Action Crime

Review: ‘John Wick: Chapter 4’ is a High Caliber Sequel that Defies the Law of Diminishing Returns

March 20, 2023Ben MK

Call it one of the most unlikely big screen blockbusters of the last decade, but when John Wick hit multiplexes nine years ago, no one could have predicted that the simple tale of one man's quest to avenge the death of his beloved dog would go on to spawn not one but two more sequels. Now, with the third followup ready to bring the franchise to its potential close, Keanu Reeves is once again donning his bespoke black Kevlar suit to take on any and all challengers. And with action legend Donnie Yen joining the fray, moviegoers can be sure that if this really is the end, the series is going out with a bang.

It's been four years since John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum, and when audiences last saw John (Reeves), the GOAT of assassins had been exiled from the global organized crime syndicate known as the High Table, a $10 million bounty was put on his head, and he was shot and left for dead after falling off the roof of New York City's Continental Hotel. Much to the High Table's surprise, however, John survived. And with some help from the Bowery King (Laurence Fishburne), he's poised to emerge from the shadows and take the fight directly to the High Table. Setting out to rid himself of the target on his back once and for all, John embarks on an all-or-nothing quest to secure his freedom. In order to do so, though, he'll have to go up against the High Table's Marquis de Gramont (Bill Skarsgård), a man who would like nothing better than to put a bullet between John's eyes.

Enlisting the services of one of John's formerly retired friends, a blind assassin named Caine (Yen), the Marquis sets into motion a plan to punish all those who have helped John along the way, from the Continental's manager, Winston (Ian McShane), and his concierge, Charon (Lance Reddick), to the manager of the Continental Osaka, Shimazu (Hiroyuki Sanada) and his daughter, Akira (Rina Sawayama). What the Marquis doesn't count on, however, is a highly skilled tracker calling himself Mr. Nobody (Shamier Anderson) and his loyal German Shepherd, who always seem to be several steps ahead of the High Table's best killers. Will Mr. Nobody prove to be an ally, or will the Marquis convince him to use his skills against John? And will Caine allow the Marquis to use his daughter's life as leverage to force him to kill his old friend, or will he and John find a way to team up, take on the High Table's henchmen together, and turn the tables on their common enemy?

What follows is a globetrotting epic that rivals even the James Bond films, taking viewers from the streets of New York City to the sand-blown deserts of Saudia Arabia, not to mention Osaka, Berlin and Paris, and stopping at each locale to deliver the most breathtaking and impeccably choreographed action sequences the franchise has ever seen. Whether it's a battle set amidst the non-stop traffic of the Arc de Triomphe or a penultimate showdown that takes place along the 222 steps leading up to the Sacré Cœur Basilica, there's no shortage of spectacular set pieces. And while that's not to say that John Wick: Chapter 4 isn't without its fair share of neon-lit gun battles set to thumping electronic beats, director Chad Stahelski and screenwriters Shay Hatten and Michael Finch smartly avoid franchise fatigue by not leaning too heavily on these more tried-and-true elements.

Throw in Scott Adkins playing a character seemingly modelled after The Batman's Penguin, plus another whose limited vocabulary evokes The Guardians of the Galaxy's Groot, and it's evident that Stahelski and company are committed to making this the most over-the-top John Wick installment ever. And though it remains to be seen whether Reeves will ever reprise the role for another main line franchise entry, one thing's for certain — with multiple spin-offs planned, audiences haven't seen the last of this cinematic universe.

John Wick: Chapter 4 releases March 24th, 2023 from Lionsgate Films. The film has an MPAA rating of R for pervasive strong violence and some language. Its runtime is 2 hrs. 49 min.

You May Also Like