‘John Wick: Chapter 4’ First Cut Was Almost Four Hours Long
John Wick: Chapter 4 is by far the longest movie in the series. It clocks in at 169 minutes, almost three hours full of wild action scenes. Compare that with the first John Wick, which ran just 101 minutes. That’s like a cup of coffee in comparison.
As long as John Wick: Chapter 4 is now, it was almost a lot longer. Director Chad Stahelski told Indiewire that the first rough cut for the movie ran roughly four hours, about an hour longer than the version coming to theaters.
“To be really honest with you, zero was planned out,” Stahelski explained. “Our first cut was three hours and 45 minutes, and it felt like three hours and 45 minutes. We were like, oh, we’re so screwed.”
Editor Nathan Orloff said they experimented a lot with Chapter 4’s first half, trying to figure out just how long it should be, and which scenes to include. Ultimately, he told Indiewire, “I wanted to make sure that [John Wick] was still the center of the universe, that everything always led back to him even though we were cutting away from him.”
As for how they arrived at the 169 minute version that will play in theaters starting this weekend, Orloff said the key word was “compress,” adding “I went through a pass where anytime someone repeated an idea they had already expressed, I cut it out. No repeated ideas.”
John Wick: Chapter 4 opens in theaters this Friday. It is a pretty long movie, but as I wrote in my review...
For all the complaints this movie is sure to encounter for its over-the-top runtime, it suits the film, which is also about the passage of time. An early scene hinges on the use of a comically oversized hourglass. (Look closely at the film’s poster, and you’ll notice that it replaces his tie with an hour glass full of bullets.) Later, a big action sequence takes place around the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, which John Wick circles in a muscle car like the swooping hands of a clock. A few scenes later, John frantically checks his own wristwatch over and over as he races to an important meeting. Time is slipping away for poor old John Wick.