John Wick (Keanu Reeves) 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.
Sadly, proof that going bigger doesn't always mean better. A bloated, overcooked mess of a film
- John Wick: Chapter 4 review by TB
Unfortunately, we have now clearly reached the limit of what can be done with the John Wick film series. When the first film came out, it was an unbelievably tightly-edited, brilliantly scripted action film with a great central performance by Reeves which managed to achieve a staggering amount in terms of stunt work, given it's relatively small budget. It was of course extremely successful, which has led to multiple sequels, this one being the third. And, in a really surprising way, Chapters 2 & 3 were both great.
Whilst 2 is my favourite of the whole series, even 3 was absolutely a solid and at times brilliant movie, even with some of its choices. Sadly, Chapter 4 has shown in no uncertain terms that John Wick would do good to keep a very low profile again.
This film is a total mess. The whole mantra of the writers and director seems to be "If bigger is better, then gigantic is perfection." Whilst we have a bigger budget this time around, unfortunately this has only massively increased the problems that were only slightly visible in Chapter 3. The main one, by a country mile, is the length. This film just goes on and on and on and on. Whether it is action scenes (there is a sequence involving a long set of stairs that goes on for over 20 minutes,) or dialogue (a card game which adds nothing to the plot and is again around 15 minutes of running time,) this film just piles on a constant stream of padding.
If I had to characterise it, it is effectively like saying that when they made the first film, they HAD to get it right: the amount of effort to get a new idea off the ground/secure funding, even with an established star, would have been a monumental feat. And then when the sequels were greenlit, there was still an element of "We have to be careful and make sure we create something great." But the attitude now seems to be "We've got loads of money to play with and it doesn't matter what we do, so let's do everything: super-long action scenes, fights which never end and enough exposition to rival War and Peace." And this goes on for almost 3 hours...
Another massive failing is the characters. Whilst Keanu is still very good as Wick, and it's always great to see Ian McShane & Laurence Fishburne on screen, the new additions are mostly a let down. Front & center of this failure is Bill Skarsgård as the Marquis. Skarsgård, who has incredible presence on screen, here quite simply plays a slimy Frenchman. No, I'm not joking, that's it. There is never a hint that he has any assassin skills, which makes his position as the Head of the organisation totally ridiculous & stupid. He is also far too young to be in that position.
Donnie Yen is also wasted as Caine, an old friend of Wick's. As much as the film strains every sinew to make the idea of one of the world's greatest assassins being blind work, it just doesn't, in any way imaginable. This is unintentionally proven in one scene where if a shooter had been targeting Caine & not Wick, he would have been dead.
And that's the other problem this movie has: repeatedly changing allegiances. Characters change their motivations & loyalties at the drop of a hat. But after that has been done more than once, none of their motivations hold any water from then on. Literally, any of the characters can do anything, for any reason & the film just sets it up so that we need to accept it on face value.
It is quite sad in a way that, after 3 amazing films, this is the result of the 4th: stupid decisions, too much action, a rubbish story and a movie crying out for a decent editor to come along & actually cut it to a proper length. But unfortunately, due to the massive box office haul of this film, the chances of major changes happening is slim to none.
2 out of 3 members found this review helpful.
Great Action Even If Much The Same
- John Wick: Chapter 4 review by GI
Yes it's overlong and when you boil it all down it's more of the same with the action set pieces stretching out just that bit too long. But knowing what these films are like and enjoying them for their sheer entertainment value makes this latest in the series great fun. John Wick (Keanu Reeves) discovers a way to fight back against the 'High Table', the all powerful organisation that seems to control the world, and win his freedom to live in peace. But the path is long and violent as you'd expect, so you just have to buckle up and go along for the ride. It's not the best of the series by any stretch mainly because it relies on recreating what we've all seen before and it's far too much structured like a high class game with the character of John being moved by you the viewer. The Bondian globe trotting gives some great visuals and the soundtrack is great so have the sound turned up. Good solid support cast who are for the most part underused especially Laurence Fishburne. Ian McShane is on the money as always. Overall it's what we've come to expect from a John Wick film, and something a little more original and diverse might have lifted the film but if it's pure adrenaline fuelled action you like then this is where you'll find it.
