Creativity: 5/5. Might be the best top-down almost oner in film history.
Clarity: 3/5. Action happens very quickly, which is thrilling, it’s but overpacked.
Power: 4/5. Some of the film’s best hand-to-hand combat occurs amidst the gun-fu.
Technically, this isn’t a one-on-one battle with John Wick. However, I can’t not include this epic fight on this list; Stahelski basically transforms the building into a character itself. While top-down shots aren’t new to action films, I’ve yet to see another one that spirals out into almost a one-take scene, or “oner,” that contains a non-stop cavalcade of fights. As Stahelski told /Film, there are three digital stitches here. However, the editing is so tight that, aside from the cutaway, you’ll believe that these are two oners knitted together. Of everything in the “John Wick” films, this sequence in “Chapter 4” feels the most like a loving callback to “The Raid: Redemption,” with explosive moments that cascade into several one-on-one battles, including one with Chidi. All that, and a shotgun-turned-quasi-flamethrower!
However, the way the action is shot does have a drawback. Yes, it looks cool as hell, but there’s so much going on that the clarity suffers. Additionally, unlike similar scenes in Gareth Evans’ film, Stahelski’s technique limits the amount of intimate combat you can actually see, particularly when it comes to counterattacks. When it comes to both fighting styles and character development, how someone averts a punch is just as essential as which locks they use.