, you know, it actually takes 29 minutes to get to our first full fledged action scene. There are some, you know, for these more for these quicker bursts of action. I called them quick wicks. And the first one by example is that terrible dog killing scene 14 minutes in. That's obviously what gets this whole ruckus started and gets John Wick set out on his journey. There is no scene. I hate more in movies, but it's, you know, we have to hate what happens in this scene so we understand why Wick does what he does. But that home invasion, 29 minutes in, you know, it's only like two and a half minutes long. This is when we're really getting a taste of this. How precise and how smooth and how confident these action scenes are going to be. The camera's it moving too much. The film is certainly not cutting much. And oh, my God, is that one kill where he breaks the guy's neck on the counter? Brutal. And it ends with that really slow pushing shot of wick plunging that knife into the guy's chest. It's just it's a real great tone setter for where the entire series is going to go. And this whole time Wick is just using one pistol. The second big action set piece and John Wick one, we're about 48 minutes in here. It's that six minute long club fight. I think this is the best action scene in the first one. And again, talking about these templates, like every John Wick movie since has a big action gun fight shootout in a club here, there's a few face to face kills first and then things just go nuts. Starts in the bathhouse that great for tap on that really huge buff guy. We're John Wick. One, two, three shots to the chest and then one to the head. Brutal. Oh, When this scene moves to the dance floor. I remember watching this for the first time. I was at home because I didn't seen the theater, and I went. When was the last time an action scene has been done this? Well, I just love this. I love the music, I love the pace. I love that we're seeing all this hand-to-hand combat. I love that. I can tell it's actually Keanu in there. But now Wick is killing in public. He doesn't kill citizens, but he's out there killing people in public. It's so menacing. And then when that huge guy throws wick off the balcony and you see Wick just land on the dance floor, you can feel that crunch and it's back. It's absolutely brutal. Next big scene where in the Continental, it's the Continental hotel room fight. That's when Adrianne Palicki, as Miss Perkins, she sneaks into Wick's room. They have a little they have a little tussle. Willem Dafoe is there. He's helping John Wick out. I love how these movies make room for humor as well. I think that's one of the reasons they do so well. And the humor in this scene are those great silent cutaways to Lance Reddick as Chiron, who's the concierge of the Continental. And we just cut down to him. He's trying to call the room because, you know, they've had some noise complaints. And it's really funny that it takes time to do that. Lance Reddick, rest in peace. Lance Reddick, what a terrible sudden loss. Oh, my God. Like right before John Wick four comes out. Like, it's just it's absolutely terrible. I've loved this guy since the early nineties. I watched Oz, believe it or not, with my dad as it was on. Lance Reddick was a huge part in one of the seasons of that show. He has an arc that I have just never forgotten, so I've always associated him with Oz. Of course, he went on to Lieutenant Daniels in The Wire. Maybe that's what he's best known for. He's so good. He's kind of like, What's so cool about him is that when we meet Daniels, he's the moral center of that show. But he still has some bad shit in his past that they're like, alluding to and referencing. And that never goes away. I mean, they talk about it like in one of the first episodes of the show and they're still talking about it in the series finale, how it really shows, like even if you're on the up and up now, has some stuff in your past, can haunt you forever. I'm talking like dirty cop stuff. I love him in that. I mean, he was in so much every law and order he showed up in Lost. He was in a few episodes, Fringe, which I had never seen. Bosch, of course, the John Wick movies, always a fan of his very, very sorely missed. And, you know, it's great to be able to see him as Chiron in these movies because he's so damn good. The next action set piece in John Wick, it's one of these layered ones I'm talking about. You know, it starts with the attack on Vigo, but this is only like 90 seconds long where Wick shoots, shoots up Vigo and his men outside of the church in the parking lot, which has a way bigger weapon. Now he's got these automatics. He's just going around cleaning house quick