1 out of 1 members found this review helpful.
Law of diminishing returns
- John Wick: Chapter 4 review by sb
FILM & REVIEW Must admit quite a fan of the first three - each one topping its predecessor but did feel the third one had taken the whole Wick thing as far it could go . But box office tills do ring so here is number 4 and for the first hour I thought this could push things along. Wick kills the Elder who is above the Table while Winston (McShane) has his hotel confiscated and blown up the Marquis (Starsgard ) as?? a consequence. Wick ends up in Japan at another Continental but the Marquis finds out and has that deconsecrated as well leading to the death of Wicks friend. He also encounters another old friend a blind assassin played by Donnie Yen. Wick swears revenge and sets up a dual with the Marquis as per the Table rules. As mentioned the first hour is really good but then it just seems to fizzle out in endless fight sequences that never seem to move things along. He is tasked with killing a German club owner which begins quite well but it just goes on and on…and then he has to be at Sacre Coure for sunrise so they resuse the old bounty call from 3 which ends like an endless shoot em up video game which never seems to end. Ok the Spaghetti Western finale is worth getting to but it’s a real slog to get to it. Reeves is the same as he was in the previous 3 films and Yen brings a morally ambiguous element to his character plus MCShane has fun but Starsgard was just terrible playing the baddie as a petulant schoolboy - the role needed a much older actor…..oh and you have a tracker and his dog that adds nothing to the story and just gets increasingly annoying. It looks fantastic with gloriously lit interiors by Dan Lausten but at 163 minutes it’s way way too long - you have have easily made sizeable cuts to quite a few of the action scenes and lost nothing - so overall 3.5/5
0 out of 1 members found this review helpful.
Long, silly misuse of talent franchise milking.
- John Wick: Chapter 4 review by JD
The first 2 films were brilliant with the third being ok.
And through this we have been treated to a fantastic Keanu who earnt huge respect over the internet for his incredible skillz (brought about by a training regime and dedication that won nothing but praise from tactical experts)
This ruins it. Yes Keanu is mighty effective and looks as professional as a professional can be. But... the film is just silly. Its endless, monotonous action scenes of more and more men running at John (and often stood waiting around for there turn to die)
And this leads to the real downer, Keanu looks old and slow. Stunt men are literally left shadow boxing waiting for there turn. Dont get me wrong, Keanu has all the moves, but the film with its OTT action highlights a miss match in filming technique and Keanu's age.
Donny Yen doesnt help here as he is smooth, slick and fast. He moves round his opponents like a greased up snake.
Keanu has earnt the respect of the internet and even tactical experts rain praise on him for his incredible skill at this so its sad to see the film get so silly as to make him look like he is past it (which he isnt)
In short its just to much to stupid action. And the beleivable and respect earning skill Keanu demonstrated in the earlier films is lost.
On the bright side the scene in Paris and the card game are excellent!
0 out of 1 members found this review helpful.
- John Wick: Chapter 4 review by AW
Absolute rubbish. Do not waste your time watching this. No storyline, constant fight scenes despite good actors.
0 out of 0 members found this review helpful.
Epic stylised mayhem
- John Wick: Chapter 4 review by Alphaville
Picking up where Chapter 3 left off, newcomers may find the plot confusing. Who cares? The plot is nonsense and irrelevant anyway. It’s overlong and a slow starter, but when it gets going it delivers. The one drawback is that, with Donny Yen joining Keanu for the ride, they’ve made him blind and their fight early in the film is a damp squib. The film really hits paydirt in its second half when the action moves to Paris. The fight in an over-crowded nightclub, complete with waterwall and electronic dance music is a beautiful visual spectacle worth watching more than once. That’s followed by mayhem around the Arc de Triomphe in crowded traffic and a Serge Leone Italian western tribute at the Sacre Coeur. All beautifully shot. More, please.
