John Wick: Chapter 4

I was a big fan of the first John Wick film. However, if I am being honest, while I remember liking the next two in the franchise, I can’t remember anything specific about either one outside of the fact that John Wick just went about killing fools. They really just blended together into the films that followed the first John Wick film. Chapter 4 is not going to have that trouble because this is the most memorable and, arguably, the best entry in the entire franchise.

John Wick (Keanu Reeves) is still in all kinds of trouble with the mysterious Table as he is trying to stay alive. New threat, Marquis (Bill Skarsgård) is looking to take down John for his trespasses against the Table and he has hired/blackmailed John’s old friend, blind assassin Caine (Donnie Yen) into taking John’s name and killing him. There is also another assassin, Tracker (Shamier Anderson) and his dog coming after John. John kills a ton of fools trying to stay alive (did I mention that already?).

The story is straight-forward. John Wick is trying to stay alive while bunches of people are coming after him. They gave the antagonists hunting John Wick their own motivations here (as well as a ton of cannon fodder to die). Caine was a complex individual who had a motive that you could understand, though that did not make him a good guy. I kept wondering if John, Caine and Tracker were going to eventually team up as an all-star assassin team at some point because they all had a strange connection.

The key to this movie is the action. It is absolutely insane. I do not know how many times I gasped or laughed out loud or dropped my mouth open in utter shock at the amazing set up for each of these action set pieces. The car chase/fight in traffic in Paris was perhaps the most outstanding sequence among all kinds of exceptional scenes. The way these scenes are choreographed and designed are brilliant, as the precision of each moment required knowing what was happening with every shot (or stab or blast etc.). There was also an awesome shot of John Wick moving through a building killing fool that gave us a bird’s eye view of the events. It felt very much like a video game in all the best ways possible.

After all the action leading up to the final act, I thought what they had set up might not deliver the goods, but I was so wrong. No spoilers, of course, but the ending sequence was tense and filled with so much suspense while taking everything to a more low key moment. It was done exceptionally well and felt perfectly satisfying after the huge battle scenes.

The film is long, but you do not feel that length. It is well paced and there are so many action beats that you are grateful for those few breaths that you get throughout the run time.

RIP Lance Reddick, who passed away just recently. His scenes as Charon were quite bittersweet and it was sad to know that this unique presence would no longer grace us with his acting skill.

I was unaware that John Wick’s suit was made of Kevlar. I do not remember that fact bein introduced in prior films, but, if it was, it goes to show you how I have found these middle two films not that memorable. I definitely got that idea from this film.

It was good to see Ian McShane and Laurence Fishburne once again and the addition of Clancy Brown is always welcome. Three LOST alumni appeared in Chapter 4: Clancy Brown, Lance Reddick and Hiroyuki Sanada and I love seeing these talented character actors.

John Wick: Chapter 4 is full of fun, excitement and ‘holy s**t’ moments that I found thrilling, funny, completely engaging and worth every second.

5 stars

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