scene because Wick gets hit by a car, he gets hit by cars a lot and then, you know, there's like a little break and then we it's the die screaming alongside him scene where Wick is tied down. He's captured. They start choking him with a plastic bag. Wick and Caryl, that big henchman who threw John off the balcony in the club. They get into some great hand-to-hand combat. I mean, you know, there's finger biting, there's eye gouging, just great MMR work. That's obviously another huge aspect of these movies. This is how they incorporate Emma into their gun work. It's Oh my God, I've never I've genuinely never seen anything like it. And, you know, the scene keeps going. Wick captures Viggo. Viggo gives up his son Wick goes and attacks the safe house. And I love the end of that safe house scene because there's no talk, there's no debate. There's a belly shot, there's a head shot, and it's done. Wick has got his man, and there's still 25 minutes left in the movie. And that movie ends with what starts with a car chase. The whole sequence is about 7 minutes long. We get Dean Winters is getting all scared. God, I love Dean Winters. Speaking of AHS, working with Lance Reddick in AHS, this car chase scene, it's so cool because Wick is using he's using like half guns and half using his car to kill these guys. He's whipping it all around, plowing them over. And that's how part one plays out with the fate of Viggo in John Wick's hands. I love all the action in all of these movies, but the series in Chad, the director, they've clearly made a concerted effort to keep one upping themselves. So the action is only getting bigger and bigger from the first movie. But just looking at that first movie, remembering the first time I saw it, I was so impressed. I'm still impressed when I watch it by the stunt work, but I was blown away. And then like I already mentioned, the world building the Continental, the high table. I love all that stuff and I love how the how this first movie is introducing all of it to us just with baby steps like it's giving us just enough, just these little breadcrumbs that like, Wow, this whole world seems like they really thought a lot about this and built it out. And you want to see more of it. You want to know like, what the hell is really going on back there? And then that's what the sequels give us, which is awesome. So we move right on to John Wick two. They released this in February 2017, just in time for Valentine's Day. That's fun.$40 million to make this movie. It went on to gross 171 million. That's great. This one begins. You know, they're not making this way at 29 minutes anymore to get into the action. This starts right away. We're like 47 seconds in with a motorcycle chase and basically the first 12 minutes or so of the movie of John Wick two are these three short action scenes. And it's kind of what I'm talking about. Like they'll give us a motorcycle chase and then they'll calm down and then we get to meet Peter Stormare as Abraham, who's just hilarious, and as Stormare is narrating how Wick killed a lot of his men, we get to see Wick actually killing those men and, you know, getting his car back. There's a little break and then Wick gets his car back and he does that awesome stunt, jumps the car, leaving the warehouse. There's a motorcycle chase as that great part where Wick opens his door and hits the brakes. And then one of the bikes flips over the door. Great stuff. So knock the door off. It's another dude is Dauntless, and he's still just kicking ass with this car. Bashes into one guy, gets knocked out of his own car by a taxicab and starts fighting dudes. So really, the stakes are like, I mean, right away we're like 15 minutes into this movie and the stakes are way, way higher in terms of action, you know, kind of absurdity. Like there's a level of absurdity to this stuff. It's not you can't look at these movies and be like, oh, my God, this is unrealistic. Like, I would never happen. Like, of course any normal person would die just getting hit by a car once, let alone like a few times in every movie. But John Wick lives on it. That Nic and also kind of a callback to the way when John Wick was fighting this Perkins in the first movie and we just keep cutting down the leads Reddick in the lobby this keeps doing that when Peter Stormare could just hear Wick like messing up all of his dudes and instead of doing it, he sits at his office and looks like terrified. And you know, those looks that Stormare could do. Like, Oh, I love that guy, but clearly they have a slightly different style now. Like they're spending the first 15 minutes their movie giving us this killer action set piece because about 24 minutes into the movie, it's