John Wick: Chapter 4 Review: Action Fatigue.

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.

Despite the film having some truly fantastic moments and characters, there are specific issues that hold it back, for me.

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. 

Caine in particular is stellar, with Donny Yen presenting excellent dramatic weight, comedic timing and, of course, stunt work.

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. 

This action scene alone makes John Wick: Chapter 4 worth seeing in the theatre.

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. 

Even the line, “I’m going to need a gun” sounds wrong coming out of Reeves mouth.

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.

This Japan fight seemed to go on forever. It was fun to watch when the first few goons attacked John but got extremely tiring by the third or fourth wave of them.

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.  

John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum Review. Third Non-Stop Adrenaline Ride.

4 stars
I watched the first two John Wick films the week before I went to see the third installment, Parabellum, and found them both to be non-stop adrenaline rides.
This is thankfully continued in the latest film, once again directed by Chad Stahelski and starring Keanu Reeves as the titular John Wick.
Picking up right from where Chapter Two left off, Parabellum sees Wick attempting to flee New York after being excommunicadoed from the Continental, and receiving a massive bounty on his head.
What follows is gripping action sequence after gripping action sequence that left everyone in the audience on the edge of their seats.
With so much of this it would have been very easy for it to become repetitive and redundant but, just as you begin to get tired of the relentless action, a new gimmick is thrown in to keep you engaged.

Every action scene in this film adds something new, creating a fresh experience in every bout of action.

Such was evident with the audience I was viewing the film with, which was a very interactive crowd.
There were many gasps and cheers at how vicious and violently exciting the action was.
On top of this, there are many human moments as well with Parabellum going deeper into Wick’s backstory than either of the previous films.
It makes me wonder how they will continue to expand on him in the next film.
The acting is also good with Reeves, Halle Berry, Ian McShane and Lance Reddick doing great jobs.
However, the film does have its flaws, which keep it from being perfect.
There are a few eye rolling moments where Wick’s opponents deliberately leave him alive for no reason.
Then there is this pivotal scene where Wick is in a desert that feels kind of pointless in the grand scheme of the film.

Desert journey.jpg
John Wick’s journey of self discovery in the desert feels pointless by the film’s conclusion because of how quickly it is reversed.

Finally, there is the final few minutes of the film, which had something that completely broke my suspension of disbelief and drew me out of the ending.
Still, despite these flaws, I found John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum to be an exciting thrill wide that every action junkie will enjoy.
Be sure to check it out.