' ' Cinema Romantico: Shout-Out to the Extra: John Wick: Chapter 4 Version

Wednesday, April 05, 2023

Shout-Out to the Extra: John Wick: Chapter 4 Version

Shout-Out to the Extra is a sporadic series in which Cinema Romantico shouts out the extras, the background actors, the bit part players, the almost out of your sight line performers who expertly round out our movies with epic blink & you’ll miss it care.

Among the most famous entries of the late Roger Ebert’s so-called Movie Glossary was “Fruit Cart,” defined thusly: “An expletive used by film buffs during any chase scene involving a foreign or ethnic locale, reflecting their certainty that a fruit cart will be overturned during the chase, and an angry peddler will run into the middle of the street to shake his face at the departing Porsche.” These fruit cart peddlers are sentient extras, in other words, nameless, non-speaking roles that briefly emerge from the periphery to, in their way, comment on the action. One of the most spectacular sequences of the recently released (and reviewed) “John Wick: Chapter 4” contains a whole host of fruit cart peddlers reimagined as club-goers, though one stands above the rest in commenting on the action by, in fact, not commenting on the action at all. 

The specifics of this sequence both are and are not important. Suffice to say that in pursuing the sequence’s preeminent Bad Guy (Scott Adkins) through a Berlin club, our hero John Wick (Keanu Reeves) has to fight his way through an assortment of auxiliary bad guys to reach him, meaning he must wade through so many gyrating revelers, including one gyrating reveler so memorable I snapped a mental picture as she flew by.

It’s a little murky, I know, and I apologize, but it was the best I could do. That guy on the floor, his legs kicked out in the air, that’s John Wick, having just been hurled there by the preeminent Bad Guy towering over him. And you can see how some of the other extras react, like the guy over the preeminent Bad Guy’s left shoulder, freaking out at this savage fight, and even this guy over here to the left, next to our marked extra, who looks over his own left shoulder with some confusion and concern. And though it might appear that our marked extra is looking at them too, she is not, I assure you. Seriously, the still does not do her movement justice, sort of Sprockets as Gumby, the kind of extemporaneous choreography that goes hand-in-hand with 135 beats per minute. And though her thrusts and half-twists briefly turns her toward the hand-to-hand combat, she does not really even seem to register it, too far gone in her spastic groove.

The dancers, as I wrote in my review, are there to mirror the dance-like quality of John Wick’s countless one-on-one battles. But John Wick’s ferocious quest for serenity mirrors the dancers, too, suggesting how they are all there, to quote her eminence Kylie, to “lose it in the music.” And our heroic extra has decided in her brief moment of tangential screen time, that her character is not, even now, while death and mayhem is happening all around her, going to let herself be found, a commitment no less noble than John Wick’s. 

Pour one out for the extra. 

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