really quick. That's when Santino shows up. This is Wick's old friend, and Wick owes him a marker, but Wick won't cash in on it. And you got to cash in on these markers or else. So Santino goes outside and. Yeah, just blows up Wick's house with a grenade launcher because, you know, that's what you do. But that's a quick scene. While it is an action, it goes by fast. It's about a minute long. Our next full fledged action scene. Again, it's one of those layered ones. It kind of keeps going on, but it takes a little breaks. It really kicks off because Wick has gone to Rome to actually fulfill this marker from Santino, which is that Wick has to kill Santino, sister Gianna, so that Santino can take her place on the high table and, you know, all that stuff. And of course, Santino is going to double cross Wick and say, Oh my God, he killed my sister, all that stuff. Wick knows this Wick Smart. Gianna does indeed die. I won't say how, but when that scene is done, that's when our action set piece sets off. That's when Wick runs into Gianna's bodyguard, Cassian, played by Carmen, who I think is awesome in this movie, and he notices Wick and realize that like some bad shit must have gone down. So they start to shoot out, they get on stage, they're just shoot dudes in the head. People are cheering. It's absolutely wild. Again, like going back to this, the staple John Wick Club scene. You got to love Wick in these scenes. He's so great at the crowd work. He just expertly kills bodyguards. He's making sure to never hit a civilian. I love the way he incorporates all that. Tim may fighting into his gun work, like locking arms with a guy, bending his wrists the right way and then shooting him in the head. Jesus, There's a slight break. And then we're in this tunnel and Oh, my God. My favorite thing about this scene is that Wick is clearly, like, clearly staged guns in anticipation of fighting for his life in this tunnel. And Jesus, he pulls out this hidden gun, this massive shotgun. Like you don't need a for tap for that. That's just one shot in there. Done. And he's like a surgeon with that tap thing. It's wild. And then, you know, there's a little break and then this action set piece concludes with Wick and Cassian fighting hand-to-hand combat. This is a great scene. Carmen can really, really fight. I mean, we all know Keanu can fight by now, but this is I don't know, this might be the hardest person we've seen Wick fight yet. So good, so good. But action set piece number four I call this the contract killers. This is an hour and 15 minutes into the movie. This thing's about 9 minutes long. And if you've seen John Wick two, you never forget this scene. This is one of my favorite scenes in the entire series. So like I mentioned, of course, Santino is double crossed. Wick Santino tried to have Wick killed in Rome, but when that didn't work, he put a $7 million contract on Wick's head, which gets every single assassin in New York. And while there are a lot of assassins in New York, in this world, apparently they all get after Wick at the same time, because there are $7 million on the table. And this all happens in public. I absolutely love this scene. He gets attacked by nine different people. What a time. Some of the some of his retaliation includes. He gets a great pencil kill right in the air. Right in the air. And then right in the back in the neck. There's that great bit where Cassian and Wicker walking in that metro subway station, they're trying to shoot at each other with silencer so discreetly so no one else notices. Oh, my God, it's so great. That scene turns into Cassian and Wick stuck on the metro with a bunch of people. They're, like, feeling each other out, but then they have to have a knife fight anyway. So good. No one on the train seems to mind too much. Not none of the citizens seem like, you know, too concerned with all this violence going on around them. And that scene ends great. You know, the blade is in your aorta. So good. So good. And I love when he gets off the train. Wick exits the train. And these two janitors who are not very subtle, they, you know, Wick just gets rid of them. Wick spots them from far away, and he has to duke it out with them. I just again, not too subtle work for the janitors, but we really only have one scene left. One action scene left is about 10 minutes long. That's the chaos at the gala. We've met Laurence Fishburne as the Bowery King. He's given Wick a gun with seven bullets, one for each million dollars Santino put on Wick's life. But Wick gets the location of where Santino is. And, you know, he takes out all the bodyguards. He gets their guns quickly, so he's got more bullets. Let's go. I cannot even count