JOHN WICK: CHAPTER FOUR
Starring: Keanu Reeves, Donnie Yen, Bill Skarsgård, Laurence Fishburne, Lance Reddick, Ian McShane, Shamier Anderson, and Hiroyuki Sanada
Director: Chad Stahelski
With this being the fourth entry in the franchise, you know what you're going to get from a John Wick film: minimal, almost robotic dialogue from Keanu Reeves, top-notch fight choreography, and a high body count. Bingo. Beyond that, you get the series’ best cinematography yet (including some incredible aerial and tracking shots) and a magnetic performance from Donnie Yen. The build-up is a little slow (yet deliberate), but once it kicks into gear, it’s a non-stop barrage of exceptionally high-octane action. Add in some jaw-dropping set pieces, and there’s no doubt, The Baba Yaga is back.
If you’re a fan of the John Wick franchise, Chapter 4 is more than enough of what you want. The stunt work, cinematography, and sheer number of action sequences keeping the film feeling like two hours (as opposed to three) are likely to thrill audiences looking for an entertaining time in theaters. That said, the film does have its drawback: namely, there’s less story here than in any previous films, and it does overindulge itself on the action quite a bit, with some sequences long overstaying their welcome. Still, those sequences are flawlessly choreographed, and Keanu Reeves remains impossibly watchable.
Laurence Fishburne perfectly encapsulates Chapter 4 two minutes into the film, proclaiming that “you are now in the presence of the motherf*****g KING.” The action, cinematography, and world-building are the series’ most epic, and the supporting cast (Clancy Brown, Shamier Anderson, Hiroyuki Sanada, Bill Skarsgard) bring the best balance of badassery and emotional resonance since the original. But it’s Donnie Yen that’s the MVP, forgoing the strong, silent archetype for his most charming stateside performance since Rogue One. Pairing Yen and this cast with Keanu Reeves’ titular character delivers the pinnacle example of this action genre royalty.
If all you want from a John Wick movie is over-choreographed, neon-soaked gunfights with hordes of faceless henchmen, Chapter 4 more than delivers. It’s action-packed and entertaining, if not a bit exhausting. That said, I would have liked to see director Chad Stahelski take a creative step forward instead of just giving us more of the same. Donnie Yen adds some interesting spice as a blind badass, and there is an overhead tracking shot that might be the best sequence of the franchise, but some creative kills with outside the box weaponry, as well as a truly formidable antagonist, could have made for a better film.
The John Wick franchise is a special one that has elevated the action genre to whole new levels, and even still, Chapter 4 is leaps and bounds better than the first three films. Storytelling isn’t anything to write home about other than the way they deepen the universe’s mythology, but the action sequences are mind blowing. The choreography is insane, incorporating techniques that feel like nothing I’ve seen before, and every single moment of this movie is shot incredibly by cinematographer Dan Lausten. If this is the standard the franchise now has to live up to, I can’t wait for what’s to come.
Chapter 4 not only makes for the best entry in the franchise thus far, but one of the best action movies of the last decade. Director Chad Stahelski's dedication to the genre pays off, as he delivers a nonstop thrill ride that will leave audiences just as exhausted as the character. Keanu Reeves once again brings a touch of heart to John Wick, making it impossible for viewers not to root for him as he scrapes to survive every known assassin in the world. With a number of dynamite action scenes set on lavishly produced sets, this is a must see on the biggest screen.
Chapter 4 is a masterclass in how a kickass action flick should be executed. The team behind the film delivers flawless stunt choreography, stunning camera work, and breathtaking cinematography. While it may not have the strongest story of the franchise, there's no denying that this installment is an exhilarating thrill ride from beginning to end with an exponential death count. I admit it’s a tad bit long with a nearly 3-hour runtime, but it makes use of it with massive action set pieces and incredible fight sequences. I’m honestly convinced that Keanu Reeves isn’t even an actor anymore, but an actual certified badass assassin.