(Photo courtesy of FilmAffinity) “Keanu Reeves approaches his 10th year playing John Wick as the fourth installment hits theaters.”
Movie sequels and saga conclusions are difficult things to navigate in the film world. Building on the stories that are already there while also trying to find new avenues that have yet to be explored can sometimes result in weak sequels (i.e., Madagascar 2). Luckily, “John Wick: Chapter 4” doesn’t fall victim to that.
Preceding the movie was a tribute in memory of the late Lance Reddick. Reddick, who played the concierge of the New York Continental, died of natural causes exactly a week before the film was set to release. Many fans came together to pay tribute to Reddick and the enormous impact that he left not just on his colleagues but also on the world.
Like any John Wick movie, the viewer is instantly thrust right into the action. The film starts in the desert with John Wick (Keanu Reeves) pursuing the Elder’s guards. Then, it switches over to another Continental Hotel in Osaka, led by Shimazu (Hiroyuki Sanada). The film also takes place in many other locations, including the Arc de Triomphe in Paris and a secret underground club in Berlin.
On top of that, the cinematography in “John Wick: Chapter 4” is just as fantastic as it was in the other three movies. There are many shots and angles that have been very impressive to watch, like the continuous scene of Wick battling against his enemies in a small complex. In that scene, the viewer gets a bird’s-eye view over each of the rooms and sees everything happen as if they were playing a violent Sims 4.
Take another continuous action sequence as Wick battles in a glass display room in Osaka, taking on several assassins from the Table as well as battling Caine (Donnie Yen). The viewers get several angles as the camera follows Wick as he faces off against seemingly endless groups of assassins.
The action goes without saying. While brutal and sometimes a little gory, Wick finds new ways to battle his foes as he takes on what seems like entire armies all by himself. Pairing that with a gripping soundtrack and the destinations mentioned before results in fast-paced action scenes that make you lean forward in your seat.
Throughout the movie, there are interesting character dynamics, featuring fights between the co-protagonists Wick and Caine, Mr. Nobody (Shamier Anderson) and the primary villain Marquis (Bill Skarsgård).
It is also worth noting the fantastic performances of Rina Sawayama, who plays Shimazu’s daughter Akira, Lance Reddick as Charon, Ian McShane as Winston and Laurence Fishburne as the Bowery King. Surprise appearances from unexpected actors also add an extra treat for viewers along the way.
Where the movie starts to lack, however, is in storytelling. While it generally makes sense, viewers are left asking several questions about the film. Characters who left a big impact in the movie before are nowhere to be seen in this one, and even within the film, certain individuals disappear after the first act seemingly at random.
Likewise, Wick continually battles the dilemma of escaping the Table while also trying to avenge all that he has lost. However, that dilemma manifests in a kind of simple ticket out: a “Hey, did you know you could do this?” story element that sets the protagonist on his path for the film but leaves viewers wondering why this was not something that had been considered before or even, at the very least, mentioned.
However, the movie does not suffer because of this. Between the destinations, action, cinematography, cast and everything that has made “John Wick” movies a success up until now, viewers are left with a gripping action movie that concludes the series on a high note and sets the universe up for spinoffs.