3.88 • 0
I don’t need to tell you that the violent action in “John Wick: Chapter 4” is over the top. If you’re aware of the popular neo-noir action thriller franchise, you know that already. If you’re a fan of the smartly dressed, ass kicking antihero known on the streets as the Baba Yaga, you aren’t going to be disappointed in this rowdy, unrestrained fourth chapter. The bar has been raised and effectively met, as this fast-paced film traverses the globe, provides a dose of pure adrenaline, and leaves the franchise’s highest body count in its wake. After being excommunicated and on the run from a network of bounty hunters, John Wick (Keanu Reeves) has had enough and just wants out of the criminal underworld forever. He tries to kill them all but in the process, discovers a path to defeating The High Table with the goal of finally securing his freedom. John visits former friends, alliances, and foes all over the world, bringing trouble to their doorstep. The lethal assassin fights his way through one by one, culminating in a final duel to the death. This is Reeves’ movie through and through, and he’s created what has arguably become one of the more iconic screen characters of the 21st century. It’s great to see old favorites like Winston (Ian McShane), Bowery King (Laurence Fishburne), and Charon (Lance Reddick) return, but the addition of new characters Caine (Donnie Yen), Mr. Nobody (Shamier Anderson), and the brutally cruel Marquis (Bill Skarsgård) breathes fresh life into the franchise. The story is weak and the performances not much better, but none of that matters if you’re a fan of pure action and cinematic spectacle. The stunt work (which is heavily influenced by martial arts) reaches absolute perfection, will impeccably choreographed fight sequences that are fresh, inventive, and exciting. The best of the best is a thrilling shootout in the middle of busy traffic by the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. It’s one of those scenes that makes you want to stand up and cheer. Director Chad Stahelski is an ex-stuntman himself, and he knows how to orchestrate exhilarating, handsome action sequences. This isn’t a film with rapid cutting where you can’t tell what is going on, and it’s a return to a classic style that should be welcomed by fans of the genre. You can clearly follow each blow to the body, every bloody gunshot to the head, and every sword through the back. Stahelski’s vision is as close to flawless as one can get, and this is a great looking movie from start to finish. Despite all of the things that are done right, the film’s excessive runtime makes it seem too indulgent. Even with the breathtaking fight choreography and stunt coordination, some of the action scenes go on so long that I started to lose interest. A few are repetitive and exhausting, but the short and well-placed breaks in the form of emotional storytelling bring a welcome respite and a bit of breathing room. “John Wick: Chapter 4” is a film that over promises yet over delivers for action fans. It’s one rousing, wild ride. By: Louisa Moore / SCREEN ZEALOTS
Reason for report