John Wick: Chapter 4
- Great Action Sequences
- Good amount of new world building
- Great cast of varied characters
John Wick is back.
John Wick uncovers a path to defeating The High Table. But before he can earn his freedom, Wick must face off against a new enemy with powerful alliances across the globe and forces that turn old friends into foes.
In a franchise that increases in popularity with every movie, the John Wick series is a needle in the haystack for action movies.Taking place shortly after the events of John Wick: Chapter 3 Parabellum, the fourth film in the franchise contuinues following John Wick. This time as he tries to escape the life of an assassin and get back his freedom from this world. As someone who is now on the run from the high table that controls the assassin world, he decides the only way to free himself is to take them out. In order to do this it involves John Wick making new allies, finding old friends, and hoping old enemies don’t take advantage of the situation. The main cast from the previous films returns with Keanu Reeves as John Wick, Ian McShane as Winston, and Laurence Fishburn as King. Joingin them for this new film by Donnie Yen as Caine a blind assassin, Bill Skarsgard The Marquis a member of the table, and Shamier Anderson as Mr. Nobody a bounty hunter chasing after John.
Right off the bat the John Wick: Chapter 4 doesn’t drag its feet and jumps right into the action that is expected of the franchise. Within the first thirty minutes there is already a bloodbath of action that puts itself up against the final fight scene of John Wick: Chapter 3. Once the action stops it takes very few breaths before starting the next set of action sequences. Through the full three hour runtime there are plenty of varied action sequences following John and the assassins who are trying to take him out for the bounty on his head. Including what I consider one of my new favorite one shot action sequences that follows John from a top down perspective running through a building taking out everyone in his path. As with the previous iterations of the John Wick franchise the choreography of the fight scenes makes each one stand out as the different characters have their own means of attacking. With Caine for example as he is blind his movements are very quick and reaching to get to his targets. Focusing more on close combat when possible, and creating clever ways to create sound he can use to track where people are located to get the upper hand. Then we have Mr. Nobody who uses a more stealthy approach, as well as his canine companion to take out enemies from the shadows as opposed to John Wicks more in your face style. This helps with keeping a very action packed movie feeling fresh throughout. With different assassin styles through the film on top of the varied locations and set these fights take place at.
That isn’t to say there aren’t moments where the John Wick: Chapter 4 doesn’t take the time to build more onto the world we know, there is plenty of that as well for the people who want to see more of the assassin world and how it works. The assassin world of Japan, Germany, France, and the United States are all shown throughout the film, keeping the environments and locations of the action sequences varied and fresh. Each location visited by John takes great lengths to set itself apart from the rest of the film, so no area feels like it is a copy and paste of the last. While in Japan John wanders the highly neon streets of Osaka, staying within a familiar hotel located in the region. While in Germany the fights take place in a dance club filled with people dancing to the electronic music booming behind the fight scenes. Then in France a full on chase through the streets of Paris in one of the most action filled sequences put on film. Within each area we get new information on how the assassin world works, and the different rules that they abide by to keep the high table happy.
With the new character known as The Marquis as the main antagonist, he has been given almost absolute power from the high table in order to take out John Wick and prevent anyone from following in his footsteps. This forces John to have to create new bonds and find rules from the high table in order to somehow complete his goal of taking out the high table in its entirety. The Marquis stands as a powerful opponent to John due to the fact he has the entire assassin world in the palm of his hand. Throughout the film he is only a couple steps behind John at any given point in time, easily following him around the world to try and take him down. As the Marquis explains about himself he has something to live for, something to die for, and something to kill for when it comes to stopping John Wick. Something he says John Wick has none of, making it so he has the upper-hand in the matter. This is only brought about by the wonderful acting of Bill Skarsgard, who brings this antagonist to life in a role that makes him easy to hate and feared at the same time.
The rest of the cast is also bringing their best for John Wick: Chapter 4 with the casting for the franchise continuing to be spot on. Starting with Keanu Reeves as the main protagonist John Wick, he brings the same character to life as he did when he first started playing the character back in 2014. There were no surprises with his performance, still giving us the John Wick we all know and love from the previous films. The same can be of Ian McShane who reprises his role of Winston the manmager of The Continental hotel in New York City and Laurence Fishburne as The Bowery King who leads an underground intelligence network under the guise of a homeless shelter. They both bring their performances from the previous films forward, bringing their best for the fourth film in the franchise. This time around a new character played by Donnie Yen named Caine is brought into the fray. Caine is a blind assassin and as such Donnie’s performance to bring that to the screen is important as his maneurisms, the way he walks, and even the way he reacts to different things have to be spot on to give impression he is actually blind. Of which Donnie brings the character to the screen for a compelling assassin who is believable within this world. The same can be said again for Shamier Anderson as Mr. Nobody that acts as a tracker that is waiting for Johns bounty get higher so he can turn him in for a big payday. Shamier brings the character to life as someone who keeps great notes on people to tell where they are and where they are going as he follows John everywhere he is going to in order to get help. He acts as a perfect wild card in John Wick: Chapter 4 as he both helps John to escape situations he wouldn’t be able to otherwise in order to guarantee he is the one to claim his bounty in the end when it reaches the right price.
With that all said John Wick: Chapter 4 does suffer from one aspect that the others films did as well, in which the world of this film needs to be taken with a grain of salt. As John traverses the world and gets in these giant fights, there is a feeling of how over the top the action can get and how the world seemingly doesn’t react to it. It was something that was jarring in the first film, but since then its become par for the course in the franchise. There are some moments it is a little more noticeable than others, for example a scene in a dance club has John and other assassins throwing axes and battling it out. Meanwhile the people around them continue to go about their day as if its a normal occurrence at this club. It comes off as a little silly in some instances, but when you realize that the world of assassins in this world isn’t really a hidden one and is just another job people have it is easier to let it slide. The action scenes themselves are good enough to easily ignore this, but for people who couldn’t get past this aspect in previous film should know this wasn’t solved here.
John Wick: Chapter 4 is the perfect conclusion to the franchise up to this point. The full three hour film is filled with the action that has become expected of the franchise, taking it to the next level that it can go since the previous ones. With a great cast that brings the characters to life, and the sets that make each fight and setting feel unique there is a lot to love about this movie. Then when it comes to the bad of this movie, there really isn’t any for people looking for the John Wick experience. For people unfamiliar with the franchise there is a suspension of belief to be had with the world as a whole, and their reactions to the fights that happen in the streets. But for those that are looking for a John Wick movie, this is everything you are expecting and will be noted as one of the best action movies to hit the big screen in a long time.