"John Wick: Chapter 4" Film Review
By: Nathaniel Simpson
For John Wick, it has all led up to this. Ever since the Russian gangsters killed his dog and stole his car, John (Keanu Reeves) has found himself at the center of the crime world, the target of nearly every assassin all over Earth. He is finally ready to end this and put his old profession behind, by any means necessary. Not only is the fourth installment of this franchise the best entry, it is easily one of the best action movies ever made.
The film opens where the third movie ended, with John still being hunted by the High Table after killing Santino D'Anotnio at the end of the second installment. He is now seeking refugee at places where people trust him, which leads to their eventual deaths at the hands of the Table. This is especially made worse by the new leader of the Table, Marquis Vincent de Gramont (Bill Skarsgård), who will stop at nothing until John Wick is in the ground.
Hiring a slew of new assassins, including Donnie Yen's blind assassin Caine, the Table chases Wick all over the world, ready to kill whoever necessary to end the Baba Yaga. However, when an old way of doing things is unveiled to John, there is now a newfound hope within John and his associates, showing a way they can end this for good and be free from the Table.
The best thing about this movie is easily the action sequences here. Not only is it the best in the entire franchise, but this movie is some of the best fight and action sequences I have ever seen. They're high-octane and require an advanced knowledge of marital arts and combat to pull this off. Every scene present in the movie keeps the viewer on the edge of their seats and fills them with a sense of adrenaline, more-so than the past three movies. Consider the end fight sequence, which lasts nearly forty minutes of the movie and takes place over a series of hours for our characters. Director Chad Stahelski crafts these scenes in such a way that make them blend together seamlessly and easily furthers the plot perfectly. It does everything right to make it a compelling action film, and this is evident throughout every fight scene present in the movie.
One major complaint I had about the second movie is its lack of character development for its minor characters. However, in this movie, they not only allow these characters to occupy many of the scenes, but they really allow the viewer to explore these characters and learn what they are about. In a way, it sort of humanizes these characters, showing them as good people who are a victim of their circumstance. Caine and Shamier Anderson's Mr. Nobody are some of the best characters in the entire franchise, and the filmmakers utilize them perfectly throughout the film.
I just want to take a second and appreciate the role Yen plays here. He is vastly different from the other characters that hunt after John, and that's what makes him so great. At the same time, his character is longtime friends with Reeves', and the two have fantastic chemistry together from start to finish. In my opinion, Yen is just a fantastic actor, and I loved to see him so perfectly utilized in this final film for Reeves.
This is perhaps Reeves' best performance as Baba Yaga, giving it his all for his final outing in this franchise. He has very few lines in this picture, similar to the other "John Wick" films he is in, yet he is able to convey such raw emotion into the entirety of this performance. From facial expressions to his mannerisms, it is easy to tell that John is getting old and tired of this, but is begrudgingly put on blast by the High Table and everyone chasing after him. It is reminiscent of films like "Logan" in a way, showing how these titular characters are tired of the situation they are put in.
With this reportedly being the last film to star Reeves as the popular action hero, I think they do a fantastic job of wrapping up his story with easily the best film in the franchise. Everything here is so perfectly done and allows everyone to have fun with this film, making it for an exciting and fun time for the viewer. There have been reports of spinoffs and continuations focused on other characters, and I can only hope that they're as amazing as this film is.