REVIEW: John Wick: Chapter 4

With the price on his head always increasing, John Wick (Keanu Reeves) finds a way to defeat the High Table; kill the Marquis (Bill Skarsgård) in single combat and win his freedom.

Obviously we got to talk about the action as that’s what the John Wick franchise has become known for and Chapter 4 takes things to a whole other level. There are probably about half a dozen sequences which could be the standout in any film so that fact there’s so many exciting and impressive sequences in one film is something to be commended. For a fourth film in an unlikely franchise to be this good and to take its characters and the action to levels we haven’t seen before is really something else. The final act is action on a level and like the sequences before it, it knows how to have some fun with it.

One of the things that makes the many thrilling action sequences work, besides from being well shot, edited, lit, and choreographed, is that many of the key characters are motivated by things other than revenge and desire for a big payday. It’s loyalty and family that drives most of them. Whether that’s blood family like new characters Shimazu and his daughter Akira (Hiroyuki Sanada and Rina Sawayama), or family of choice like John, Winston (Ian McShane) and Charon (Lance Reddick), or even the family that the Tracker (Shamier Anderson) has with his attack dog. These characters have something to fight for other than themselves and it makes any threat they face feel more real and there’s consequences for the decisions they make.

Donnie Yen just about steals every scene he’s in and could well be considered a secondary lead in Chapter 4. He plays Caine, a blind assassin who’s an old friend of John’s but due to past debts is tasked with killing his friend. All the scenes with Caine and John are great as there’s familiarity between the two of them both in how they fight and in why they’re making the decisions they have made. How Caine’s blindness is incorporated in his fighting style and how he reacts to his environment is really cool – the moment with doorbell sensors was really fun.

The “bad guys” John has to go up against are all really fun and interesting and most have something likable about them to make you a bit conflicted when they’re going toe to toe with John, with some of these characters you can understand their motives so don’t really want them to be killed by John’s hand. Then on the other hand there’s Marquis who is a great villain because he has all the ego and swagger with very little skill to back it up. He may have the money and power but he’s a smarmy, manipulative man who you can’t wait to see his downfall.

John Wick: Chapter 4 is just super entertaining with thrilling action sequences and it’s all so engaging that you don’t feel the almost three-hour runtime at all. It’s just a really impressive action film that has great core themes and brilliantly committed performances from the entire cast and stunt team. 5/5.

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