‘John Wick: Chapter 4’ review: Keanu Reeves and Donnie Yen deliver action to die for

After presenting three of the best action movies of the last decade, you might think that the John Wick the franchise was in danger of running out of steam. After all, how much longer could such a long streak last? Yet John Wick: Chapter 4 proves that these films have the same boundless energy and seemingly irresistible quality of their protagonist. With heightened action, great new additions to the cast and a relentless performance by Keanu Reeves, John Wick: Chapter 4 can stand the test of time as the best John Wick movie yet.


Guns, katanas and nunchucks: Keanu Reeves ups the ante in massive ‘John Wick: Chapter 4’ trailer

We return with impeccably dressed assassin John Wick (Reeves) in his ongoing quest to take down the crime lords known as the High Table. As always, the odds are against him. He’s an outcast, so he no longer has the privileges and access he once had in the criminal underworld, and there’s a $14 million dollar bounty on his head. To make matters worse, High Table unleashed the Marquis de Gramont (Bill Skarsgård) as a ruthless emissary who will stop at nothing to rid the world of even the faintest idea of ​​John Wick. The hunt for the marquis will send John from the nightclubs of Berlin to the Osaka Continental to the historic streets of Paris, all with one goal: To fight for freedom.

John Wick: Chapter 4 upgrades it with its new cast of characters.

John Wick after a charged discussion with Caine.
Credit: Lionsgate

Reeves is always great as his foundation John Wick movies and returning actors Laurence Fishburne (as the Bowery King) and Ian McShane (as Winston) continue to chew their scenes for every ounce of drama they’re worth. But Chapter 4 belongs to franchise newcomers like Skarsgård and Donnie Yen.

As the film’s main antagonist, Skarsgård delivers an excellent love-to-hate performance. He wears the “spoilt tyrant” like the marquis wears a variety of sumptuous suits — some glittery, some plush, all show. Whether he’s holding court at the Louvre or making bloody deals in his personal stables, he’s a loathsome joy to watch, and he couldn’t be more different from Wick.

The opposite is true for the blind assassin Caine (Yen), whom the Marquis sends to kill Wick. A long time friend of Wick’s, Caine has a lot in common with John Wick. The two tried to escape the criminal underworld to spend time with people they love. For John, this was his late wife Helen. For Kane, this is his daughter, whose life threatens the Table unless Kane does exactly as he’s told. So when given the choice between saving his daughter or saving an old friend, he naturally chooses to try and kill Wick. The legendary Jen gives a great performance here, imbuing Kane with a resigned sense of duty and a clear respect for his quarry. He and John have lived parallel lives, so when the two cross swords (or guns), the results are nothing short of explosive.


Keanu Reeves Has The Perfect Answer For Who Would Win In A Fight Between New And John Wick

The rest of the cast is also excellent. Hiroyuki Sanada, another legend, brings a deep sense of gravity to his role as Shimazu, the manager of Osaka Continental. He, Wick, and even Kane share something akin to a brotherly bond, though only Shimazu chooses to stand by Wick. Really, I could watch these three talk – and fight – for hours.

As Shimazu’s daughter and janitor Akira, pop star Rina Sawayama exudes ruthless amounts of cool. However, she and Sananda both find rifts from the villainy to provide a compelling look at a father-daughter bond in a cut-throat criminal world. Elsewhere, Shamier Anderson proves a compelling addition as Tracker, a man who wants to turn the bounty on John’s head. Accompanied by a John Wick main: a very good dog with whom he has a very good relationship. Finally, there’s Scott Adkins, whose unfortunate fat suit doesn’t entirely detract from his performance as club owner Killa.

John Wick: Chapter 4 features the best levels of action for the franchise.

A man in a black suit wields a nunchuk against a gun-toting man in black tactical armor.

Keanu Reeves in one of the many spectacular fight scenes.
Credit: Lionsgate

With all these new allies and adversaries in place, John Wick: Chapter 4 getting ready to do what John Wick does what it does best: delivers pulse-pounding action sequences that will make your jaw hit the ground with every blood-splattered headbutt and bone-crushing punch.

It wouldn’t be one John Wick movie without surprising amounts of gun-fu, but John Wick: Chapter 4 it also incorporates archery, full-on MMA brawls and stylish sword fights. The latter are particularly effective whenever Yen and Sanada are on screen. And of course, Reeves excels, whether he’s emphatically reloading a gun or bashing a man in the head with nunchuks.

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The entire film is a showcase for director Chad Stahelski as one of the best action filmmakers around today — especially in the final hour. An extended fight sequence uses a godlike aspect to guide us through a Parisian apartment, providing a flawless map of the battle playing out below us. A car chase and shootout around the Arc de Triomphe is an adrenaline rush like no other. Then there’s an action sequence involving stairs that had my theater buzzing and groaning in equal measure.

In Stahelski’s hands, even non-fight scenes carry the same energy as a brutal action sequence. In a fiendishly fun card game with Killa, each card’s thunderous turn feels like a hit. A negotiation between John Wick and the Marquis becomes tense. John Wick: Chapter 4 it may run nearly three hours, but when every scene has such high stakes and such commanding performances, that runtime flies by.

John Wick: Chapter 4 it’s strangely haunting.

A man in a black suit walks through green smoke.  Two shadowy figures walk far behind him.

How long can John Wick keep running?
Credit: Lionsgate

John Wick: Chapter 4 sticks with you — and not just because of Reeves’ excellent kills and one-liners. This is a film that continues to reckon with all the death John Wick has caused and what it will take to get out, but that reckoning is especially poignant as he meets his match in Caine.

“We are cursed,” Kane tells John the night before a pivotal match. The two claim they want their freedom off the table, but now that they’ve come out of retirement to end countless lives, is there really any kind of freedom for them? Or will they always be drawn back into this monstrous world?

I know, I know…It’s one John Wick film; you don’t necessarily come to them for philosophy classes. However, the specter of death and sorrow hangs over this place more than any other, thanks mostly to the masterful way the film sets up the film’s final fight. The terror, satisfaction and anticipation war within you until the last shot. This is proof of his power John Wick: Chapter 4: Not only are his action sequences top-notch, but they’re backed by emotion to match.

John Wick: Chapter 4 hits theaters March 24.

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