The “John Wick” franchise started with quite humble beginnings in 2014, as the directorial debut of veteran stunt pros Chad Stahelski and David Leitch and a return to the spotlight for Keanu Reeves. That, of course, was on top of building an underground society of assassins and orchestrating blistering martial arts and gun fu-based action.
Fast forward to 2019, and “John Wick” is bigger than ever with the release of its third chapter, “John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum“, which itself led to a swiftly greenlit fourth instalment. Just over two years later, ICYMI, The Continental can now count on none other than Donnie Yen himself among its members, with Donnie coming aboard “John Wick: Chapter 4”.
News broke earlier this week in Deadline of Donnie joining the project, along with Japanese-British pop singer Rina Sawayama. Donnie’s character is described as an old friend of John’s with the two sharing some mutual enemies. Per the official statement director Chad Stahelski had the following to say:
‘We are very lucky to have Donnie Yen join the franchise…I am looking forward to working with him in this exciting new role’.
Producer Basil Iwanyk also commented on Donnie’s casting with:
‘Donnie Yen will bring a vibrant and powerful energy to the franchise. We were determined to bring him on board to John Wick 4 and are thrilled for the opportunity to have such a major talent to collaborate with Keanu.’
Donnie Yen naturally needs no introduction to KFK readers, martial-arts lovers, or really much of anyone with access to the internet or the means to play a Blu-ray, at this point. Donnie’s contributions to martial arts films goes back to the 80’s in movies such as “In the Line of Duty IV“, along with his 90’s hits like “Once Upon A Time In China II” and “Iron Monkey“. Donnie really broke out in the 21st century with his back-to-back MMA hits “Sha Po Lang” and “Flash Point“, before tackling his signature role as Bruce Lee‘s Wing Chun mentor in the “Ip Man” series.
Meanwhile, the “John Wick” series has consistently outdone itself from one chapter to the next. By 2019’s “Parabellum”, Baba Yaga had completely conquered the world of action movies, battling sword-wielding ninjas and Mark Dacascos himself on the grounds of The Continental. Donnie Yen in the world of “John Wick” is beyond a no-brainer, and though audiences will have to wait a year longer than was the original plan, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, three chapters into John’s story and an impending war with the High Table as the cliffhanger of “Parabellum”, the wait is exceptionally likely to have been worth it when all is said and done.