John Wick: Chapter 4 (2023)

John Wick: Chapter 4 (2023) Cover

John Wick: Chapter 4 is more entertaining than its bland name implies. Depending on what you like about the John Wick franchise it is either a middling entry or the best. The story treads ground a bit despite using some well-thought-out themes while the action, choreography, and cinematography crank all the dials up to 11. There simply is not a better pure action flick in existence and this is absolute stunt performance porn and the story doesn't undermine any of that.

After his shenanigans through the franchise to date, the high council has sent its latest agent with unlimited authority to drive out John Wick and have him killed for his defiance, or something like that. And John Wick must fight this latest deus ex machina in order to be free of his obligations. During his plight, Keanu Reeves must both outwit and do battle with Donnie Yen, Clancy Brown, and Shamier Anderson. If you're familiar with the franchise, then you're familiar with the formula. A new element of the mythology is introduced that was never before mentioned or taken into consideration to force Keanu into the fight of his life.

The plot is the weakest point in the film; however, it manages to at least highlight parallels in its characters. It regularly reflects John in all of his biggest confrontations in a way that is narratively interesting. But, beyond the basic story points, the John Wick franchise is liberally sprinkled with clever dialog and amusing character interactions. There is so much more to the storytelling than the plot and John Wick takes full advantage of building up everything surrounding its threadbare base.

What most people are here for, though, are the fights. The tons and tons of fights. John Wick fights in clubs, in the streets, in gutted-out buildings and churches. He fights with swords, shotguns loaded with dragon's breath ammunition, guns galore, and even nunchucks. The nunchuck choreography is worth highlighting on its own because the film industry is rife with poor use of the weapon and here it is given a style unique to the character and allowed to shine for a whole amazing fight scene. The stunt work in John Wick: Chapter 4 is without peer in this respect and for action enthusiasts is all the justification needed for its existence.

Overall, while John Wick: Chapter 4 treads water in many ways, it pushes boundaries in the ways that count for what it is. It is an outstanding entry in its series and overall a film of great merit worth enjoying.

Final Verdict:A thoroughly entertaining assault on the eyes and ears.