John Wick has been the highlight action franchise of the past ten years.
The first film, released in 2014, was surprisingly good and revitalized Keanu Reeves’ career.
The franchise has been going strong since then, with each sequel being a solid addition.
Well, four years since Chapter Three, Parabellum, released, we finally have John Wick: Chapter 4.
The movie has received plenty of praise from critics and fans alike, with many calling in the best in the franchise, although I do not think I would go quite that far.
Chapter 4 once again follows Reeves as the titular John Wick who, after somehow surviving falling from the top of the Continental in the previous movie, goes to war with the High Table with the help of the Bowery King (Laurence Fishburn).
As for Winston (Ian McShane) and Charon (Lance Reddik, may he rest in peace), they are also suffering from the fallout of Parabellum, as they are left at the mercy of the Marquis, Vicent de Garmont (Bill Skarsgård).
Desperate to hunt down and kill John, the Marquis enlists the help of the blind assassin Caine (Donny Yen) and a hunter who goes by Mr Nobody (Shamier Anderson), while Winston advises John to challenge the Marquis to single combat to earn his freedom.
The characters and world building of John Wick continue to be strong in this fourth installment, with John having the best narrative arc since probably the first movie, and Caine and Mr Nobody being fantastic characters who I would be excited to see more of.
As for the action, it is, as expected of a John Wick movie, absolutely incredible, just like it was in the past three films.
Once again directed by Chad Stahlenski, the action of John Wick: Chapter 4 is undoubtedly some of the best in the entire franchise.
The stuntwork, the cinematography, the editing; all of these are glorious and combine to create truly terrific action.
This culminates in one action set piece in the third act that takes place entirely in an overhead shot, which I would argue is the best action scene of the decade.
It reminded me a lot of a video game, which also makes me really want a John Wick video game, now that I think about it.
All of these fantastic features should have made Chapter 4 the best installment in the John Wick franchise, however, there are unfortunately a few things which hold it back.
One of these things is Keanu Reeves himself.
As I said, I loved the arc his character went through but Reeves performance in this film is probably the weakest in the entire franchise, with even simple sentences sounding wrong, which is a bad thing since simple sentences is all John Wick speaks in this movie.
Along with this, Chapter 4 doubles down on many of the things that broke my immersion in previous installments.
John is still surviving downright impossible falls and civilians still do not react to people being murdered right in front of them.
Also, the more I think about what happens in this movie, the less relevant the events of Parabellum seem, since conflicts that were set up in that movie don’t really amount to much here.
But by far the biggest issue I had with John Wick: Chapter 4 is the action itself.
This may sound like a contradiction because I was heaping praise on the action earlier.
As I said previously, the action is spectacular, with great cinematography, stuntwork, etc.
My problem is that we got too much of a good thing.
The action scenes in this movie go on and on and on and on, to the point that I began to grow bored with it all, despite how well made it was.
I can only see so many people get shot or stabbed in the face before it becomes tiring, as psychopathic as that probably sounds.
I actually remember checking my watch a few times to see just how long the action had been going.
So the issue was not the action itself but that it often went on for so long at certain points that I began to feel fatigued by it all.
I never thought that a movie could make me bored with constant action, yet John Wick: Chapter 4 somehow achieved this.
Despite these issues, though, I would still recommend the film.
The action, although sometimes overly long, is stellar, the characters are all compelling, the film is definitely the funniest in the franchise, and the ending is incredibly satisfying.
John Wick: Chapter 4 is definitely better than Parabellum, however, I am not sure where I would place it afterwards.
My opinion of this movie’s ranking may depend on what happens in the future of this franchise.
If future installements honor Chapter 4’s ending then it should be high up but if they do not then it will probably be on the lower end.