John Wick 4’s Osaka Action Scene Sets A High Bar – And The Rest Of The Movie Can’t Clear It

Part of my distaste with the guns in the “John Wick” comes from my real-world disdain for an instrument of death, but my problems also come from them becoming boring really fast in an action scene. I can only watch someone stand and point a gun at someone as the deafening sound of bullets firing plays over the speaker for so long before I’m waiting for them to wrap the scene up. The Osaka sequence features plenty of guns, but that is not the only card on the table, as it is in the film’s final hour. We are also given everything from a squadron of archers to a pair of head-cracking, sumo-wrestling bodyguards to John Wick wielding nunchucks, and that isn’t even the full list of ways people fight in this sequence.

For a great action set piece, evolution is a necessity. Like any other scene in a film, action should also be telling a story, and drama requires peaks, valleys, and movement to be successful. If your scene is someone shoots a bunch of people in a room, that scene can’t simply escalate to them shooting a bunch more people in another room. That isn’t progress. That’s just the same thing but longer. By changing up what kind of weapons are being used, it presents new challenges for the characters to overcome. John Wick runs out of bullets, so he grabs nunchucks to solve the problem of him being unarmed. That kind of detail not just varies what kind of action you are seeing but signals an ingenuity from the character that otherwise wouldn’t have been displayed. Plus, nunchucks and bows and arrows are just way more cinematically exciting than guns.

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