how many men John Wick kills in this scene. I, I don't try to keep body counts. I'm sure someone's done that on the internet, but it's a lot. He gets that one guy in the head and the splatter goes on to the lens and then Wick moves that mirror exhibition, which I always love when they shoot these scenes in movies, you know, with all the mirrors around, I know you can take away like the cameras and all the stuff digitally, but it's still impressive. It still will not be easy. And that's the last big action set piece. You know, if you've seen the movie, John Wick does go back to the Continental where you are not allowed to conduct any business, no killing on continental grounds. And he does kill Santino, which means that John is now excommunicated. So and therefore he cannot access any of the world's resources, any of the underworld resources, and he has an open contract on him. So happy hunting. And that is a great way to end John Wick to about two years later we get John Wick, three Parabellum. You know, they're getting a little more money every time they have 70, 75 million to make this movie, this one worldwide gross 326 million. That's nuts. That's awesome. For a series that started five years earlier and was almost direct to streaming. Wow. Or direct to video, whatever the hell. Wow. So cool about three. And particularly about watching two and three back to back is three just picks up right where it left off. So it kind of feels like you're just watching one movie. I mean, they're all on. What are they all on right now? Peacock I think I own them all, but just go in one of the next lot of fun. Literally picks up where two left off. Wick has a one hour head start that Winston got. I haven't mentioned Winston yet. Ian McShane the great Ian McShane as Winston, the hotel manager, the Continental New York manager. I love Ian McShane. I love him in these movies. He sells all the lore, all this high table lore so damn well he at the end of part two, he gave Wick a one hour head start before the 14 million bounty on him begins. So where we pick up with Wick, the first big action scene is in the New York Public Library. This is like 7 minutes in. It's really quick. It's only 90 seconds long, but oh, my God. He gets attacked by that giant dude. You know, the guy is big and strong, but he moves slow and Wick dislocates his jaw and then breaks his neck, all with a book, a fucking book. And then he puts the book back where it's supposed to go on the shelf. Oh, man, we're just in it. The second big action set piece in Wick is one of these layered ones, because it starts with, well, it actually starts with him building that gun. I call this whole set piece like the antique knife fight. But it starts then building that gun, which is just so cool to watch. But the antique knife fight. Oh, my God. There's all the all these, like, old school knives around. And he gets one guy, like, seven times Jesus, Another guy gets a knife slammed into the top of his head. That's not fun. Another one gets a knife to the eye, and then a final guy gets a tomahawk to the head. That's a new one for Wick Jesus. But, you know, then there's a little break, and then a whole new group of assassins are chasing him around the horse stables. He makes a horse kick a guy's face not once, but twice. That's great. Now we're 22 minutes into the movie, and John Wick is galloping on a horse through New York City while being chased by assassins on motorcycles. You just got to love it. And part of the intelligence of the John Wick movies is that while there can be some breaks in the big action set, pieces like that antique knife fight happens. It's 16 minutes in and the next really big set piece is about 56 minutes in. But they give us little snippets of action and violence in between. Those are what I call quick wicks. A few of these like John goes to Casablanca and he takes out a few henchmen in an alleyway and then, ooh, ooh, 48 minutes in the director played by Anjelica Huston. I love all these people they get for these movies. It's amazing. Anjelica Huston shows up. She kind of helped Wick. So her punishment is her hands have to be sliced with the sword. Oh, brutal to watch. Tough, tough. Better not keep talking about it. I might say it, but really, like after those quick wicks are huge. Our next big action set piece is the dog fight. And we've met Halle Berry, Sophia and her asshole ex-boss shoots one of her dogs. You don't harm dogs in the John Wick movie. Everyone should know this. It's a no go. It's a no go. And part four to you don't hurt doggies in John Wick's world. You shouldn't hurt doggies in any world. But if you are an assassin in John Wick's world, no dog trouble. One of her dogs