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John Wick: Chapter 4

John Wick: Chapter 4
An overlong and cartoonish final entry to a franchise running one film too long.

John Wick: Chapter 4

Release Date: March 24, 2023
Runtime: 02:49
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.

The assassin's hunt for revenge climaxes in : Chapter 4. After being betrayed by his friend Winston () and left for dead in the care of the Bowery King (), John Wick () recovers and continues his quest for vengeance against the High Table. The Marquis Vincent de Gramont (Bill Skarsg?rd) takes the hunt for Wick. The Marquis first destroys Winston's New York Continental hotel and hires blind assassin Caine () to hunt down Wick. John Wick challenges The Marquis to a one-on-one duel to secure his freedom.

Synopsis

Nearly a decade after the 2014 original, director Chad Stahelski and star Keanu Reeves return for the fourth and final entry in the John Wick action franchise. When Reeves' titular assassin was last seen, he was shot off the roof of the New York Continental Hotel by his supposed friend Winston. After regaining his strength in the care of the Bowery King, John Wick resumes his quest for revenge, with Winston and his concierge Charon () being the target of repercussions by Paris-based High Table member Marquis Vincent de Gramont.

John Wick takes shelter at the Osaka Continental Hotel, managed by his friend Shimazu Koji (). Still, he finds himself pursued by blind assassin Caine and an unnamed Tracker (), with the latter waiting for the bounty against Wick to get high enough. After reconciling with Winston, Wick realizes the best course of action is to use the Old Rules and challenge the Marquis to a duel at sunrise.

My Thoughts on John Wick: Chapter 4

While John Wick: Chapter 4 retains the previous films' high-octane and incredibly well-choreographed action scenes, I also have to contend that this film marks the franchise somewhat jumping the shark. The original John Wick film from 2014 had a relatively simple plot of a retired assassin returning for revenge after thugs stole his car and killed his dog. The subsequent sequels expanded this world of assassins, which seems completely ingrained in society, with public shootouts having little to no legal repercussions.

While I can suppress my disbelief to a point, John Wick: Chapter 4 climaxes with a large-scale shootout through the streets of Paris as assassins fight to prevent John Wick from reaching the location of his duel. While the action is good, this sequence throws any semblance of reality out the window. I also don't like how cartoonish the villains have gotten, whether it be the very fake-sounding French accent put on by Bill Skarsg?rd as Marquis Vincent de Gramont, as well as British DTV action star (The Expendables 2, Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning) sporting a fat suit and metal grills as German gangster Killa.

While I liked John Wick: Chapter 4 less than previous entries, I still came away with some positives. The biggest of these is the addition of Hong Kong superstar Donnie Yen as John Wick's friend-turned-enemy Caine. Yen's performance in this film, which includes some very well-done blind fight choreography, is probably second only to from the original John Wick regarding the various frenemies the assassin has had over the course of the franchise. John Wick: Chapter 4 also features a solid supporting performance by Hiroyuki Sanada (Mortal Kombat, Bullet Train) as John Wick's Japanese friend Shimazu Koji, as well as a brief but memorable role by as a High Table Harbinger, who helps organize the duel between John Wick and the Marquis.

With a running time of nearly three hours, John Wick: Chapter 4 goes all out for the finale of this franchise. However, I think the franchise has probably run one film too long, and despite retaining the well-done action sequences, John Wick: Chapter 4 ultimately leaves much to be desired.

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Trailer for John Wick: Chapter 4

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Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly is a freelance film critic and blogger based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
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