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Re: Final action scene - spoiler alert...

This is part of the story, in case you get a paywall.

"In the bravura action sequence, Keanu Reeves's immensely talented assassin has to defeat a gantlet of enemies to reach the top of the staircase. When it finally seems like he's made it to the summit, he's sent plummeting back to the bottom in full slapstick fashion and has to start from scratch while the clock is ticking. After all, he needs to get to the church by sunrise to compete in a duel with an evil marquis (Bill Skarsgard) that will decide his fate. Luckily a foe comes to his aid: Caine, played by the martial arts master Donnie Yen, who had been hunting Wick for most of the movie's running time and will shoot on behalf of the marquis.

The climb comes close to the end of the nearly three-hour film, and after a flurry of ingenious and relentless fights that feature Wick running around Paris trying to avoid killers who want to collect the price that's on his head. But somehow it outdoes everything that has come before with its mix of technical proficiency, emotional stakes and Looney Tunes-style tumbles. The plan was to make it a "whole John Wick metaphor," Stahelski said in a phone interview, where the hero beats up people and then gets beaten up and has to start all over again.

The idea for a fight set on these steps came to Stahelski during a trip to Paris to scout shooting locations. The director, who has worked as a stuntman, was a big fan of Jean-Pierre Jeunet's "Amélie" and was eager to look at locations used in that film. That brought him to the Sacré-Coeur, which seemed like a good spot for the final showdown. But he wasn't impressed by the steps that directly face the structure. "It didn't look that terrifying to the stunt team I had with me at the time," he said.

Then they walked around the left side of the church and saw the more daunting climb. "You never saw three stunt guys smile faster when we saw those stairs," Stahelski said. "Everybody instantly knew what we were going to do. There was no verbal communication. It was just big smiles." In addition to the Buster Keaton of it all, Stahelski had a spaghetti western in mind for the final alliance between Caine and Wick, who must team up to make it to the top before they can turn their guns on each other.

The stunt coordinator Scott Rogers described Stahelski as like a "kid" thinking about what he could engineer at the location. "I'm thinking, mechanically, a guy's got to go down these steps," Rogers said. "He just turns, and goes, 'Yeah, that would be great.' But it's not something he wouldn't have done in his prime."

According to the stunt coordinator Stephen Dunlevy, the scene was "no more complex than any other fight" on a "John Wick" film, but Rogers added that the very act of scaling the stairs had its challenges. "There's probably more of a physical toll on it because you are fighting in the middle of steps," he said. Reeves had to ascend during each take, then reset — the cinematic version of a StairMaster.

And while charging up flights is exhausting, not to mention a great workout, Reeves had to do that while executing the choreography, which Marinas said is a mix of Wick's regular "gun fu," judo and jujitsu. He also had to find what little cover there is, ducking behind bodies and trees. "We all know how hard it is just to walk up stairs when we don't want to," Marinas said, adding, "Just to think about how well Keanu — not John Wick — Keanu was able to do shooting upwards while stepping. It's hard enough to be a marksman on flat ground.""

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  • Re: Final action scene - spoiler alert... - mkuller 10:00:11 04/04/23 (0)


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