John Wick Chapter 4 – REVIEW

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Keanu Reeves as John Wick in John Wick: Chapter 4. Photo Credit: Murray Close

In a franchise that has seen each new film earn more at the box office than the previous film John Wick Chapter 4 was as inevitable as the ever increasing body count with the indestructible hitman doing his bit for population control.  But this fourth film really ups the ante to epic length with the film running at a little under 3 hours.

Wick (Keanu Reeves) is now evading his masters, The High Table, implying that maybe they are children who have to sit in a High Chair a bit like our Deputy Editor, Simon – ‘You’re fired!’ – Deputy Ed). As it turns out the new boss is the Marquis de Gramont (Bill Skarsgard) whose bounty for the anyone who offs Wick just keeps on escalating and draws the attention of Tracker (Bounty? Tracker? What is it with chocolate bars in this franchise?) here played by Shamier Anderson with a sidekick dog and these films love their dogs and this is no different with this barking land shark launching itself at enemies on command.

It’s in Japan where we first encounter Tracker as well as Caine (Donnie Yen) a blind assassin who would seem to be as much a liability as a tooled up London gang member but unlike London gang members he can string together a coherent sentence and can hide a samurai sword in his trousers without chopping off his own cock and he slices through his enemies like …well like a knife through butter.  With golden hued cityscapes and stunningly ornate architecture from the start it sets the template for the look of the film against which the carnage with play out.

But it’s Wick who ultimately has to take down the Marquis in turn stopping all the assassins coming after him and in turn the massive pay out that his head will bring. And like the previous films there’s a seemingly endless amount of assassins for our man to despatch and to that end director Chad Stahelski has assembled a legion of the finest stuntmen and orchestrated astonishing set pieces. Just when you think they can’t possibly come up with anything new the film makers surpass themselves. Those set pieces are increasing in frequency as the film unfolds with a particularly brutal feud between Reeves and a fat suit wearing Scott Adkins in a nightclub bedecked with waterfalls.

But it is really in the last hour as Reeves battles his way through an assassin packed Paris that the film really excels with back to back set pieces all equally brilliantly choreographed that takes in a firearms fight around the Arc de Triomphe as the traffic whisks by, Reeves attempting to ascend an immense sets of stairs bedecked with more assassins (and one stunt sees whosever the stuntman is wholly earning every dollar he was paid as he tumbles headlong down 300 steps)  and it also has one of the few but best laugh out loud moments too and then there’s a Gods eye view of Reeves going through an assassin packed building with an RPG.

At times reeves alongside tracker & Caine form a kind of unholy trinity with their allegiances to each other switching back and for but ultimately the films have always had a pared down simplicity and objectives and Reeves has even fewer lines here with many of them being just simply saying, ‘Yeah!’ Yet the films have always been exhilaratingly shot, exuberantly exciting and truly thrilling to behold and John Wick Chapter 4 is no different. ……oh and wait til the very end of the credits for a scene.

Related feature: John Wick 2

related interview: Neil Maskell talks about the brutal British film, Bull’

Here’s the John Wick Chapter 4 trailer…..

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