Donnie Yen Sheds More Light on JOHN WICK 4 and the Current State of Action!

By: John M Jerva

Donnie Yen is currently making the rounds promoting his current hit action-thriller Raging Fire and during his press tour, he has given fans a few tasty morsels on his other huge casting news as he will be in the fourth installment of the John Wick franchise. Ever since he was announced, fans have been losing their collective minds and even more exciting is the fact that he will be playing an ally to Wick.

Yen spoke with Looper recently and during the interview, talked more about being involved with the film and working with Keanu Reeves:

“I can tell you, I’m having a wonderful time here. Keanu Reeves is a wonderful soul, gentleman, best guy I’ve ever worked with, just a great guy, same as Chad. This so far has been the best experience in the very few American movies I have ever been. And you will not be disappointed with the film, you will be wowed by the film. And hopefully you like what I’m doing, hopefully people will like me,” Yen told Looper.

Yen also chatted about how he become involved in the John Wick universe and conveying that the character snd the material had to be right for him to get involved.

“I believe in destiny. A lot of times, what brings people together in one film, it’s all about timing and destiny. Same with this. I was working in other projects with one of the producers, Basil, and over the phone we were talking about our other projects. And he asked me, “Donnie, do you like the ‘John Wick’ series?” I said, “As a matter of fact, I do.” “Oh, would you like to be in it?” I said, “Well, it’s depending on the material and my character.” And they were really passionate about wanting me to be in the film, and we had multiple discussions of my role, and where I’d like to take this role. And we totally, we synced, and we were on the same page. That’s what happened, and there I am.”

Another interesting aspect of the interview is where Yen gave his thoughts on the differences between eastern and western fight action and with the years of experience in both realms, Yen certainly knows a thing or two about developing action and making it work on screen.

For the longest time, the way we make action movies with martial arts, or any kind of combat action movies, a lot of these, they were created, choreographed — later on it was photographed by a lot of maybe specialists, but it was directed, edited, the way they placed the camera, by basically non-martial artists, up to now, because that’s how the system works. A martial arts choreographer or fight choreographer, not only in Western Hollywood but in any culture, is considered a technician, is considered a choreographer, like a band’s choreographer. They were never given the full assets to visualize through the way they see how it plays out.

Yen, of course, talked about the controversial use of shaky cam or hand held camera usage while filming action sequences and he gave his thoughts on it and working with director Chad Stahelski who is one of the elite filmmakers who understands how to properly shoot and edit action set pieces.

And when you see for the longest time in American films, people complain about it even today, “Why this so choppy? Why is this, why is that?” Because probably I would guess, probably perhaps some decent or even brilliant choreography got into the hands of someone who doesn’t know how to shoot it. And he said, “Oh, let me try here. Let me try here.” And they start shooting multiple cameras, multiple shots, and then these shots were delivered to the editing room. And the editor is like, “Oh, let me figure this out,” and starts chopping it up. So at the end of the day, you see this choppy thing. But of course, right now the progress has changed so much. For example, the film I’m working on with Chad, he understands, he came from that culture. He was a stunt man, he worked with the Chinese, a lot of these Chinese action filmmakers. And he’s a good martial artist himself, he’s a well-trained martial artist for the longest time. He understands, oh, what was missing in these American action films when it comes down to the fights is you’re not shooting it right, you’re not editing it right.

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This is a really great and lengthy interview with one of the pioneers of action cinema. Yen continues to deliver in the industry and I can’t wait to see what he has to offer in John Wick 4.

Raging Fire is currently playing in select theaters and will premiere exclusively on HI-YAH! on October 22nd.

Source: Looper

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