0 out of 0 members found this review helpful.
One of the best action films ever made
- John Wick: Chapter 4 review by cr
I am surprised about two things regarding the reviews on here for JW.
1) I agree with your critic!
2) Some of the reviews by users are negative but hey each to their own.
Simply put this is one of the best action films ever made.
Stunningly shot with bold blacks and browns and amazing neon which really brings style and atmosphere. I am always wary of films with long run times but I saw this at the cinema and wasn't disappointed.
You are amazed at each fight scene but the next out does the previous one until you are exhausted but in a good way!
There are several unforgettable scenes but my favourite is where indestructible John fights his way up the many steps of the sacre couer in paris and gets knocked down and fights his way up again!
The action scenes are exciting the dog is great and the ending is surprisingly emotional.
Ignore the sniffy reviews the critics are right this is a masterpiece!
John Wick: Chapter 4 (aka John Wick: 4) review by Mark McPherson - Cinema Paradiso
The John Wick films continue to amaze with their increase in the absurd and the exciting. It’s a film that can feature stylish set pieces of John fighting off endless hordes of assassins in a decadent Paris setting while also having him battle a massive version of Scott Adkins playing a giant, gold-toothed club owner. It delights in the over-the-top nature of its non-stop action yet always keeps the tongue firm enough in its cheek to never wink. In other words, it’s more of the same, and when the same has been near-perfect action pictures, that’s glowing praise.
Keanu Reeves returns to the titular role without missing a beat. The film picks up right where we left off, with an injured John Wick training underground for his next and perhaps last assault on the corrupt High Table league of assassins. He does way more globetrotting in this entry, venturing to the Middle East to gun down a high-ranking member, Japan to get in touch with an old friend, and Paris to battle with a former hitman he is reluctant to attack. There’s a lot more on the line in the fourth chapter, given the smart approach by the conniving Marquis, expertly played by Bill Skarsgård. He can recognize that Wick is trying to prove the High Table is not immortal and aims to combat John by appealing to human nature.
Donnie Yen plays Caine, a blind assassin and retired hitman with a daughter he needs to protect. He’s a cunning adversary for John and not just in terms of being an empathetic person. Caine lunges into combat like a modern-day Zatoichi, laying waste to armies of assassins with guns and swords. Another hitman John has second thoughts about killing is the tracking bounty hunter Mr. Nobody (Shamier Anderson), given that he has a dog. Though Nobody is motivated entirely by greed, he can easily turn around in his ways if John makes the smart call not to kill the dog. Nobody in this movie world knows the pain of losing a dog like John.
It’s to describe the brilliance of every single fight scene without just giving blow-by-blow on every encounter. The best way to divulge this masterpiece can be summed up as variety. More than a blizzard of bullets, all sorts of weapons and unique environments are utilized for every set piece with a heavy body count. Consider the scene at the Japanese Continental, where John grabs some nunchucks to use against his attackers. There’s a brief moment where they share a glance, asking if this is about to happen. Sure enough, what you think transpires: John Wick kills some guy with nunchucks. Plenty of other weapons are utilized, including arrows, knives, cars, and assault rifles that shoot exploding bullets.
While the rampant violence on display is a lot of fun, the class placed upon it by the stellar cast makes it work even more. Ian McShane returns as the smooth-talking and cool-as-hell Continental manager who goes full-on rebellious against the High Table alongside his dapper sidekick Charon (Lance Reddick). Laurence Fishburne has a significant presence despite having such little screentime as the Bowery King, having a ball with belting out the most profound and amusing of lines. But you can’t forget Adkins chewing scenery as the exaggerated nightclub manager Killa, having too much fun in his intense moments of card games and fist fights.
From its grand Paris locales to its neon-vibrant club fights, John Wick: Chapter 4 is such a masterpiece of an action film that it never bores amid its nearly 3-hour running time. I’m impressed just how far this series has come and how it never fails to impress in the most blood-pumping of action scenes that have turned John Wick from being a solid comeback for Keanu into an action icon all its own.
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