John Wick 3 director Chad Stahelski talks about the process his team used for training the attack dogs that played a part in the Casablanca sequence. John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum director Chad Stahelski talks about the process of training the attack dogs that appeared in the movie while at Collider’s director’s panel at San Diego Comic-Con. Stahelski is currently working on post-production for John Wick 4, set for release in theaters on March 24, 2023. Series star Keanu Reeves will reprise his role alongside other cast members Laurence Fishburne, Ian McShane, and Lance Reddick.
John Wick 3 follows the titular assassin as he goes on the run after the unauthorized killing of a High Table crime lord at the end of John Wick 2. Midway through the film, he deals with former associate, Sofia (Halle Berry), who helps him find the Elder’s location who can clear Wick of his crimes, but not before fighting their way through a kasbah with Sofia’s attack dogs assisting the pair’s escape. The John Wick movies use dogs as symbolism for peace, a symbol that was elevated in John Wick 3 through Berry’s character.
John Wick has shown skills with a wide range of different weapons throughout the John Wick franchise – we run through the weapons he’s skilled with. Keanu Reeves’ assassin John Wick wields a very diverse assortment of weaponry in the John Wick franchise. Growing to the point of outdoing The Expendables, the John Wick series centers on Keanu Reeves as the formerly retired assassin of the title. After the killing of his dog, John’s return to action to seek vengeance sets in motion a chain of events that make up the story of the John Wick movies, which are set to continue with 2023’s John Wick: Chapter 4.
For the role of John Wick, Keanu Reeves underwent some of the most extensive and grueling training of his career, and by any objective measure, his efforts greatly paid off with the success of the John Wick series. Much of Reeves’ training focused on him learning various disciplines of martial arts for the franchise’s abundant and spell-binding fight scenes. With John Wick improving martial arts films, Reeves also underwent weapons training for the series to fully round out John’s expansive assassin skill set.
The advantage this has given the John Wick franchise is the great versatility of its action sequences, from martial arts to gun-fu to chases giving audiences great variety, with the John Wick franchise also bringing on an ever-increasing number of action heroes alongside Reeves and John Wick 4 greatly expanding its ensemble. Additionally, the John Wick movies have also really emphasized that despite his desperation to leave his old life of killing behind him as a possible allegory for grief, John Wick is skilled with a wide collection of different kinds of weaponry. Here are all of the different kinds of weapons John Wick utilizes throughout the John Wick movie series.
Stahelski talked about how the fight sequence with the dogs was the most difficult to film in the movie. He talked about how the dogs needed months of training to not actually attack their targets, but only play attack to make it look convincing. He also mentions how they would put CGI cones over the stunt performer’s crotches for the dogs to attack to make the assault on those sensitive areas look real.
The John Wick films are defined by their unique and memorable action set pieces to tell their story. Given the highly stylized and minimally edited fight scenes in John Wick 3, it’s both surprising and not that Stahelski said the Casablanca sequence was the most difficult to film. The meticulous training of animals unsurprisingly takes much longer than the choreographing of just human-on-human fights with some of the best martial arts performers working in American cinema.
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