Ryan Conde’s review published on Letterboxd:
I have not been so tired yet so fucking enthusiastic after watching a movie. I am not kidding when I say that John Wick: Chapter 4 is one of the best action movies ever made. Is it the best of the four John Wick movies? Hell yeah it is! I literally have nothing but amazing things to say about this movie. There was only one little nitpick that I had with it, but other than that, everything else was just phenomenal. To start off, I guess I'll say that this movie not only manages to up the stakes from Chapter 3, but also ups the violence, the cool one-liners, the insane stunts, the amazing set-pieces, and the phenomenal fight/action choreography. I cannot stress enough that the action in John Wick: Chapter Four is perfect. Between the beautiful choreography, the fantastic filmmaking, the amazing set-pieces, all of the different locations that we go to, and the way that they are paced, these might just be some of the best action scenes I've seen in any movie. Also, some of them go on for quite a long time and thankfully they never feel too long. In fact, it's quite rewarding to have some of these action scenes go on for probably more than 40 minutes. The whole film has John Wick killing more people than he ever has before and the ways that he kills in this film are just insane. Let's just say that he is using way more than a pistol and it's fucking glorious to watch. It's bloody, violent, intense, and brutal as hell, but that's just what makes these movies so entertaining to watch. Outside of the action, the movie delivers on so many more aspects. The story itself kept my attention the whole way through, the cinematography is absolutely gorgeous, the musical score/soundtrack is fucking awesome, and the directing from Chad Stahelski is amazing. Not only is his directing extremely confident, but he still brings such a unique and kinetic visual style to the film and its action scenes that was also present in the other three John Wick movies. This just makes me more excited for his future adaptation of Ghost of Tsushima. Anyway, Chapter 4 might just have the best use of humor in a John Wick film. I truly do mean it when I say that this movie is freaking hilarious. I would not call this movie a comedy, but there are plenty of genuine laughs to be had and whether that was from some amazing one-liners, a lot of crowd-pleasing moments, actors that were clearly having the time of their life being here, or just the ways that John Wick is killing all of these assassins and hitmen, it doesn't change the fact that this movie is funny as hell and in a good way. Moving on, the film's pacing is great. Despite a near 170-minute running time, the film does mostly earn its long length and considering how entertaining the movie is from the very first scene, it's not all that much of an issue. The movie also offers characters that are all interesting and memorable rather if they are returning faces or completely new characters. You could also thank the performances for why these characters are so good but I'll get more into that later. On top of all of this, Chapter 4 also offers some surprisingly strong dramatic moments. In all of this action and insane stunts/set-pieces, the movie does know when to calm down and take a few minutes to breathe and it often leads to some great moments of tension where there is no big action scene going on or just some moments of drama that work because of how much you understand the characters and their motivations for why they are doing what they are doing. Lastly, there are the performances. Everyone here is at their absolute A-game. Keanu Reeves continues to do what he does best as John Wick and the returning faces of Ian McShane, Laurence Fishburne, and the late Lance Reddick (May he forever rest in peace.) are great, but the true standouts of this movie are the new additions to the cast. Donnie Yen is phenomenal as Caine who is also a complete badass and has a solid motivation for doing what he does, Bill Skarsgård makes for a great and intimidating villain, Scott Adkins is having so much fun in his role as the head of the German Table that it passes along to the audience, and the rest of the new cast members are stellar. Hiroyuki Sanada provides a fantastic supporting performance as does Shamier Anderson as Mr. Nobody with his amazing dog, and despite not having that much to do with the main plot, many of the other actors like Clancy Brown, Rina Sawayama, Natalia Tena, and Marko Zaror provide excellent support in their respective roles. All in all, everybody is absolutely fantastic in this movie and they all bring so much charisma and depth to their characters. Now let me get my one little nitpick with this movie out of the way. While I did say that the movie does earn its nearly 170-minute running time, there was a point in the last third where I was starting to feel the length. Yes, I fucking love the ending to this movie and it contains probably one of the funniest/best action scenes ever put to film, but because it goes on for probably more than 40 minutes, it's impossible to not feel the length at a certain point. However, that's literally the only thing I have to complain about with the whole movie. Outside of that, everything else is pretty much amazing and I cannot stress that enough. Overall, John Wick: Chapter Four is the definition of a live-action video game. It may not be realistic and it does have the structure of a video game especially with the constant move from one location to another, but it is so fun, so entertaining, so funny, so action-packed, so bad-ass, so visually impressive, and so good that you don't care. In the end, you're left with what is one of the best action movies of the modern era and just one of the best in the entire action movie genre that can even rival stuff like Terminator 2: Judgement Day or Speed. Even most of the MCU can't compare to how good the action is in this movie and those are superhero movies, but I digress. Anyway, if you are a fan of the John Wick movies, then go and see this movie on the big screen as soon as you can. It's completely worth watching in the theater and seeing it on the biggest screen that you possibly can. I should also mention that I saw this movie in IMAX and it was quite awesome. Probably a little too loud but it still elevates the experience to become so much more engaging and the movie to be even more grander in scope and scale. We'll see if anything else later down the line this year can top this, but as of right now, John Wick: Chapter Four is the best film of 2023 so far. Never did I think a sentence like this would be said, but here we are, and I'm all the more happy and surprised because of it.