At this point in time, the John Wick franchise has basically become the modern-day Rambo. The films are so over the top and crazy, yet they keep on going, and the fans are always ready for more. So more is what fans are getting in John Wick: Chapter 4. The creative team behind the franchise has delivered nearly three hours of everything you love about John Wick.
John Wick: Chapter 4 picks up where the last movie left off, but that doesn’t mean you need to watch the first three films to follow along. The new movie does reference previous events, especially John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum, but there’s enough exposition for newcomers to be able to follow along. John (Keanu Reeves) is trying to free himself from the hold of the High Table but to do that he must go through the Marquis (Bill Skarsgård) and all of his minions.
The main minion of the Marquis is Caine (Donnie Yen), a blind assassin who gives John a run for his money in almost every way. This is arguably the biggest and best performance from Donnie Yen in an American-made film. A spin-off focused primarily on Caine would be a welcome addition to the franchise.
Hiroyuki Sanada and Rina Sawayama are also wonderful new additions to the series, even if Sanada feels a bit typecast. Coming over from the music industry, Sawayama is impressive as Akira, the daughter of Sanada’s Shimazu. They are a great pairing, equal to that of Winston (Ian McShane) and Charon (Lance Reddick), but with the added ability to fight their own battles, on par with John.
John Wick movies are rated R for a reason, and Chapter 4 doesn’t shy away from that. There are some moments that will make you wince and one specific scene that will have some audience members turning their heads or closing their eyes. However, for the most part, this is John Wick through and through. Lots of guns, bows, knives, and the like, with a ridiculously high body count, and a bit of martial arts thrown in for good measure.
The action sequences in John Wick: Chapter 4 are as impressive as ever, and that’s one of the main reasons why the film is nearly three hours long. Many of the action sequences feel like what you’d see in an extended or director’s cut. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, especially if you’re a John Wick fan, but there are a number of sequences that will make you think, “This scene is still going?!” despite your enjoyment.
With all of the action and new characters, there’s a lot to enjoy about John Wick: Chapter 4, but there isn’t much that’s actually new. There’s very little in John Wick: Chapter 4 that we haven’t already seen in the first three movies. It’s difficult to raise the bar on a franchise like this, and what’s there is great, but there’s very little to draw in new fans. If you haven’t been keen on John Wick before now, this movie won’t change your mind.
John Wick: Chapter 4 is everything fans of the franchise have been eager to see. It’s the same great John Wick action you know and love, with a few new characters that fit in so well they deserve spin-off movies of their own. It’s a little long, at nearly three hours, especially when cutting it down to two and a half hours would not have negatively impacted the film. But that’s a small issue to have in a film as action-packed as John Wick: Chapter 4.
About John Wick: Chapter 4
Synopsis: 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.
Director: Chad Stahelski
Writers: Shay Hatten, Michael Finch
Stars: Keanu Reeves, Donnie Yen, Bill Skarsgård, Hiroyuki Sanada, Laurence Fishburne, Lance Reddick, Rina Sawayama, Ian McShane
Runtime: 2 Hours, 49 Minutes
Releases: March 24, 2023
Bryan Dawson has been writing professionally since the age of 13. He started his career as a video game writer and has since worked for Random House, Prima Games, DirecTV, IGN, AOL, the British Government, and various other organizations. For GNN, Bryan taps into his passion for movies.