Friday, June 14, 2024

Chad Stahelski credits Bruce Lee for John Wick

Bruce Lee had such an impact on Chad Stahelski that he says some of John Wick’s traits come directly from the martial artist.

As Bruce Lee once famously said, “Be water”, meaning in part that people should be able to adapt to any situation. And while John Wick director has updated the action movie game, he can’t help but recognize the films may not have gotten there without the words, style and ethics of Bruce Lee.

Speaking with Empire on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of Enter the Dragon – arguably Lee’s trademark movie – Chad Stahelski said, “A lot of what we do in John Wick, the non-verbal communication, is based off of what Bruce did….I love the action, but I’m also a sucker for his personality. Half the reason you love what he does is that you love him: the innocence and the arrogance. He projects the confidence of a young man trying to find himself. Bruce knew how to be vulnerable, and I really appreciate that about him. Many of the people who tried to imitate him came out with all bravado: ‘I can’t ever lose!’ Bruce is thinking, ‘I might lose here. I have to do the right thing.’” This might be considered something of contrast to Quentin Tarantino’s take on Lee

But it wasn’t just John Wick that Bruce Lee had an impact on, but the choreographer/director’s overall career. Stahelski remembered studying Lee’s work in both 1973’s Enter the Dragon and 1972’s Fist of Fury, saying he analyzed it endlessly and learned just how involved Lee got when adapting his skills for the big screen. Adding to his admiration for Bruce Lee, Stahelski said, “He was one of the first great choreographers. A big part of choreography is pacing and rhythm, just like music: bop, bop, bop and then, boom, it explodes! It’s like any great piece of classical music. I think that came from his experiences as a dancer. Nobody moves like Bruce Lee, and nobody has moved like him since.”

Bruce Lee undoubtedly had a lasting impact on other major players in the industry as well, with admirers including Jackie Chan, Tony Jaa and Bruce Li, one of the biggest names in the Bruceploitation subgenre.

What is your favorite Bruce Lee work? Share your memories of watching his movies below!

Originally published at

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