John Wick: Chapter 4

John Wick: Chapter 4 ★★★★½

Somehow achieving its Herculean task, Chapter 4 of John Wick’s barbaric crusade sees the franchise culminating in one of the most glorious & ferocious manhunts, of all time.

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. And if it does need fixing, Chad Stahelski clearly hears the noise. Whereas the previous entries have had their fair share of issues in the writing and/or developmental corners, this one’s only issue is its own gluttony. Besides some warranted self-indulgency trimming, especially in moments where headshots should have been a given, this is, hands down, one of the best blockbusters of this decade. Not only does it manage to repair all the fragmented storytelling elements, but it also seamlessly progresses John’s global bloodlust into a true battle royale for freedom.

From the opening frame accompanied by a deafening IMAX boom, Baba Yaga is back. Likewise, all the returning actors continue their beloved characters’ streaks, alongside new members who all brought their A-game to the table. Unless Lionsgate doesn’t want money, Donnie Yen is guaranteed his own upcoming spin-off for his brilliant & grounded performance. Rina Sawayama dazzles in her debut, Bill Skarsgård kills it as the behind-the-scenes playboy, Shamier Anderson brings a vital right-hand man to life, and Scott Adkins with a MasterClass in mediation. I could keep going on, but EVERYONE exceeded my expectations.

I love the lore these films have built. It’s a well-integrated assassin’s world full of rules, consequences, and sophisticated rituals. Even though the core deals with John’s atonement, the mythos expands jointly with his odyssey. They didn’t have to do that, but in effect, they’ve fleshed out an intricate syndicate of ruthless hit men and women. Featuring crystal clean cinematography mixed with faultless angles, a momentum that doesn’t understand limits, a pulsating electronic score, and more one-word replies to open-ended questions. What else could you want from a John Wick sequel???

Oh, right, the action. Well, I’m still learning French, but this is the crème de la crème. No one is doing it like this in Hollywood right now. There are no poorly lit shots. There are no CGI monsters to punch air on set. It’s always been about the stuntmen, the choreography, and the crew’s ability to withstand linebacker levels of concussions. And once again, these people outdo themselves. Every single sequence is distinctly memorable, brimming with self-aware, awe-inspiring gratification that will have audiences shouting out of their seats.

An instant classic, begging to be viewed in the largest theater rooms out there. Whenever you think they can’t possibly top [insert jaw-dropping moment here], here comes John, bruised & battered, ready to show you how wrong you are.

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