Synopsis: John Wick uncovers a path to defeating The High Table. But before he can earn his freedom, Wick must face off against a new enemy with powerful alliances across the globe and forces that turn old friends into foes.
Director: Chad Stahelski
Stars: Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Lance Reddick, Ian McShane, Donnie Yen
Keanu Reeves has an amazing career. On top of being regarded as one of the friendliest celebrities, his filmography covers a wide range of roles. He’s been in comedies like Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, dramas like A Walk in the Clouds, The Matrix series, and thrillers like Knock Knock, to name a few.
Then came John Wick—the story of an ex-hitman coming out of retirement to avenge people who wronged him. The films have an audience, and each of the previous three installments has been very successful at the box office.
Each film is also a continuation of the previous one. So before venturing into Chapter 4, the first three should be crossed off your viewing list.
In the film, John Wick is preparing to attack the High Table. Meanwhile, a senior member of the High Table, the Marquis Vincent de Gramont (Bill Skarsgard), wants John Wick dead. He doesn’t like what Wick represents and wants to make an example of him.
To show he isn’t messing around, the Marquis has the New York Continental (the hotel where the assassins stay) destroyed and evicts its manager Winston, played by Ian McShane.
Wick and the Marquis are on a collision course, but there are a few, well, many assassins standing between them.
One aspect of this series that is so enchanting is how polite it all is. Polite assassins? Well, kind of. First, they abide by a code of rules that can’t be disobeyed. For example, You don’t perform business on Continental grounds. You have the distinguished Ian McShane, who refers to our protagonist as ‘Jonathan.’ It’s like when my brother went through a phase of wanting to be called Christopher . . . ok, Chris!
The action sequences in this film are choreographed extremely well. A previous John Wick film included scenes that, at times, weren’t as strongly maneuvered, but not here. This doesn’t look like it was an easy shoot, and the result is some of the best action scenes that the screen has seen in a long time that demand viewing in a theatre.
There is also an impressive supporting cast. Donnie Yen, who many will recall as the main star from the Ip Man series, joins as an assassin who is blackmailed into tracking down and killing John Wick.
Canadian Shamier Anderson stars as another assassin who is carefully monitoring the whereabouts of Mr. Wick. Is he a friend or a foe?
Laurence Fishburne reprises his role as the Bowery King, an individual who lives on the streets but has amassed a vast network of assassins.
The film is also beautifully shot. The film takes us to wonderful locations, and they are captured beautifully, but it’s also the shots of John Wick walking, and how cinematographer Dan Lausten captures them.
And if you have had your fill of John Wick, that’s quite unfortunate, as multiple spin-offs are in the works.
At just under three hours, this film doesn’t drag. It’s an intense action thriller that is incredibly enjoyable.
Keanu Reeves continues to impress with many notable roles, but his performance in this series is next level. Many were awed by The Matrix films, but respectfully, that was always more of a shout-out to the technology and the unique filmmaking style the Wachowskis brought to the screen. It’s how Reeves portrays Wick that makes this series stand out. His deadpanned ‘Yeah’ has become somewhat iconic in this franchise. Reeves deserves a lot of credit for his fight sequences and martial arts training to make them look great. We must respect the stunt doubles, but Reeves is also doing a lot, and it shows.
It is rare to get to a fourth installment in a franchise and have the films still be so compelling, but here we are. John Wick: Chapter 4 is an incredible action movie from beginning to end.