John Wick: Chapter 4 (2023) – Review


“JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 4”

John Wick: Chapter 4 sees director Chad Stahelski and star Keanu Reeves return to conclude the John Wick franchise with one final movie. Chapter 4 marks the longest gap between John Wick movies, probably due to the pandemic providing production difficulties. If we had to wait through the worst part of the pandemic to get another John Wick movie, it’s worth the wait.

I’ve said repeatedly that I think that this franchise gives us great action movies, and I stand by that. While I did think that they got a bit over the top with how they expanded certain aspects of the world of John Wick and gave us too many globetrotting elements of the story, I still really like the previous movies. The plotlines are simple but work, and the action is top standard.

It’s always quite difficult to talk about the John Wick movies since each one follows on directly after the events of the previous. The story between 1 & 2 is only a few hours and it’s the same with 3. Chapter 4 is the one with the longest gap – it’s never stated how long but it feels like a long gap has taken place between 3 & 4.

John Wick (Keanu Reeves) is causing havoc trying to get his freedom from The Table and after Winston (Ian McShane) is removed from his position by The Table via this film’s villain, The Marquis (Bill Skarsgard), Winston informs John Wick that if he wants his freedom, he can challenge the Marquis to a duel in Paris. If he wins, he can choose to have his freedom, but he dies if he loses.

There are a lot of things that go on in the movie to get us to those points, but as a whole, Chapter 4 is a fantastic way to close the franchise. I of course won’t spoil how it ends. I was looking at the options that the team had going forward with this franchise, and I think that the team made the right decision over the content of this film.

The excellent supporting cast is still present including the sadly now-late Lance Reddick, and of course, Laurence Fishburn and Ian McShane now make appearances. We also have some new cast members joining the team. Bill Skarsgard makes an excellent smarmy villain with his performance as Marquis, but the highlight of this film was the two newer assassins. Caine (Donnie Yen), a blind assassin who has been hired by the Marquis to kill John Wick, and the Tracker (Shamier Anderson). The three get plenty of time to shine and play off of each other very well, most noticeably in a poker scene involving the trio.

The locations this time are a good mix, New York does have some time in this film, but the major locations that get the most action are Tokyo, Berlin, and Paris. Each gets excellent action sequences, while the Tokyo sequences were hard to top, the Paris scenes were phenomenal and the best in the franchise to date – and that’s coming from someone who loves all of these films. The team certainly played a lot of video games during lockdown because there are a lot of long takes that are really inspired by games. Particularly one sequence is definitely inspired by top-down perspectives that you see in video games.

The choreography involved is once again amazing. I can’t watch these films without thinking how much effort must have gone into memorising every single person’s locations and actions, and not only telling a story through action but doing it without minimal cuts. It’s outstanding.

The lighting also does an excellent job. This is one of the few films that can shoot action scenes in dark environments and make them look good.

Storyline-wise, I think on many levels it has a great emotional core to it with several characters, and it is the point where you feel like some of the plot points are starting to repeat. I think the team were wise to try and do one more film and stop there.

John Wick: Chapter 4 is another excellent entry in the series and will be a film that is hard to top for the rest of this year. If you have seen the other three and you like them, don’t hesitate to go to the cinema and see this one, it’s an excellent end to the franchise.
 
Calvin – Nerd Consultant

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