John Wick 4 Film Review (Minor spoilers)
After I saw the first John Wick, I said "I could watch twenty of these", and after four strong movies (well maybe not the second one) I can confidently say I want more. While this is certaintly a more action heavy (almost to the point of fantasy) and less realistic movie, it definitely stands out while also hitting all the familiar John Wick checkboxes. Stylistic gun fight? Car chase? Frenemy? Amazing set piece? Check all my boxes Mr. Wick. Here's the full review.
In a review that will surprise no one: They Nailed the Action. Seriously, the gun fights are beautiful, a Nunchuck is used beautifully, the hand to hand combat is thrilling, and the sword play is titillating as always. The whole team behind John Wick needs to go give lessons to every action movie these days on how to shoot fight scenes. And Keanu Reeves needs to be praised for his commitment to learning the stunts and moves for the movie. And the stuntmen of the film are some of the best you'll ever see. I watched a man TUMBLE down escalators, I'm pretty sure he is actually dead. This movie's action is truly beautiful to behold, and it gets five stars alone just for the action (complicated plot be damned). So if you are going to John Wick for the action (as you should be), you'll fall in love, again, for the fourth time. The Osaka Continental scene is easily one of the best action scenes my eyes have had the privilege of seeing, on par with the New York Continental scene from the third movie.
I mean if you came for the plot, you'll obviously be a little disappointed. The world they created for this movie is grand and full of mystique, but the stories they choose are only becoming more and more complicated the more detailed and fleshed out the John Wick world becomes. The story no longer really matters, as there are really no stakes, as John can fall out of four story buildings with no damage, casually lifts his suit jacket to deflect hundreds of bullets, and can survive anything as long as it doesn't happen in a cutscene. I remember when he had to go to a doctor in the other movies, that seems no longer necessary. The High Table is boring, the family connections are unfinished, and even losing a pretty important character early on seems to do little to make us care about the plot of the movie or for revenge. Like I said, you come to John Wick for the action, but I do think the action is becoming a little too God Mode for me, as good as it is. The plot of the first movie was perfect, but since then it's become muddle in it's own action hero quagmire. This movie also tries to do to much with it's plot and characters. There's a random bounty hunter with a dog who seems to be there for comic relief more than anything else. The bounty hunter from John Wick 3 (played by Mark Dacascos) had a pivotal role in the movie, and his respect for Wick was a huge part of the drama/stakes. This movie's frenemy bounty hunter was pointless, and took the wind out of most scenes he was in. For a movie with a three hour runtime, they easily could have left that character out of the movie and trimmed twenty minutes off. Donnie Yen also nailed his second blind man performance, and stole the show in most scenes he was in. Bill Skarsgard was WAY too perfectly dressed, but ultimately wasn't the thrilling/easy to hate villain we are used to at this point.
The legacy of these movies will be undeniable. The action is unique and has become iconic, and the respect the movie shows to various martial arts techniques is something we haven't seen in decades. This movie is the perfect "end" to the franchise if they wished to stop now. But if they were smart, the brains behind the John Wick movies would let Keanu move on, and spend time thinking about who to make the next "Wick". Keep the universe the same, but introduce another lovable actor as the next John Wick, and change the origin a bit. The cat can die this time or something. But seriously, not since James Bond have we had the opportunity to see an action franchise possibly become colossal in nature, and if John Wick can make the jump to another series of movies with new faces, this will be a triumph.
While the movie is probably a bit too bloated, the action delights, the set pieces impress, the stunts amaze, and John Wick is just as lethal a box office success as ever.