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John Wick: Chapter 4 Review

The John Wick franchise has revitalized the action genre for the better thanks to its incredible fight choreography, mythology, the cast of characters, and the charismatic presence of Keanu Reeves. It is a tough act for each entry to top the other, but so far it hasn’t stopped director Chad Stahelski from upping the stakes with the latest film John Wick: Chapter 4. Audiences have followed for almost a decade what the John Wick films have delivered in terms of the fights and action set pieces. What John Wick: Chapter 4 manages to do is find that balance between increasing the action of previous entries while also giving it enough space to stand out on its own. With an incredibly huge cast, John Wick: Chapter 4 is everything that one would want in an action movie and possibly more.

The fourth film picks up immediately after the events of the last entry as John is picking up the pieces of what transpired after being left for dead by his comrade Winston (Ian McShane). With the High Table betraying him, John decides to take matters into his own hands to stop them to regain his freedom from the life he tried to leave behind. With John deadset on stopping the High Table, things are about to shake up for the criminal organization. Right on his tale is Marquis de Gramont (Bill Skarsgard), a high-ranking member who has many resources at his disposal to eliminate the legendary assassin known as the Baba Yaga. This leads down a path of destruction for John as he goes up against other assassins who were considered his colleagues, including his friend, the blind yet deadline Caine (Donnie Yen). There’s also a young assassin named Nobody (Shamier Anderson) who is also seeking the bounty on John’s head. Even some of John’s allies have a target on their backs, including the Bowery King (Laurence Fishburne) and fellow assassin Shimazu (Hiroyuki Sanada). 

With a run time of almost 3 hours, John Wick: Chapter 4 is a huge film that doesn’t feel big. The pacing of the film goes by fast enough that audiences won’t even realize how long the film is thanks to the gorgeous shots of these incredibly difficult fight sequences. The film embraces what is great about the franchise and goes all out with the story’s action and global appeal. John Wick doesn’t even feel like a human and more of a powerful storm who is out to get anyone who gets in his way. It is great to see Keanu showcase some of the emotion that his character is going through as he tries tirelessly to get past hordes of assassins who are all out for his head.

It is surprising to see how most of these old and new characters are getting their arcs within the scope of the film. Bill Skarsgard puts on the face of a villain with his turn as the Marquis out to destroy Wick. Even Scott Atkins goes all out as a ridiculous villain, putting in some funny moments into the movie. Both McShane and Fishburne return as their characters, showing just how important they are in John Wick’s journey so far in these past few films. Perhaps the biggest stand out is Donnie Yen as the blind but capable Caine, He proved that he could go toe-to-toe against Wick and shows how similar he is to the main character. Caine is basically on the same side of the coin as Wick being that he has a difficult time leaving the High Table as his life as an assassin always comes back to haunt him. It creates a challenge for Wick to fight against the people who he has known in this line of work. 

For a movie that has its sense of style, John Wick: Chapter 4 has stepped it up when it comes to cinematography and production. Other than the main setting of New York, the film travels across multiple cities like Osaka, Berlin, and Paris giving each location a uniqueness to design and structure. It feels like a painting where every city shows its beauty and extravagance, giving us a tone that carries throughout the film. Each landmark acts as an action set piece for John to tackle as he continues to outrun a bunch of killers on his tail. It feels as if each of these places is a character all its own and helps pinpoint where in the world John is.

In the end, John Wick: Chapter 4 has shown how far the franchise has come and evolved over each entry. It went from a retired assassin looking for revenge to someone who is just trying to leave behind the life he has grown less fond of as he becomes more human, Every film has upped the stakes and expanded on the world that is being shown. It’s no small task to put out another entry in a film series that can outdo the others but somehow John Wick: Chapter 4 manages to do just that thanks to the vision of Stahelski and Reeves putting their best work out there. It is a spectacle with epic proportions that fans will get a kick out of.

John Wick: Chapter 4 releases in cinemas on March 24th.

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