This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Ben ❄️’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
“Have you given any thought to where this ends?”
John Wick Chapter 4. I can imagine when the first movie released that very few people thought that THREE sequels would soon follow, let alone that those sequels would remain so strong and consistent in quality. But, my god, the John Wick franchise is as strong as ever. I honestly thought this latest instalment was, for the most part, a blast. The cinematography is gorgeous, the performances are over-the-top, the action is killer, the choreography is insane and the stunt work is…well, it’s, unsurprisingly for this franchise, absolutely f**king unreal and also absolute proof that the Academy needs to, sooner rather than later, create a category solely for stuntwork and those risking their lives for it! There’s whole sequences in this movie that had me in a state of utter delight. The ‘Hotline Miami’ bird’s eye sequence, the absolutely bonkers and divinely comedic stairway climb to Sacré-Cœur, the batshit crazy ‘Marie Douceur - Marie Colère’ sequence, followed by some the most magnificent car stunt work ever committed to screen in the modern cinematic age, and of course, how can I ever forget the ‘Nowhere To Run’ sequence, AKA one of the best cinematic tributes to the late-seventies classic, The Warriors, in film history? Seeing that mouth close-up in front of that microphone, I knew what was coming…then it came…and it was at that point when I realised why the John Wick franchise surpasses all of the other action flicks coming out today. Take Bullet Train for an example. That felt HEAVILY like a studio shoving a bunch of stars, eye-rolling Marvel-esque humour and dull story points into a movie for the sake of financial gain. But John Wick as a franchise, and especially John Wick: Chapter 4, it feels like the total opposite. The humour and action are perfectly balanced, the world-building is simply unreal, I could go on. But the biggest thing I felt, John Wick: Chapter 4 feels like it was made by someone who loves movies. Not just loves them, but LOVES them, and that’s wonderful. Now, I don’t think this film is a ten-out-of-ten masterpiece. If we’re solely looking at the second half of the film, then I’d agree with everyone and say it’s an action masterpiece. But, unfortunately, this film has a long drag of a first half which, quite simply, never had me hooked. Knowing that they were initially supposed to film John Wick Chapter 4 and Chapter 5 back to back, before COVID hit, the first half feeling somewhat lacklustre makes a lot of sense. To me, it’s clear that they combined the two movies into a single one, hence the film’s slightly excessive runtime and bloated first half. But although the first half of the film dragged a surprising amount, the second half is where I began to understand the hype, watching as the film slowly unraveled into perfect insanity, hilarity and chaos, hitting it’s absolutely unholy f**king stride and then some! John Wick Chapter 4, though flawed, is an action-packed blast, a stuntwork lover’s dream and an overall well-executed conclusion to the character of John Wick’s story. Although, knowing how Hollywood is, the fear of them cooking up some way to tarnish this fitting end is a painfully real one. As perfect an ending as a franchise such as this one could get. A fun, totally absurd, intense, ridiculous, brilliant, wild, slapsticky riot! A total blast at the movies!
Dedicated To Lance Reddick.