gets hurt and quite a lot of human killing happens after that. They have to escape. Sophia and Wick, I love this. This is when Halle Berry is letting her dogs kick some ass. You know, there's that. There's that really good shot. It's a one shot of her hiding behind that pillar just to go to the right and two guys in the left and shoot guys non stop fighting. It's cool that there's two people in this. There's Sophia and Wick because we get to cut back and forth between their action. And I love those dogs. They're vicious. They have clearly been trained to go for the nuts and go for the nuts hard, lot of fun. This is an important quick wick after that Casablanca chase scene, because this is where that adjudicator who works for the high table's coming in. Basically, anyone who helped John Wick out, you're coming in and you're going to get punished whether you're getting stabbed through the hands like Angelica Houston did or you're getting slashed seven times to the body and face, which is what happens to Laurence Fishburne in this scene. I thought that killed him. I think that's what you're supposed to think, that they killed him. But he lives on the Bowery. King can't kill the king. But our next big action set piece and John Wick three, it's that motorcycle bridge chase. It's about 3 minutes long. Wick's been given a deal that he'll be allowed to live as long as he kills his good pal, Winston Ian McShane. And he pledges his allegiance to the high table. Wick has to cut his own finger as a sign of good faith. Yikes. He meets zero. This is the latest, like deadly assassin in the franchise. Zero meets Wick at the train station. And now Wick has to take out a bunch of Zero's goons. He gets a motorcycle. We're off on a chase. The bridge Chase is awesome. It's being attacked. Wick's being attacked with samurai swords while driving a motorcycle. Bikes keep falling over and tripping up the other ones. It's just an awesome chase. And we get that. I love when they get back to the Continental and is just again, going back to the humor of these movies. Zero. This assassin, when they're there on the continental grounds and they're not allowed to hurt each other zero is just like gushing to Wick like it's been an honor flight with you. You know, all that stuff. I love it. I love it. Oh, but now, action set piece five again in these first three movies, it's about five set pieces total. This is the Parabellum set piece. This is the longest one yet. And a John Wick film. This thing is 19 minutes long. Parabellum Prepare for war. Very much appreciate that translation for us on the screen. The continental grounds have been revoked of their status. So Wick and Winston can be iced out and it's it's just them against the world. Of course. We have Lance Reddick. He's here with a gun. He's getting some shots off. I haven't even talked about the lighting in any of these movies. God, it's so good. I love all this neon lighting. It doesn't make sense why these rooms are covered in neon, but it just looks so cool. In this fight scene, the Continental lobby is all green. Oh, my God. I love when Wick pulls off that guy's mask just to sneak a few headshots in which can show round, get shotguns. And we all know how Wick is with the shotgun they get. There's a pool killing, underwater pool killing. Then it's zero versus wick. Oh, it's just so good. You know, it's an honor to fight with you, Mr. Wick. Really, really love it. And then, of course, we get to find out that Larry Fishburne is alive and well. John Wick, three So I listen to quite a few interviews with some of the stars, Scott Adkins, who has a great role in John Wick. Four. Listen to Chad on a few podcasts. And it kind of sounded like John Wick three was enough. Everyone was good, everyone was cool. No one had a desire to really pick back up that. Then, of course, ideas get going starts ruminating. Part three does so well. So it's like, Oh, do we, do we have Bartow back in here? It's March 2023. They gave him $100 million to make John Wick four, a three hour action epic with nods to David Lean, Akira Kurosawa, and this thing is made$137 million in one weekend. Those are the only numbers I have to go on. So with that, I think it's really safe to say that this is going to Outgrossed part three and I mean, hooray. People are going back to the movies. I know it's weird that I've talked about Creed three, Scream six and now John Wick four. On this podcast, we usually talk about we usually go back, but I'm glad people are going to the movies again. I'm glad these movies are hits now. When I saw John Wick four, when I actually saw the whole thing, I didn't know the opportunity to like take notes and stuff because I want to watch