A three hour action spectacular that gives us the first real reason to return to the theaters in 2023.
DIRECTED BY: CHAD STAHELSKI (2023)
While John Wick (2014) started off with a small premise of a former hitman re-entering his former way of life to avenge the death of the dog left to him as a gift from his late wife, each sequel in this franchise has further developed the vast underworld that exists in the John Wick cinematic universe. Each sequel has also allowed former stunt coordinator-turned-director, Chad Stahelski, to continue to find ways to take the action to new heights, while still keeping it all grounded and insanely watchable without all of the fast cuts and edits that tend to be seen in these types of action films. The first film also did such a great job of bonding the audience with its titular hero that more can be done to build the world that John Wick haunts as the de facto boogeyman to the world’s most deadly assassins.
When we last saw John Wick (Keanu Reeves), at the end of Chapter 3, he had just been shot at the top of the Continental Hotel in New York City, falling many stories to the street below, yet his body was gone when representatives of the ruling “High Table” came out to verify his death. Saved by the Bowery King, and Keanu Reeves’ The Matrix co-star, Laurence Fishburne, it seems that John Wick would live to fight another day, and have another opportunity to get his revenge. Enter John Wick: Chapter 4 which picks up immediately where Chapter 3 left off. By the end, you will have witnessed a nearly three hour action-packed stunt spectacular…but don’t leave the theater when the credits start rolling as this chapter has a post-credit scene to boot.
The bottom line: John Wick: Chapter 4 gives us the first real reason to return to the theaters in 2023. It is another globe trotting adventure traveling from New York to the Middle East/North Africa, Eastern Asia, and back to Europe. Along the way, Wick continues to raise the body count as he goes after the members of the High Table who have condemned him to death.
Returning for more action, and steering the audience through the vast labyrinth of how this shadowy assassins’ underworld operates is the Continental Hotel’s manager Winston (Ian McShane) and its loyal and unmovable rock of a concierge, Charon. Charon is played by the now-late Lance Reddick who sadly passed just this past week, and who is being mourned by the cast and crew as they are promoting the film before its debut this week. His presence, like in previous chapters of John Wick, looms large in this entry, and will be felt heavily in this latest chapter…even more so, given Reddick’s passing.
If there are any complaints (and honestly there are only minor quibbles) about this latest chapter, it would be that there are some repetitive sequences in the front half of the film that feel similar to other such sequences across the series. This is not to say that the action is anything but entertaining, but given its nearly three hour run-time, audiences may notice a little drag on the front end of the story. Once we hit the mid-point however, Stahelski and his crew take the action and run with it, achieving some remarkable action and fight sequences that are easily the best of the franchise. Apart from the original film, this chapter of John Wick may be the best entry of the series, and it is definitely the best sequel of the last three chapters.
Time will tell if Keanu Reeves will slip back into this career defining role again or not, but either way, John Wick: Chapter 4 is heading your way and brings its beautiful cacophony of violence, revenge, action, and mayhem to the silver screen. See this on the largest screen possible, with the best sound quality that you can find, and you will experience one of the best adrenaline-fueled action films to land in quite some time. Yes, there are more dogs, as well as great performances from series new comers such as Shamier Anderson, Rina Sawayama, Donnie Yen, and Bill Skarsgard.
John Wick: Chapter 4 is coming. All I can say is buckle up and enjoy the ride.
Note: To catch up on ZekeFilm reviews from the previous John Wick entries, click on these links:
John Wick: Chapter 2 (from Max on Movies)