After a brilliant first film and two energetic and bone-crunching sequels, ‘John Wick: Chapter 4’ now arrives in cinemas and offers up even more insane action, stupendous stunts and a cooler than cool Keanu commanding the big screen once again. After three action-packed films, you’d be forgiven for thinking that this franchise might be running out of ideas, but I’m elated to tell you that ‘John Wick: Chapter 4’ is perhaps the strongest film of the whole saga – a simply sensational action masterpiece that marries incredible visuals with jaw-dropping action to create one of the greatest Hollywood action films of all time.
John Wick may have found a way to topple the High Table, but first he’ll have to face off against a new adversary who has a wide plethora of assassins at their disposal. John must reacquaint himself with the past in order to make a challenge to the High Table, and potentially win him his freedom once and for all. Standing in his way is The Marquis (Bill Skarsgård), a man who will use every underhanded means at his disposal to make sure John Wick doesn’t survive.
Keanu Reeves continues to shine, and he is simply sensational here. The ageless leading man finds new ways to bring coolness and charisma to the role of John Wick and he truly excels in bringing the character to new heights of performance. ‘Chapter 4’ is a relentless study of action set-pieces that demands a lot from its star. Reeves delivers the carnage with panache and a level of professionalism that even makes the more fantastical elements of the onscreen combat seem completely believable. Keanu Reeves is an utter joy to watch, and a true action superstar at the top of his game.
It’s nice to see the series regulars back like Ian McShane as The Continental New York’s charismatic owner Winston, Lawrence Fishburne as underground kingpin the Bowery King, and Lance Reddick who sadly passed away recently. Reddick was a wonderful addition to this franchise and the world around ‘John Wick’ for almost a decade. In that time, his character Charon had become a firm fan favourite. He has a pivotal role to play in ‘John Wick: Chapter 4’, but we will see much more of him in the upcoming spin-off from the ‘Wick’ universe, titled ‘Ballerina’. That stars Ana De Armas, and timeline-wise takes place between the events of ‘John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum’ and ‘John Wick: Chapter 4’.
Elsewhere, this movie has perhaps the best ensemble of talent ever assembled for this franchise. Bill Skarsgård is outstanding as the main villain and brings a quiet threat and danger to the role that is a joy to watch. He also has a remarkable wardrobe throughout the film, and as a result I can now only eat pastries and cakes whilst wearing a snazzy red suit jacket. That scene left a delectable mark on me – even when he’s scary the man has style. Skarsgård brings all of his creepiness present in his brilliant portrayal of Pennywise in IT and refines it for a main villain that oozes genuine threat and danger at every given opportunity. It’s wonderful to see Hiroyuki Sanada pop up in any film, and his role as Shimazu is truly great. Screen legend Donnie Yen is magnetic as blind assassin Caine, tasked with tracking his old friend John Wick down or his daughter will fall foul of the High Table. Clancy Brown, Shamier Anderson, Rina Sawayama and Marko Zaror are all excellent additions too.
‘John Wick: Chapter 4’ is a real marker for incredible set-pieces and has an even broader scope that travels the world, and uses these locations to great effect to conjure up some jaw-dropping action canvases. An early fight that takes place at the Osaka Continental Hotel is just incredible, with a visual flourish that creates picture postcard moments that imprint onto the mind. As a franchise, not enough is said about just how gorgeously put-together these films are visually. ‘Chapter 4’ is a work of art, with practically every frame primed and ready to be freeze-framed and marvelled at. It’s also not afraid to take risks, and the sheer amount of inventive ways the filmmakers have used to capture the balletic violence is tremendous.
There’s an overhead-shot sequence (not dissimilar to an RPG game) that is exhilarating to watch and keeps the audience on the edge of their seats. A nightclub fight involving waterfalls is another visually delightful sequence, with British action star Scott Adkins stealing his scenes as a mob boss named Killa. And then there’s the finale. Paris is an iconic setting for the finale but after an almost 3-hour film full of action, it somehow manages to surpass itself on every level yet again. It involves some key landmarks from the French capital being used as a backdrop for some incredible car chases, knife fights and gun battles, along with a staircase sequence leading to The Sacré-Coeur that completely grips you from start to finish.
‘John Wick: Chapter 4’ is one of the greatest action movies Hollywood has ever made. A brutal ballad of ballistic bloodshed, that completely captivates its audience and leaves you with your jaw firmly on the ground and awe-filled eyes. Easily the best ‘Wick’ since the first film, franchise director Chad Stahelski has done a remarkable job in making ‘John Wick: Chapter 4’ such an incredible success. Run – don’t walk – to your local cinema and catch this on the biggest screen you can (ideally IMAX) to get the full effect from this wonderful action masterpiece. ‘John Wick: Chapter 4’ is simply unmissable.
Cast: Keanu Reeves, Ian McShane, Lance Reddick, Bill Skarsgård, Donnie Yen, Lawrence Fishburne, Hiroyuki Sanada, Scott Adkins, Clancy Brown, Shamier Anderson, Rina Sawayama, Marko Zaror, George Georgiou Director: Chad Stahelski Writer: Shay Hatten, Michael Finch, Derek Kolstad Certificate: 15 Duration: 169 mins Released by: Lionsgate Release date: 24th March 2023