No one does action better than Chad Stahelski and Keanu Reeves. The John Wick films have redefined the genre with each chapter in the franchise getting bigger and bigger in terms of action, gunplay, and style. John Wick: Chapter 4 is hands down the best of the series. It’s nonstop thrills where every frame is a beautiful ballet of bullets and mayhem. What started out as revenge for a killed dog has morphed into story of identity. John Wick: Chapter 4 builds upon everything audiences loved about the previous films, delivering one of the best action films of all time.
Continuing from where John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum left off, John is handed a new suit from the Bowery King after recovering underground, and he is finally ready to go after the High Table itself in his journey to be free from this criminal organization. He’s going to have to go through a lot of bodies in order to do so, however. Tasked with stopping Wick is the Marquis Vincent de Gramont, who is attempting to carve a name out for himself among the High Table elite. He enlists the services of blind assassin Caine, a former friend of Wick’s who also has more to loose by not honoring the High Table’s request. There’s only one way this whole situation ends, and it’s not going to be peacefully.
Not much needs to be said about John Wick: Chapter 4 to be honest. Four films deep in the franchise and you should know by now the type of movie you’re getting into. It’s Keanu Reeves (and everyone else) kicking all kinds of ass in every manner possible. What astonishes me most is how the franchise continues to evolve with each film despite the simple premise that has remained the same. John Wick wants out of the assassin business and will take down as many people as necessary to get that. Chapter 4 continues to go bigger and bigger with its action set pieces. No two fights are the same, both in this film and when compared to previous films. Chad Stahelski finds new ways to brutalize Wick and anyone in his way. Weapons like nunchucks and canes offer up a new fluidity to the combat while gorgeous set design and cinematography are utilized to make sure the action is on full display. Everything comes together like a masterfully choreographed dance; one that’ll leave your jaw on the floor.
Keeping the franchise fresh and helping expand the underworld of assassins are a slew of new characters. Donnie Yen’s Caine is fantastic. A blind swordsman assassin, Caine brings a confidence and skill that rivals that of Wick. His fighting style is so unique. It feels like a combination of Drunken Fist mixed with Gun Fu. There is a precision and speed to Yen’s movements that you can’t help be in awe of every time he is on screen. Similarly, Bill Skarsgård terrifies as the Marquis Vincent de Gramont but not for his fighting ability. He prefers to keep his hands clean and makes others do his dirty work through his money and influence. Skarsgård is perfect in the role, capturing the slimy, duplicitous monster you would expect to be doing the High Table’s bidding. Rounding out the newcomers are Shamier Anderson as a mysterious Tracker who also has a dog of his own and always seems to be one step ahead of both John Wick and the Marquis, Hiroyuki Sanada as the manager of the Osaka Continental Hotel branch, and Rina Sawayama as his daughter. All bring their A game to the table along with their own unique talents. Of course there’s also the return of Ian McShane’s Winston, Laurence Fishburne as the Bowery King, and the late Lance Reddick as the concierge Charon. It’s devastating that Reddick is no longer with us. Like all his roles, he brings such nuance and character to Charon, and his passing leaves a gaping hole in the franchise that can’t be replaced.
John Wick: Chapter 4 is the franchise at its best. While I enjoyed Parabellum, I thought that the world building had become too big for itself with all the various trinkets and rules that were established in the film. It felt like thing after thing was being invented just to keep John Wick alive for another moment. While Chapter 4 continues to build the world of the High Table, it’s not as expansive and complicated as before. The new rules feel necessary and carry weight to them. At nearly three hours in length, there is a lot of film to cover but not a second feels wasted. Every frame is engaging. The characters, the fights, the locations; every element comes together in action-fueled harmony. Expectations were high, and the film clears the bar with absolute ease. John Wick: Chapter 4 is the perfect action film.
John Wick: Chapter 4 is hands down the best of the series. It’s nonstop thrills where every frame is a beautiful ballet of bullets and mayhem. What started out as revenge for a killed dog has morphed into story of identity. John Wick: Chapter 4 builds upon everything audiences loved about the previous films, delivering one of the best action films of all time.