A Review of John Wick: Chapter 4

Brilliantly Awesome

An exhilarating action epic that takes the franchise to new heights, John Wick 4 is both emotionally raw and ludicrously entertaining.

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John Wick: Chapter 4 opens with a bold statement – a match cut that is a direct homage to David Lean’s Lawrence of Arabia. This is an incredibly massive mission statement, and not every film can easily get away with a reference to one of cinema’s undisputed classics, but Chad Stahelski, somehow, gets away with this massive power-play. It’s early in the year, but I think the blockbuster of 2023 has already arrived, and I, honestly, think this is one of the best action films of the decade – only Fury Road can really compete, and even then I think John Wick 4 comes near to topping it.

Source: People Magazine

Although the film is nearly 3 hours long, the film breezes by. The world of John Wick, inhabited by assassins and bounty hunters and martial artists, has never been more dangerous, and the cinematography is gorgeous, capturing places like Osaka and Paris like you’ve never seen them before. You’ll certainly never see the Arc de Triomphe in the same way ever again. It’s quite hard to describe the insane action scenes other than “see it for yourself”, but these aren’t just quick one-and-done fights, they’re mini-films in their own right. The stunt work is incredible, and if a new Oscar category isn’t created to honour the stunt team, then we really should just forget about the Oscars entirely. The action has a wide variety of inspirations: from Bruce Lee to John Woo and video games, along with Keanu Reeves’ past work in The Matrix, but all of it feels organically put together and styled specifically for John Wick. This franchise is the master of embracing the total ridiculousness of martial arts and action films whilst taking them totally seriously, and it’s all down to the respect that Stahelski, Reeves and the entire crew have for them.

Whilst it’s easy to focus on the action, what makes John Wick 4 the best film since the first, and also a legitimately great film in its own right, is the story and themes at the core. This is not a franchise for deep introspection or provocative emotional depth – it’s Keanu Reeves fighting assassins – Chapter 4 gives its main character a really moving and powerful arc of consequence, with the events of the previous films catching up to him and Wick finally deciding to stop running and deal with his past and confront the Table. He has realised that the only way to end the violence is to embrace his past and face his future at the same time. It’s great, subtle character work. John Wick is also a franchise that frequently allows supporting characters to shine through alongside Reeves, and John Wick 4 presents several great new characters, chiefly Donnie Yen’s blind ex-assassin, Caine. I am not joking when I say he deserves to get an Oscar nomination, if not win, for this role. Caine is the perfect foil for Wick, doing what he does for family and honour but with the deepest respect for Wick and an upmost professionalism and respect for the rules. His fight scenes are awesome and his dramatic physical performance is also incredible. Nominating him would be a fantastic step in the right direction for acknowledging action films.

Source: Geek Tyrant

In a month full of high profile releases, John Wick Chapter 4 stands out for its sheer ambition and scope. I really like how the “epic” film has returned recently with franchise films like this, No Time to Die and Wakanda Forever being huge conclusions/continuations of established IPs where the characterisation and themes are just as grandiose as the locations and action. All three are great, but Chapter 4 is my personal favourite, and my favourite film release of the year so far. It’s action cinema like you’ve never seen before, where the spectacle and fight scenes run in perfect tandem to a really well-told character-driven story. You feel exhausted by the film’s end, but not in a bad way, as you’ve essentially been following Wick the whole time and feeling everything he feels. The score deserves massive praise, too, with awesome needle drops and an OST by Tyler Bates that employs everything from electric guitars to synths and an orchestra. It adds to the style perfectly.

Although it’s a long trip to the cinema, it’s definitely worth seeing on the big screen. Even if you’re not the biggest John Wick fan, I think there’s enough here for people to really like as it’s a bit more character driven than the last two, and has fantastic isolated moments that aren’t action films. There probably won’t be an action film like this for a long time, until maybe the next John Wick, although I personally think this is a strong end to the main franchise for now.


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