Synopsis: John Wick (Keanu Reeves) uncovers a path to defeating The High Table. But before he canearn his freedom, Wick must face off against a new enemy with powerful alliances across the globe and forces that turn old friends into foes.
Regardless of our flawed overly-complicated human existence and experience, the idea of second chances has always been controversial. We rarely get anything right the first time, especially without some sort of practice or blueprint, so why do we constantly expect perfection? If we only live once, shouldn’t we be able to make a mistake and rectify it afterward if it wasn’t malicious or on purpose? However, if that’s what we want and expect, we have to take accountability and atone for what we have done along with doing better going forward… Or else.
“No one defies the table.”
Put on your best bulletproof suit and prepare to cash in because the contract is still open and the bounty is bigger than ever. Directed by Chad Stahelski, John Wick: Chapter 4 is an action-packed shot of adrenaline, yet a slight departure from the usual. Picking up where Parabellum left off, a healed and pissed-off John Wick is back on the offensive opting for less talking and more action. Word to Dave East, Baba Yaga is on a different type of time. There’s no asking for permission or forgiveness, only more bullets and a clean slate. It’s known that The Table abides by a very old and strict set of rules, however, as new blood begins to ascend, it’s very clear that anything goes when it comes to eradicating Mr. Wick.
With each film in the franchise, we as the audience are asked and agree to suspend a certain level of disbelief since John is almost a mythical being. Nevertheless, the first three installments remain mostly grounded as a vast majority of what takes place is believable because of what The Boogeyman has already accomplished. However, just as the Fast franchise, the Taken franchise, and The Mechanic sequel, just to name a few, became somewhat laughably absurd when compared to their originals, John Wick: Chapter 4 has seemed to follow suit. Contrary to how it sounds, I don’t say that completely as a slight, but I never found myself uncontrollably laughing during other films within the Wickaverse. You expect a witty line or two, maybe even a humorous kill, but there are most that I liken to Ludacris and Tyrese flying a car into space. There are only so many times that a person should be able to fall from great heights and be able to walk away essentially unharmed. It’s perfectly fine and rather fun if that’s where the franchise is headed, it is just unexpected.
“It’ll all be over after today.”
This fourth installment, along with the entire franchise, succeeds in continuing to push what is visually and physically possible on-screen in the genre. From its perfectly executed and realistic fight choreography to entire visceral sequences that feel as if you’re rooted deep within a video game, it is nothing short of astonishing. Overflowing with talent in front of and behind the camera, there’s no wondering why this fist-to-face bullet bonanza is an action movie lover’s wet dream. Embodying the spirit of the genre, from martial arts movies to Westerns, much of the story and its themes feel like a homage to the classics that paved the way.
The story is one of second chances, loyalty, honor, and death. All are put weighed and put to the test at every turn. There may be no honor among thieves, or much of the other concepts for that matter, but there is in the world of assassins if you can survive long enough. The body count is higher than ever, the kills are violently creative, and the chase scenes are impressive. You can’t help but wonder how they pulled all of this off. The film is aesthetically pleasing with its neon-clad and vibrant set designs along with sets filled with beautiful art, decor, and classical interior. The performances are phenomenal with a few unexpected scene-stealers. And lastly, the ending is intriguingly ambiguous. I had a blast as did the crowd that I saw the film with. It’s definitely worth seeing on the biggest screen possible. Its rewatchability is high. And yes, there is a post-credits scene.
Pacing & Pop
To no surprise, just like its predecessors, this film is paced exceptionally well. From start to finish, it’s like doing action-packed bumps of adrenaline and gunsmoke. Only slowing down for necessary intense pre-beatdown conversations. What really popped in this film were some of the action sequences that felt as if you were transported into the Metal Gear Solid or Assassin’s Creed video games.
Characters & Chemistry
Starring: Keanu Reeves, Donnie Yen, Bill Skarsgård, Laurence Fishburne, Hiroyuki Sanada, Shamier Anderson, Lance Reddick, Rina Sawayama, Scott Adkins, and Ian McShane
While Keanu Reeves was a man a very few words this go around, he made up for it with non-stop action. It is truly impressive what he is able to pull off. Donnie Yen and Shamier Anderson definitely stole the show with their line delivery and charisma. Not to mention, Anderson’s character, Tracker or Nobody remains the film’s biggest mystery even as the credits role. Bill Skarsgård is a perfect villain and plays his character exactly how you’d expect. Scott Adkins is unrecognizable and really gives you the Boss at the end of a level vibe. Rina Sawayama kicks ass as Akira and I hope we get to see more of her character in the future. Hiroyuki Sanada helps set everything off in an explosive way. Ian McShane is hilarious and Lawrence Fishburne is almost like a voice in your head that you don’t want to go away. And we can never get enough Lance Reddick.
John Wick: Chapter 4 releases in theaters on March 24, 2023. Remain safe and RIP Lance Reddick.
Rated: R Runtime: 2h 49m Director: Chad Stahelski Writers: Shay Hatten and Michael Finch Based on Characters Created by: Derek Kolstad Producers: Basil Iwanyk, Erica Lee, Chad Stahelski Executive Producers: Keanu Reeves, Louise Rosner, David Leitch, Michael Paseornek
John Wick: Chapter 4 is an action-packed shot of adrenaline, yet a slight departure from the usual.
Senior Critic. Observing the human race since 1988.