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.
THE GOOD STUFF
Keanu Charles Reeves– Because he’s portrayed this character so often and for such a short amount of time (the first John wick movie was in February of 2016, by the way), I will tell you what you may already know, but it needs to be said. This has turned out to be the most iconic character of a man who has no less than three iconic characters that he’s already played (Neo, Theodore Logan, and Johnny Utah, for those who are somehow unaware). With this franchise, he has proven that he’s one of the greatest action stars who’s ever lived if he hasn’t proven that long ago.
For the past month or so, I’ve been having this debate with random jabronis who say Reeves can’t act. Anybody who seen sweet november, the devil’s advocate, or A Walk in the clouds knows that this is a flat-out lie. The way he delivers his lines as John Wick is what is called an actor’s choice. It’s not the way he always does things. People need to pay attention.
DONNIE F****** YEN- I’m currently writing this review one day after seeing JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 4 for the first time, and people I know who have seen this movie are already having the debate on whether this Donnie Yen’s performance is better than the performance he had in rogue one. I try so hard not to let recency bias affect my judgment, but I will simply say this… He has more screen time here, and his comedic way of doing the action sequences fit more here than they do there. And to be honest, he’s kind of a co-main character in the movie. Kind of. And believe me, that’s not a bad thing.
His character in this film, Caine, is the most charismatic in the entire movie. And I am very much including John Wick when I make that statement.
Bill Skarsgard‘S WARDROBE- His performance is fine—nothing to complain about there. What needs to be said, though, is that he is playing the singular best-dressed movie character in the history of the medium. That just needs to be said—my goodness.
A JUSTIFIABLE RUNNING TIME- Quite possibly might be the quickest 169 minutes in the history of Cinema. The action sequences go for so long… however there’s so much thrown at you in terms of the cinematography, choreography, and sheer ridiculousness of the situation that they’re in that you don’t necessarily notice.
From what I understand, there’s a 3-hour and 45-minute cut of this film that was reduced to 2 hours and 40 minutes. In that case, they should have cut this film into two separate pieces and just released it that way. Glad to see two part chapters of the finale of hunger games, Twilight, and Harry Potter... Why not this?
THE LAST 45 MINUTES OR SO- If you’re as big a fan of the franchise as I am, you’re going in justifiably asking yourself, “what the hell could they do to top what they’ve already done possibly?” Well, I will simply say this…once these characters arrive in Paris, what was already joyful batshit r-rated bloody chaos goes into a different corporeal sphere. The action sequence involving the Arc de Triomphe as the backdrop is quite possibly one of the greatest action sequences ever filmed and one of the most memorable scenes to see with a live audience… FOLLOWED BY TWO MORE ABSOLUTELY INCREDIBLE SHOOTOUTS AFTER THAT.
THE BAD STUFF
LIGHTING- If I’m going to be picky, then the singular complaint I have about this movie is the lighting. Everything involving the Japan sequence in the first act of the movie is shot brilliantly and might be the best-looking section of the film overall. But the action set pieces are done in this awkward dark green light which makes a lot of the close-up combat hard to follow.
THE UGLY STUFF
Look, I don’t even really consider myself to be sentimentally biased when it comes to this franchise. I don’t know if I can join the chorus of other film critics in calling this particular film one of the greatest action movies ever made based off of one single screening. What can be said, rather patently, is that this is the best action movie of the year. That’s a call I can safely make right now. In order for something to be even equivalent to this, it would take matching the scale of the action sequences and having a better overall story (Which in this franchise is kind of been routine) which is a tall order to ask.
What can also be said after seeing this chapter is that I think it’s appropriate that we start having the conversation on where the John Wick franchise stands as far as being the best action franchise of all time. Not one of the best franchises… THE BEST.
Off the top of my head, I can’t think of one that’s been such a combination of consistency, imagination, humor, innovation, and absolutely R-rated bloody good fun. All the great action franchises that you can think of probably peaked in the beginning, then possibly sputtered out towards the end, being a shell of what it used to be after staying around for maybe one or two movies too long. Not this.
If this is indeed the last entry of the franchise, it has ended with an exclamation point. An exclamation point that is in bold print, in italics, and underlined. John wick: chapter 4 is the best entry of this franchise. It is a complete masterpiece. It is one of the five best films of 2023, if nothing else….and it’s only the month of March.
JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 4 is in theaters now