the movie and I want to pay attention. So and, and even if I did, I would never go into in as much detail as I just did with the other three movies. I would I'm not going to do that. Just going to give a pretty quick overview to say that, you know, the first movie is less than 2 hours and now we've gone to John Wick chapter four, and we're like 2 hours, 52 minutes. And I'm just here to tell you that they earned those 52 minutes because I counted seven hot shit full on action set pieces in this movie. And they are a few of them are longer than any other action scene in a John Wick movie. There's one that takes place at the Osaka Continental Hotel, snowier in Osaka, and I don't even it's a shootout. It has multiple set pieces. There is a scene of this is tough because I don't want to describe what the players are but the okay, the concierge of that hotel, also not unlike Lance Reddick, the concierge of the New York Continental, she can throw down and she knows how to fight and she has a great kill, which is stabbing this dude with two knives is dude is huge and just like crawl up the back of his body. He's crawling up some stairs, she's crawling up him. But using the knives as leverage to pull herself up. This is what we come to. John Wick, Chapter four to see. I want to say that this action scene also includes some astounding, numb chuck work from John Wick from Keanu Reeves. It had everyone in both because this is one of the scenes I got to see twice and that everyone in both screenings just applauding, cheering. It is it's funny, but it's also awesome. And you're just watching it. It's so impressive. Everything's so impressive. Of course, you know, there's dozens, if not hundreds of guys being killed. John Wick can't miss. John Wick can't get hurt. I mean, he can get hurt, but, you know, can't put him down. It's just great. So part of there's a lot that goes into these John Wick movies in terms of making them so rewatchable so fun. This is why people are seeing them. This is why they make money and we're still talking about all of them. There's a lot that goes into this. I talked about I talked about the humor. That's very smart. Another really smart aspect is the casting. They cast these perfectly. They always know who to put in it. Case in point here, Donnie Yen, Hong Kong martial arts expert. He's been in pure and of martial arts or kung fu. You know who Donnie Yen is? He is in this movie playing a character named Caine Incredible Watch. Every single time he's on screen, you can't take your eyes off him. He's in this Osaka Continental shootout fight scene. Not going to say what he does. It's so fun to watch. I'm not going to again, go into too much detail, but we do get a club scene in John Wick four and it is it's unlike all the other club scenes in the first movies. There's Scott Adkins in a fat suit kicking ass and taking names, a lot of water, a lot of neon. So much fun to watch. There's a car chase and a very, very famous area. Don't want to describe where it is. There is God. I can't even fully get into it. The fifth, at least by my count, the fifth huge action set piece has in one part of it, not the whole time, but for one part there is one unbroken shot and I'll just describe it that way. You've already seen this movie. You know exactly what the hell I'm talking about. But if you haven't, there's one unbroken shot, and I do not know how to describe it other than it is a visual poem of violence. It's a ballet is so well choreographed without feeling choreographed. And it's very easy to tell that it's all in one shot. And sure by John Wick four Like you're allowed to have one showy shot like this. It's a type of shot where it is calling attention to itself. You are watching a movie right now and you are watching an awesome movie shot. I don't care. I love it. It's not like it's doing this the entire time. It's just an indulgence that they, in my opinion, have gotten to earn. And I cannot get it out of my head. I cannot wait to go see this in IMAX and really just marvel at that. And then there are two set pieces to go. One, I'm just going to say the stairs. That's all I'm going to say. There's an action set piece that takes place on a famous set of stairs. Might be my favorite action scene in the entire John Wick franchise so far. Not kidding. It's just it's jaw droppingly good. It's so good. It'll make you faint. I'm just kidding. I mean, I'd fainted way before that scene because this is like toward the end of the movie. Great use of the word motherfucker by Donnie Yen in this scene. I won't even put it into context, but it's been a while since I heard out and out applause in theaters. People applauded during Top Gun Maverick. They