John Wick: Chapter 4

John Wick: Chapter 4 ★★★★★

Doubling down on the thrills and high-octane action of the previous entries but building the world in a much more grandiose manner, John Wick: Chapter 4 is an absolute triumph of an action film for the ages that is far and above the best entry the series has delivered yet. Right off the bat much has been said about the action throughout this entire franchise and for good reason with how consistently pulse-pounding and generally impressive so much of it is. Especially taken into account when one knows Reeves and most of his cast mates alike are doing all of these stunts themselves. But here it is truly taken to a level one couldn’t have possibly imagined when watching the first film. This is really one of those films where every single sequence is such a huge adrenaline rush and has you absolutely white-knuckled with tension throughout it leaves you in just absolute awe. What’s also so impressive is despite so much of this film being centered around these big action set pieces they never once feel similar thanks to some great use of location as well as some really interesting and breathtaking camera angles (one tracking shot especially that is just out of this world) that keeps it consistently exciting and impossible to look away from. There are a plethora of well-constructed sequences here but the last 30-40 minutes in particular are absolutely insane and just keep escalating with tension throughout in a way where I was generally unsure of if Wick would make out of it which made it all the more exciting. It very well may just be some of the best action ever put to a screen that I sincerely think will be hard to replicate for a long time.

As I said before though the stunt work here is also outstanding and I truly don’t understand how they were able to accomplish it, especially with the lengths Reeves has to go here. It’s been said for a long time that stunt work needs to be recognized within awards but I can’t think of a better film that is an endorsement of that than this and with how universal that consensus seems to be I wouldn’t be surprised if we hopefully hear the academy finally implementing that category and give that love to the performers that have gone unnoticed for years to come because truly it is unreal what they are all able to accomplish here and it’s among some of the best I’ve ever seen. It truly is able to take this franchise to new heights in a way that seemed unimaginable. Chad Stahelski’s directing also can’t go unnoticed here. It’s insane to me his only directional credits are from this franchise but I’m really hoping with what he’s able to craft here he can finally take on some other projects. He’s already established himself as a talent to watch out for but here I think it’s pretty safe he is one of the best out there to construct action and I hope continues to be regarded as such in the years to come.

I have to say though I think easily what elevated this besides the action is the screenplay which is nothing short of brilliant. While the previous entries always did a great job of keeping me on the edge of my seat throughout and did continually build the world of the Continental throughout each passing entry this one really takes to a whole other level. For the first time while we are still focused on John Wick and really get to explore his emotional depth throughout the series (Keanu Reeves also giving likely his best performance to date as he gets to really showcase layers of this character that we’ve only hinted at before), the film also finds a way to get us just as if not more invested in the ensemble going up against Wick throughout. Every character here is given some kind of reasoning for why they are taking the path that they are and it made for a far more gratifying experience as we care just as much about their survival in this fight as we do Wicks. Some of them like Shamier Anderson’s character of Mr. Nobody or Rina Sawayama’s (who gives one of the finest breakthrough performances you’ll see all year from an artist turned actor) Akira are so well written here they are begging for possible spin-offs in the future. But this is especially the case for the character of Caine who is truly unlike any other assassin we have seen go up against our titular hero in the past. Donnie Yen’s performance alone is phenomenal and proves why he’s one of the best to ever do it when it comes to hand-to-hand combat. But there is a considerable amount of depth and care put into this character that makes us genuinely root for him as we see someone who genuinely doesn’t really want to fight Wick but is forced into due to the high table that has taken everything he loves from him. It’s truly a magnificent performance but it’s also such a well-written character that I generally found myself caring for just as much but also finding to holding his own against Reeves from both an emotional and badass level so many times throughout.

Even from a villain's perspective, these are by far the best we’ve ever had. Bill Skarsgard is one of the most charismatic actors out there and here is every bit as conniving and manipulative as you would hope in the Marquis but he is also given a lot more to work with as we get to see someone who is so deeply entrenched in power he seems genuinely unstoppable knowing what he’s capable of. Scott Adkins also is such a memorable presence here with a physicality you won’t be forgetting about for a long time. As I said the entire ensemble is truly phenomenal but it’s the depth that’s given to them that really surprised me. The film also surprisingly actually goes into some very emotional directions as we really get to explore how much so many of these characters have been forced into this lifestyle and it makes for a far more gratifying watch (even Winston feels a lot more developed here and as such Ian McShane gives his best performance to date). and thanks to a nearly 3-hour runtime we are really able to explore these characters to their fullest and their hopes and desires which really just makes this feel so much more effective and satisfying overall.

With a phenomenal score and an ending that is nothing short of masterful this is just the kind of high point you always expect to see in action franchises and yet also feels like such a rarity to watch a film this far in remembering what it does best but also add so much more. It’s the kind of film that is always doing so much it leaves you at an absolute loss for words by the time it’s over. It’s nothing short of a true action masterpiece that hopefully will go down for the ages as one of the best of all time.I know some people may be over this series and how repetitive and ridiculous it can get but this truly delivered the goods in such a bigger way than I ever could’ve imagined and by far is the best film I have seen so far this year. Cannot praise this enough and very much do also recommend seeing it with a packed house as it makes for easily one of the most exhilarating and satisfying experiences you will have to date! Absolutely blown away by this one! 
Grade: A+

Block or Report

Kevin liked these reviews