Is John Wick 4’s Dragon’s Breath Ammo Real?

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  • John Wick: Chapter 4 demonstrates the use of the Dragon’s Breath shotgun, an overhead weapon that fires explosive bullets.
  • The Dragon’s Breath weapon used in the scene is a real thing, but it is mostly custom made and banned in many states of the SA.
  • The realistic portrayal of Dragon’s Breath ammo in the film was achieved using mostly practical effects, with stunt performers setting them on fire using propane bullets.

John Wick: Chapter 4 he gave his main player another chance to wreak havoc, this time with an extremely fearsome weapon: the Dragon’s Breath shotgun. Unleashing bursts of explosive light in a dramatic apartment shootout, the titular assassin played by Keanu Reeves takes down his attackers by not only shooting them but killing them. is on fire. Throughout the often violent franchise, John Wick has been able to make weapons out of even objects around him. The wooden pencil is full of blood John Wick: Chapter 2 and also the hard book bound between the teeth of the character of Serbian basketball player Boban Marjanović in John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum.

When it comes to guns, John Wick is comfortable with killing. After wreaking havoc on the roads of Paris in John Wick: Chapter 4, he is holed up in an abandoned apartment where his assailants unleash a shower of bullets on him. But John managed to save his own armor by picking up the guns of each enemy who was quickly killed. Here’s how he gets his hands on the aptly-nicknamed Dragon’s Breath shotgun. With director Chad Stahelski overseeing the scene from a voyeuristic top-down angle, John brutally shoots down his enemies with this iconic weapon that became the instant talking point of the 2023 blockbuster.

Dragon’s Breath Ammo John Wick 4 is a real treat

John Wick fires the Dragon's Breath round in John Wick: Chapter 4.

Aside from his fists, his Dragon’s Breath shotgun and explosive shells are definitely among John Wick’s primary weapons. While the shotgun was used in the John Wick: Chapter 4 Sight is a normal model, ammo is what seems unusual over the top. Interestingly, these explosive bullets, which cause fire when released, are very real and are mostly used illegally in different parts of the world. Instead of being factory made, Dragon’s Breath ammo is custom made. That said, Chad Stahelski’s team didn’t use real bullets on set (via Vulture) and some visual tricks were used instead.

Dragon’s Breath ammunition is banned in many US states and shipping is also restricted due to its fire hazard.

How John Wick created his 4 Dragon’s Breath Scene

John Wick firing Dragon's Breath ammo at a man in John Wick Chapter 4

Considering its illegal nature and how explosive the Dragon’s Breath ammo could be during filming, it’s obvious why the stunt team stopped short of authenticity. However, the scene came out as realistic as possible thanks to efforts from John Wick: Chapter 4 cinematographer Dan Lausten and the VFX team. As reported by Vulture, Lausten and his assistant cinematographers used a flare gun in the apartment shoot to create a color reference for post-production work. The VFX team quickly jumped on board with additional flames and sparks to make Dragon’s Breath ammo live up to its name.

As for the unfortunate actors who have been burned by Dragon’s Breath rounds, Chad Stahelski shared how it was done in an interview with IndieWire. It emerged that the stunt performers were covered in flammable fuel and that the bullets fired at them were propane pellets. So, when each bullet hit the stunt performer’s body, it hit a squib on his body and burst into flames. The fact that the Dragon’s Breath ammo effect was practically directed by the stunt team is interesting and shows the great work that went into crafting the quickly edited mayhem. John Wick: Chapter 4.

  • John Wick Poster Chapter 4

    John Wick: Chapter 4

    Release date:

    Chad Stahelski

    Hiroyuki Sanada, Clancy Brown, Scott Adkins, Keanu Reeves, Ian McShane, Bill Skarsgard, Laurence Fishburne, Rina Sawayama, Donnie Yen, Lance Reddick, Shamier Anderson


    Running time:
    169 minutes

    Thriller, Crime, Action

    Shay Hatten, Michael Finch

    Lion’s Gate

    Lion’s Gate

    John Wick, John Wick: Chapter 2, John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum

    John Wick

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