Based on the deafening cheers that rocked the walls of the Paramount Theater in Austin, Texas on Monday, the SXSW Film Festival premiere of “John Wick: Chapter 4” was a resounding success — and that was before the movie even began. All it took was superstar Keanu Reeves to appear on stage at the behest of director Chad Stahelski for the 1,000-plus crowd to explode in unbridled enthusiasm.
That enthusiasm never falters throughout the film’s epic 2 hours, 49 minutes of running time, with standing ovations after stellar action sequences in Osaka, Berlin and Paris – and vocal gasps after many master twists.
Both Reeves and Stahelski took to the stage after the show in complete shock at the raucous reception.
“You guys are amazing,” said Reeves. “Thanks for that experience. You guys are amazing.”
Added Stahelski, “This is one of the best crowds of all time.”
However, reporting on the rest of the post-show Q&A is a bit challenging, with the conversation occasionally veering into serious spoiler territory — including Reeves’ answer about his favorite moment in the movie, which prompted a chorus of “Awwwws” from the audience.
Stahelski’s answer, at least, was spoiler-free: “It was the first day Keanu came,” he said. “He got into the suit again and it was the first time we got back together in three years. So it was very special.”
Like any other John Wick movie, “Chapter 4” is steeped in iconic fight scenes staged and choreographed, including one that unfolds in an unbroken shot that Stahelski said took a week to shoot. Reeves then said, “And months and months Planning And an exercise. “
Much of the Q&A involved audience members paying homage to the movie star. Someone asked Reeves if he was getting old.
“Yeah man, I’m old,” he wearily replied. “I am really – I am age. It’s happening, man.”
After Reeves says he kept Wick’s watch and wedding ring from the previous films, someone exclaims, “I’ll marry you!”
Reeves replied, “Yeah, be careful what you wish for.”
“Bring back ‘Constantine’,” someone else yelled, referring to Reeves’ beloved 2005 DC adaptation.
“I’m trying, man,” the actor said with a sigh.
One of the last questions came from someone who had a puppy with him, who asked if Reeves was planning to appear in upcoming “John Wick” spin-offs, including the series “The Continental,” set to premiere on Peacock later this year, and “The Ballerina” starring Ana de Armas.
Both Reeves and Stahelski seemed unsure how to answer.
“Uh, I’m not sure yet,” said the director, immediately followed by a “no” from Reeves – who then contradicted himself. “I have a cameo in ‘Ballerina’, that’s right.”
“John Wick: Chapter 4” will open in theaters March 24.
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