John Wick: Chapter 4 – Film Review

John Wick has had a rough run.

With the first three films of the franchise taking part across about a week or two, the poor guy has buried his wife, had his dog taken from him, had his car stolen, avenged his dog, got his car back only to destroy it, had an old ally turn against him, he became excommunicated, and was shot and fell off a building.

Still determined to escape the organisation that he was dragged back into, Wick sets out to destroy The Table. However, a new advisory emerges with Marquis Vincent de Gramont (Bill Skarsgård), a high-ranking Table member that is tasked with taking out Wick.

With the first three films mostly taking place in New York, Wick finds himself in some stunning locations. From Casablanca to Berlin, Osaka and Paris, I found myself in awe of the visually impressive landmarks that were chosen to be a part of this film. And with each new location we are introduced to a wide range of new characters. Manager and Concierge of the Osaka Continental, Shimazu Koji (Hiroyuki Sanada) and Akira Koji (Rina Sawayama) respectively. And in Berlin, Katia (Natalia Tena) head of Wick’s family.

Whilst we have some new allies and the return of some familiar faces with Winston Scott (Ian McShane), his Concierge Charon (Lance Reddick), and Laurence Fishburne returning as The Bowery, we also have some new villains to meet. A contract tracker known as Nobody (Shamier Anderson), and the K-9 associate. Marko Zaror as Chidi, Gramont’s right hand man. Clancy Brown as the Harbinger, a high-ranking officer of The Table. And last but by no means least, Donnie Yen as Caine, the individual that has been given the seemingly impossible task of taking out John Wick.

Written by Shay Hatten, who also wrote John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum, Michael Finch, and directed by Chad Stahelski (John Wick 1,2, & 3), Chapter 4 is probably the best one yet. The first film will always hold a special place in the franchise, but this latest instalment has taken everything from the first three films and dialled it up to eleven! The fight scenes are mind blowing, cleverly combining guns, fists, and swords to provide jaw dropping sequences. Notably, the sword craft stands out in these scenes.

Visually, this film is stunning. Dan Laustsen’s cinematography adds that extra level of excitement during the action sequences to bring the viewer into the fight. Laustsen’s use of wide angle and slow and symmetrical shots also give the stunning locations a chance to shine. Adding to the amazing visuals is the equally incredible score and soundtrack. I found myself bopping along in my seat as the beat kicked in, alluding to the action that was about to unfold on the screen.

Each performer in this film has their own moment to stand out, however the main roles in John Wick: Chapter 4 are fantastic all round. Bill Skarsgård is perfect as the arrogant Marquis Vincent de Gramont. The extravagant outfits and stern facial expressions make him the perfect bad guy. Shamier Anderson as Nobody/Tracker and his K-9 companion make a great team and I appreciated his no-bullshit cheeky attitude.  

Keanu Reeves is of course incredible as ever as John Wick. He has really stepped up the action and I can only imagine the training routine and fight choreography he went through to prepare for this role. Reeves is more determined and angrier than ever in Chapter 4 and is arguably the best he has been as the character. It was also great to see Reeves and Laurence Fishburne together again. It made me feel very nostalgic.

But the clear stand out of this entire film is Donnie Yen as Caine. Not only is Yen an incredible fighter and an equally impressive actor, but Yen did also it all whilst portraying a character that is blind. His posture and body language is flawless, and at no point did I think he wasn’t blind. Even though it may not be plausible for an ordinary person in his state to fight like he did, his performance was believable. I found myself completely invested in his character by the end of the film.

Of course, I can’t not mention Lance Reddick. I’ve been a fan of his work for a long time. His voice and face has been part of some of my favourite film, television series and video games. Notably the Horizon games on PlayStation and of course the John Wick franchise. I was saddened when he passed away before this films release. He will be greatly missed and I’m thankful to have spent my time being entertained by his roles. 

The more I think about John Wick: Chapter 4, the more it is cemented at the top of the list in of the franchise. The action and fight sequences are off the charts and the plot has the strength to hold it all together. The continuity of the first three films is held with the fourth and makes the whole saga to date, one interconnected, action-packed thrill ride.

John Wick: Chapter 4 is out in cinemas now. Check your local guides for session times. I for one, cannot wait to experience this again.

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