We review John Wick: Chapter 4, the latest in the action-packed saga featuring Keanu Reeves, directed by Chad Stahelski
PLOT: The price on John Wick’s head has gone way up. Mr. Wick, however, has a plan to finally free himself from the High Table. Will he succeed with hired guns waiting around every corner?
REVIEW: John Wick has been going through some things. After Chapter 2 and Chapter 3 – Parabellum, the hitman had a price on his head. That’s what happens when you kill High Table crime lord Santino D’Antonio. If that wasn’t enough, his old friend Winstone (Ian McShane) shot him at the end of the previous film. The price has increased as we enter the thrilling new ground explored in John Wick: Chapter 4. Keanu Reeves and franchise regulars Laurence Fishburne, Lance Reddick, and Ian McShane are back. The fourth installment is directed by Chad Stahelski once again. And this wild chapter is written by Shay Hatten (who also co-wrote Parabellum) and Michael Finch. And it may be the most epic yet.
John Wick is in serious trouble. Every gun for hire is ready and willing to take the legend down six feet below. Mr. Wick, however, may have figured out how he could defeat the High Table. Which would bring him freedom once and for all. Until then, he must deal with a blind badass named Caine (Donnie Yen). As well as a fellow appropriately named Killa (Scott Adkins). The list also includes a mysterious man named Tracker (Shamier Anderson), and his adorable dog. To make matters even worse, the vindictive Marquis (Bill Skarsgard) wants to bring Wick down in a bad way. Will John Wick claim his freedom, or will he finally meet his match? Perhaps he’ll find his freedom with the help of a few loyal friends. That includes Shimazu (Hiroyuki Sanada) and his daughter Akira (Rina Sawayama).
John Wick: Chapter 4 is one of the best action movies of the past few years. And if you’re wondering about the hefty runtime, don’t. I was curious about twenty minutes in if they could keep up the pace. They did, and then some. When this operatic flick finally ended, I was stunned that it was over. This incredible feature brings all the elements that worked before and gives the fourth film urgency and pulse-pounding thrills. Yes, this is a mesmerizing story. The characters are colorful. It features brilliant action sequences. And it offers a few intriguing big-screen baddies.
The action set pieces are utterly gorgeous. They run the gamut of bringing the audience into the wildly ambitious world. There’s a stunning fight at a nightclub. Hundreds of dancers are surrounding the brutality in this wild fighting. And yet another with a birds-eye view of the carnage happening below. There’s another chase on horseback and one with a car sans its doors. You’ll be cheering once Mr. Wick takes on that staircase with a host of baddies to battle. It’s no shock that the team behind 87Eleven Action can pull all this off. The detail in the fight choreography is sublime, as is the level of talent on-screen and off. Everyone deserves massive props, especially all the mind-blowing stunt work on display.
The inclusion of Scott Adkins and Hiroyuki Sanada is a treat. Shamier Anderson is also delightful, opposite another one of man’s best friends. Donnie Yen is mesmerizing here. The legendary action star brings charm, humor, and intensity to Caine. And then there is Mr. Skarsgard. He isn’t entirely on the level of the previously mentioned, stunt-wise. Yet, the actor excels at bringing a sense of glee to his cruelty. Keanu encapsulates Mr. Wick per usual and handles all that the filmmakers and stunt team throw at him. Mr. Reeves effortlessly continues to make Mr. Wick one of the most enigmatic characters of his career with these films.
As convoluted as this could be, it never feels that way. It’s easy to connect to who and what is on display. Like the previous films, the mythology is utterly compelling. It’s an accessible world for the viewer to engage. And yes, the film goes deeper into what has come before. They continue to create a wow factor with the impressive stunt work. And I’d hate to forget to mention the atmospheric score by Tyler Bates and Joel J. Richard. The fourth round of John Wick is something extraordinary. With so many memorable characters, it will be exciting to see what’s next.
John Wick one of the best modern franchises. And John Wick: Chapter 4 is likely to be one of the best films of 2023. Even with its extended runtime, every scene feels necessary to build this fantastic final act. And judging by the audience that surrounded me for the film, most attendees were equally blown away. Chad and the crew over at 87eleven Action Design deserve heaps of credit for this stunning fourth chapter. Everything about this flick works. It’s lovely to see yet another action film bring such integrity to the big screen. Don’t let the length fool you; John Wick: Chapter 4 may be the most exhilarating two-hour and thirty-eight minutes you’ll spend in theatres this year.