John Wick: Chapter 4 Review
After three action-packed installments of the John Wick franchise, all making their own marks on the box office while becoming favorites among critics and fans alike, the fourth film sees Keanu Reeves return as the titular character, just as convincing as ever before. While Chapter 3 – Parabellum attempted to maintain the energy and quality of its predecessors, it is John Wick: Chapter 4 that brings the franchise back to its full glory. In the hands of director Chad Stahelski and screenwriters Shay Hatten and Michael Finch, the execution is nearly seamless, only weighed down by minor hiccups here and there. Chapter 4 comes with style, brutal action sequences, and stunning set pieces — solidifying its position as one of the greatest sequels in the franchise.
In John Wick: Chapter 4, “No one escapes the table.” But that’s exactly what the deadliest assassin aims to do after a long history of violence in and out of retirement and with frequent bounties on his head to end him for good. Determined to obtain his freedom from the high table, Wick (Reeves) quickly learns that he must take it by any means necessary. This latest chapter sees John take on a new powerful enemy in familiar places and new. And when his journey forces old friends to make unspeakable decisions, these former alliances quickly turn them towards a path of foes.
Up until this point, audiences have seen Wick rise against the odds stacked against him to survive another day in the underworld. Yet, Stahelski and company manage to up the ante within this action-heavy, high-stakes thriller that will surely keep viewers glued to their seats. Thus far, Wick has had to face street thugs, enemies from his past, and deadly assassins from all over the world. So, it’s difficult to imagine how the team behind Chapter 4 could raise the stakes. But thanks to Hatten and Finch’s script, which balances themes like revenge, friendship, and survival, the anxiety-inducing story incorporates thrills from beginning to end and naturally captures the intensity of the previous three installments.
Fans of this franchise will see it as no surprise to witness the impressive technical aspects like the set pieces and cinematography of Chapter 4. And with the various locations Wick travels to like Berlin, Japan, and Paris, the amalgamation of stylistic filmmaking and culture (of the respective locations) leaves an incredible mark, and helps to submerge viewers themselves into the story. Stahelski’s direction also shines most in this installment, where he gets to implement a creative vision that feels both familiar and new. And with the undeniably hypnotic music by Bates and Richard and sound mixing, these elements aid in maintaining the stakes while heightening the senses to result in a satisfying viewer experience.
As the world-building continues to grow throughout this franchise, so have the stakes, especially when more characters enter the picture and recurring ones get more backstory. To that end, the script does well introducing Marquis Vincent de Gramont (Bill Skarsgård), a powerful member of the High Table, and Tracker or “Mr. Nobody” (Shamier Anderson), another bounty hunter — though his role is more important than the average hunter — pursuing Wick. Skarsgård and Anderson fit right in with this dynamic and talented cast, especially opposite Keanu Reeves, who truly shines this fourth time around.
It goes without saying, but John Wick: Chapter 4 doesn’t exactly fly by, particularly due to its runtime of 169 minutes, which is the longest in the franchise. With that being said, every brutal sequence, piercing sound effect, and humorous line delivery is well worth it. The nerve-wracking scuffles among the assassins have returned to their violent glory, where the fight choreography exceeds expectations and will even manage to surprise viewers. At this point, a major part of the fun is in witnessing what item Wick can turn into a deadly weapon. And as seen in the previous John Wick movies, it’s virtually anything.
Packed with great technical achievements and sequences that will keep viewers on the edges of their seats, John Wick: Chapter 4 is, without a doubt, a great time at the movies. Besides a minor (though glaring) special effects hurdle, so much of the fourth installment appropriately relies on the superb fight choreography and brutal sequences to keep the entertainment at its peak. One of the ongoing themes throughout the franchise is that actions have consequences. If this is Stahelski’s message to his viewers regarding the franchise’s longevity, then run, don’t walk, to the theater because this is kind of film that is impossible to disappoint.
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John Wick: Chapter 4 releases in theaters on March 24. The film is 169 minutes long and rated R for language and violence.
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