did, but you know it. I'm not saying John Wick doesn't have some IP. You know, it's been going on for nine years now, but the the applause in Top Gun Maverick were different. These applause and John Wick four like, this is just so fucking awesome. We can't not applaud. We have to. Oh, I love it. And then yes, there's a final, you know, set piece and John Wick four that I won't even describe. Just go see this damn movie promo stone. If I'm ranking them, I'll give it a shot. So first I'm going to start with my favorite. My favorite John Wick film is John Wick four and I'm not going to say it's not even close because it is a little close, but part of me wants to say it's not even close. This movie is awesome. If you like John Wick, if you like action, they made it for you. Slash us. You will enjoy this movie. If you are a fan of this franchise. I like all these movies. So this ranking again, you know, we take the piss out of ourselves with these rankings. It's kind of like ranking different, I don't know, bars of gold or something. I guess. My second favorite, I put John Wick two really? Because of when that contract goes out on him and that scene where all the assassins are chasing him. I thought that I remember like dying laughing in the theater when him and Cassian are trying to, like, shoot each other without being noticed. I just thought that was so funny. And I really, really like that scene. But it's hard for me not to put John Wick one in second place because does such a good job of this worldbuilding then I'm talking about, and it's like just enough breadcrumbs to go, God, I want to know more about this. Like, what the hell are these people talking about? The hell are these gold coins? Like, what is this? What's and I really, really love I always remember the mystery of that, of trying to, like, track it and being like, Oh, cool. We're like in a new world here. But, you know, if you have to twist my arm, I'll put John Wick one in third place and then John Wick three. A movie. I love movie. I have no notes on, no criticisms for I guess I'll put in the fourth place that is not that is not least it's just less. That's all. Because I really like Parabellum. So what are you watching? Recommendations. Surprise, surprise. Go see John Wick four in IMAX. Go do it. Don't pass out. Stick with it. Make sure when you see it your blood sugar is up. Make sure you're hydrated on water. Make sure you've had real food. The show, take it easy. If any scene in John Wick four is making you feel a certain way or like something is going wrong, just put your head down. Breathe through it. Oh, my God, what a time. So that's really it for my John Wick episode here. I hope my viewing experience for John Wick four certainly didn't turn anyone off from seeing it. Just, you know, stay hydrated, folks. I don't know. I don't know. And we have been focusing a lot on new stuff recently. It's just talked about our favorite movies of 2022. We talked about the Oscars. I love talking about the Oscars, but those are done. Creed three, Scream six, John Wick four. Jesus. Well, starting with our next episode, episode 93, from episode 93 to episode 100, Nick and I are only talking about all timer's. We are talking about the actors, directors and movies that we consider all timers. We've talked about these performers and these filmmakers and these films on this podcast a lot and we are finally getting to them. So very fun, very big stuff coming soon. Stay tuned for all of that, beginning with episode 93, our next movie commentary on arguably my favorite genre film of all time, my favorite film starring the great Keanu Reeves Point break. Oh, yes, it's Point Break, Johnny Fucking Utah, The Swayze. We had a lot of fun recording this, as you can imagine. We did record it like ten days before Tom Sizemore passed away, which is just, you know, that's how it goes. I do miss Tom Sizemore. I love his brief cameo on Point Break Fort Fucking Lauderdale. So good. Thanks everyone for listening to this review slash health update. I'm fine, I swear everything's fine. Everything's going to heal. Tough it out, Skip the pills. Thank you, everyone, for listening and happy watching. To be continued. Hey, everyone. Thanks again for listening. You can watch my films and read my movie blog at Alex Withrow dot com. Nicholas Dose Dotcom is where you can find all of Nick's film work. Send us mailbag questions at what are you watching podcast at gmail.com or find us on Twitter at w aiw underscore podcast. Next time we're going to do our next film commentary on the classic that point break. I love Kathryn Bigelow's film. It is one of my favorite action movies of all time. We had so much fun doing this. Stay tuned.