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.
Ever since John Wick offered a fresh and influential voice to the action movie landscape, the sequels have been attempting to top the scale, world-building, and insanity of the action from before. To say John Wick: Chapter 4 delivers on the promise of being the largest and most outrageous in the franchise would be an understatement. The fights are the longest, most intricately choreographed and most beautifully shot this series has been, and Keanu Reeves and the stunt team give mind-blowing work. Though for some, the movie’s obsession with topping itself may result in caricature, but it’s everything that fans of this franchise have signed up and waited for through 4 films, and then some. In addition to Reeves’ incredible commitment, Donnie Yen is one of the best characters this franchise has seen, bringing his martial-arts reputation to the series, not to mention Shamier Anderson, who’s incredibly an entertaining and likable character, as well as the excellent Hiroyuki Sanada who has great scenes with Keanu. Fans of the franchise already know to expect Ian McShane and Laurence Fishburne, not to mention this is one of the last appearances of the late Lance Reddick who was always a gem as the Continental concierge Charon. Bill Skarsgard’s character is intentionally hatable, but occasionally gets too much on the audience’s nerves to even be a fun villain.
Though these films are known way less for story beats and more for the “gun fu”, Chapter 4 culminates the titular character’s arc from the four films with more going on with him than in the last film, though the second act is 10 or so minutes too long, particularly a scene with Scott Adkins and the buildup to it. Set pieces from a Continental Hotel in Osaka to the Arc de Triomphe in Paris are nail-biting and stunning to watch, though the soundtrack is frustratingly repetitive and maybe too aggressive during the action — perhaps less dubstep would’ve been just fine — which I didn’t find to be an issue in the previous films. However, this is still a big-screen treat and an iconic action franchise coming to a grand, thrilling, and satisfying conclusion, rewarding viewers who have been tuning in through John’s creative kills and all the rules of the hitman underground world.