We are here to discuss one of, if not the best, action franchises in the past decade. Back for the 4th entry, we’re talking about John Wick Chapter 4. Now the question is, is this not only possibly the best film in the franchise, but this 4th chapter might be the greatest action film of all time? We’ll be discussing that in much more in this John Wick Chapter 4 Review.
Let’s talk about the action, the characters, and the story; what were some of your favorite standout moments while watching this movie, and how would you all rank this fourth chapter amongst the others?
So personally, I own all these films. I’m a big fan of John Wick, the character, in these movies, and of Keanu Reeves. And even with that being said, I’m still to this day shocked how they’ve managed to branch off and make some of the best action movies all from a simple story of a retired assassin who’s grieving the loss of his wife and his puppy as he goes on his rampage mission and take out the man responsible.
And then to learn about this underground world filled with assassins and the high table, all leading to this John Wick Chapter 4. Who would have known that we were made to this point 10 years ago? I didn’t know that, but here we are talking about it.
John Wick Chapter 4 Review
In this John Wick Chapter 4, I wanna first talk about the man that directed all four of these films, Chad Stahelski. He should be so proud of what he and his team have accomplished to do.
Looking at the action genre, which I’m a fan of, besides the obvious comic book movies and, of course, the amazing Mission Impossible franchise, and even throwing in the Fast and the Furious franchise, the action genre doesn’t really have a consistent set of films that deliver this high quality of energy, this high level of production and quality of action like the John Wick Films have done.
I’m telling you all right now John Wick Chapter 4 has some of the best action you’ve probably seen since the last John Wick film. As we open into this movie, Chad makes you feel the literal sense of vengeance and the revenge behind the fists of John Wick after the events of the last one. And from there, they hit the ground running, and they never let their foot off the gas.
Now before we get into these amazing action sequences, I really appreciate the work that has gone into continuing to build out this world of assassins and the rules they follow. Seeing this story of the old ways mixed in with our new villain taking John Wick to the deserts, taking him to Osaka, to New York City, to Berlin, to Paris, and seeing all the beautiful cinematography and having a distinct and different feel to each location made me enjoy the experience that much more.
Now while I’ve personally enjoyed the supporting cast, they put around John Wick and the previous chapters. This film’s supporting cast to me, was the best-supporting cast that we got in the franchise. At the same time, we have a bit of an over the top at times villain in Bill Skarsgard. I thought that him as this powerful member of the high table and him kind of going against John Wick was a really fascinating character.
Now I love Hiroyuki Sanada and his daughter, who was played by Rina Sawayama. And also, Shamier Anderson, who has this killer dog, definitely surprised me and has a lot to do with this story. But also, I want to talk about the OG of the franchise. Of course, I’m talking about Winston, Charon, and of course, Bowery King, and they’re always a lot of fun.
Speaking of OG, let’s talk about Keanu. Some people will forever think of him as his defining role as Neo in the Matrix franchise, but to me, after honestly the third John Wick film, but definitely in this fourth one, him portraying this character for the fourth time to me, he submitted himself as easily one of the greatest action movie characters and actors within the action genre of all time.
This franchise just plays to his strengths so perfectly, and Keanu commits to the role 100%. This, I know, doesn’t come with the light dialogue. But it’s how Keanu as John Wick speaks and when he decides to speak that matters. And the physical aspect that he throws into this role and throws himself to his character in these amazing action sequences is truly something that I admire. As his vengeance defined and kill the high table provides some of the best scenes and the emotional beats that I wasn’t expecting.
And Speaking of not expecting, I knew Donnie Yen, who I’ve been a fan of since I was a kid, seeing him in Iron Monkey, and of course, his IP Man, I knew he was gonna be a badass in this film. But I didn’t know that he was gonna steal every single frame the man was in. My goodness, his character fits so perfectly in his narrative. His character has this unique element about him that I won’t tell you all about, which makes his action moments so much more impressive.
Now, while it’s a trope we’ve seen before on his motives, and we’ll put Donnie in his story, I still appreciate the nuance and this character’s situation from being presented because it ties into the central theme of this film, which is family.
But the last thing I wanna talk about is, of course, that action because that’s what we come to see these films for, right? And speaking of the incredible action, let’s talk about it here. It’s not how big this action is from the previous film. It’s not how amazing it looks from the previous movies. It’s how much attention to detail is put into making it feel grounded and unique, and so epic in every way.
Each set piece builds off the previous one and still fits within the story of John Wick overcoming his opponents and getting to his ultimate goal. From seeing chase sequences from the amazing choreographed hand-to-hand fights to the gunfight, the action is nothing short of breathtaking. Especially when I was able to see it and watch it and listen to it in the IMAX, I was blown away.
