Review John Wick 4 – Review on FilmTotaal
Director: Chad Stahelski | Script: Shay Hatten, Michael Finch | Cast: Keanu Reeves (John Wick), Donnie Yen (Caine), Bill Skarsgård (Marquis de Gramont), Ian McShane (Winston), Laurence Fishburne (Bowery King), Shamier Anderson (Tracker), Lance Reddick (Charon), ea | Time to play: 169 minutes | Year: 2023
then the first john wickThe film was released in 2014, the world was awed by the fast-paced action, sublime world creation and polished imagery. It was Keanu Reeves’ renaissance as an action star. Known for his eclectic mix of weapons and kung fu, also known as gun-fu, the film series establishes Chad Stahelski as one of the greatest action directors alive today. He climbs back into the director’s chair for this fourth installment and offers an almost three-hour non-stop action spectacle that, bordering on excess, has everything it takes to surpass his predecessors.
john wick 4 pick up the true story parabellum he left us. Reeling from his gruesomely forceful fall, our penniless anti-hero is out for revenge and decides to turn the tables. The assassin, who has returned from retirement, goes on the offensive and hunts down The High Table, the crime syndicate that rules the underworld from the shadows. Motivated by revenge and his desire for freedom, John confronts the ‘marquis’, the emissary of the assassins’ guild who is given carte blanche to stop Baba Yaga.
The vendetta, which once started with a murdered puppy, this time takes John Wick to beautiful locations in Japan, Paris, and Berlin, where he battles his way through legions of opponents, just like in a computer game. The almost endless symphony of violence consists of no less than fourteen spectacular action scenes, each of which would not be out of place as a final scene in a “normal” action movie. The phenomenally choreographed brutal ballet is a bit of the same fabric and bulletproof suit as the previous parts, but the film takes it up a notch.
Due to the abundance of action, the plot is not very strong and mainly serves to move John Wick from fight to fight. With themes like friendship and legacy, it tries to give the film an emotional layer, but mostly it results in a lot of petty wisdom. However, you really empathize with the title character being in his gums and Keanu Reeves once again brings the iconic role of him to life with great dedication. It’s nice to see how he has adapted more and more to his role.
The story stands out primarily for its fabulous world creation, which takes many creative and plot liberties. The stylized universe, in which the laws of physics are stretched a bit and everyone is a murderer, resembles the normal world, but is the shadow version of it. It is a microcosm with an atmosphere of the currantbread underworld of the old, where traditional rules and customs make their way into modern times and where honor and order are the highest good, “because that is what separates us from animals”.
The world of dark shadows is beautifully portrayed thanks to Dan Laustsen’s sublime cinematography. With harsh lines and the blue-orange color palette typical of the film series, he paints a true neon-black work of art on the silver screen. Every image is truly beautiful and the way he captures the action in unbelievably long, uninterrupted shots in the most spectacular locations is on an unprecedented level. In particular, the scene where he follows John Wick through a French mansion with a shotgun that fires off fireworks from a bird’s eye view, wow! And what the film achieves in the Arc de Triomphe rotunda is hard to fathom.
Production designer Kevin Kavanaugh also goes all out. The sets, including the Japanese Continental Hotel and a Berlin nightclub with cascading walls, are as impressive as they are immense. In addition to pleasing the eye, grandiose decorations also serve a higher purpose. Lavish locations give the Marquis his pompous identity, and the sheer massiveness of it all emphasizes the David vs. Goliath feel of Wick’s lone fight.
The film features a motley crew of colorful and entertaining enemies. John finally finds a worthy opponent in Caine, the fantastic blind assassin played by Donnie Yen. Skarsgård plays a James Bond-esque antagonist with the marquis of him, including a terrible French accent, and gives High Table an easy-to-hate face. The tracker character, who chases Wick with his biting four-legged friend but never attacks, is cool but pretty boring, as is Killa, the fat gangster in a suit. The almost cartoonish characters work perfectly with the movie approach, but put them in a white frame with a speech bubble and you basically have cartoon characters.
john wick 4 it’s bigger, better and especially brutal than its predecessors and perhaps one of the best action movies of this century. The long running time can make some demands on the viewer and for a story where ‘aftermath’ is central he himself is somewhat inconsistent at times, but this is more than made up for by the epic proportions of the film as a whole. Accept that John Wick is indestructible, take it all with a grain of salt, and surrender to the blistering, wacky spectacle of this cinematic masterpiece.