Now, no spoilers, of course, but man, some of my favorite sequences were some of the scenes that took place in Osaka. And listen to me when I say what happens in Paris in the last 45 minutes of this film is easily some of the best acting sequences that I have personally ever seen in my entire life. I’m not kidding when I say this.
There is just one shot sequence that has this overhead view of Wick having this very dangerous and deadly gun; that scene is absolutely fantastic. And then there’s a scene towards the back half of the film that takes place on a set of stairs. And that set piece was just ridiculous.
And I can’t finish off my prose without mentioning how much I really appreciate seeing the level of offense approach that we see from John Wick this time around versus this sometimes feeling like he’s on the defense a lot. So I really appreciate that. And also, I love the nods to the samurai culture and the Western style throughout the various parts of the film, which was just so great to see.
The Cons In John Wick Chapter 4
But this film isn’t perfect. Now, not making excuses, but if you’re a fan of these films, you already know you have to suspend your level of disbelief and shut off that logical part of your brain during scenes where you see John Wick being shot at or falling from a building or getting hit by several cars moving at a very fast pace.
But there are levels to which sometimes you question the believability of what’s going on with the character. And yeah, again, I’m very aware of what I’m getting into. But again, it didn’t take away from my overall experience. It’s just that sometimes you just like, “how does he survive?”
How is he able to do certain things?” But really, getting to some of my criticisms here.
Now listen, after four films, there are only so many different ways you can watch your man like John Wick kill a person. So I will admit, for me, there’s a sense of repetitiveness within the action beats within the gunfight that we’ve seen not only in this film that you feel like, “oh, didn’t he do that before”, but as a collective. You’ve seen certain moves. So I’m gonna take off a couple of points as far as originality goes. Because there are some very familiar beats within this movie.
But going into something else that I wanted to talk about in my criticisms. Now didn’t mention it earlier, but Scott Adkins, who I am a big fan of, he’s a great actor, a stunt performer, and a martial artist. He’s really great. I’m a fan of his. But I wasn’t a fan of him in this film because he’s kind of dressed up in his fat suit. He just kinda wanna be Penguin with a Russian accent, and the whole scene, was beautiful to look at, but that was probably my least favorite action scene within this film.
But my biggest issue with this movie boils down to this movie having a runtime of two hours and 49 minutes. Now I know, and I’ve heard some people say they didn’t feel that 2 hours and 49 minutes, almost 3-hour film. But for me, I definitely felt that it was a long ass movie.
Now without saying which scenes, I personally felt that there were moments that could have been cut out. There were some things that could have been sped up. Like watching a character walking down a hallway that felt like forever. Or watching the henchman gearing up and the secretaries making the call to all the assassins for the bounty on John Wick.
So I feel like there was a good two-hour and 15, 2-hour and 20-minute runtime. But I didn’t feel like by the time we get to the end of the film, where the chapter ends, we need almost 3 hours to get to that point. So it is a very, very long film.
Overall Thoughts On John Wick Chapter 4
Overall, John Wick Chapter 4 is what we’ve come to expect from these films, but still manages to somehow exceed expectations. Incredible job by the entire crew and cast and delivering a nonstop wall-to-wall Epic action film. While also giving us some unexpected emotional beats and some groundedness involving the importance of family and legacy, which I think we can all relate to.
Now the big question I asked up top is, “is this the greatest action movie of all time?” For me, the simple answer is no. As long as The Raid 1 and 2 exists, that’s a very hard bar to pass for me. And I would even go as far as to say that John Wick Chapter 4 is my personal favorite of the franchise.
But hey, at the end of the day, I didn’t need this to be the greatest action movie of all time. I just wanted to be entertained. And have a fun time with the character and the actor who I believe will end up going down as one of the best action heroes and action actors in the genre. I’m gonna give John Wick Chapter 4 a solid 4.1/5.
Now, personally, I would be OK if this was indeed the last film, but I wouldn’t be mad if they continued it. I know that John Wick will be in the Ballerina spin-off with Anna De Armas. But I will be OK if this is the last time we see John Wick’s film.
But I will also let you all know that there is a post-credit scene that you wanna stay and watch after all the credits. And I’ll just say it ties into a kind of like this thing that we were all hoping to see. If you’ve seen the Kill Bill films, it’s kind of the idea of a Kill Bill Volume 3. It’s kind of a little Stinger at the end. I would be very intrigued to see that story.
So that’s my thoughts on John Wick Chapter 4, a 4.2/5, and I highly recommend you all give to watch it when you do. See it in IMAX if you can; you won’t be disappointed.
Our Rating: ⭐ (4.2/5).