The Way Home: Our Review of ‘John Wick: Chapter 4’

Posted in Movies, Theatrical by - March 24, 2023
The Way Home: Our Review of ‘John Wick: Chapter 4’

The dish of revenge is best served cold…

With our collective “Wick-Mas” at hand (feel free to # it), John Wick: Chapter 4 is an unbridled marathon of action that takes us to a place much more simplistic then we could have imagined…and it’s kind of glorious.

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.

While we can’t unequivocally say if this installment is the end of this universe, we have to admit that John Wick: Chapter 4 is clearing turning a page into a larger existence with this myriad of characters.

Stuntman turned Director Chad Stahelski certainly has a feel for the material now because the reality is now that it’s all about the end goal for our dog loving hero, the finish line one way or another is actually within site.

They could have easily called this film John Wick Kills Everyone because that’s the idea and much of the narrative unfolds like John is one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, because it’s never a question “if” it’s always a “when” he’s going to get what he wants and that comes clear in minute one of the film.

As expected the action sequences are eye popping, neon filled and exceptionally well-paced because as wall to wall as it all is, it never feels exhausting until it’s supposed to.  No spoilers but there’s a sequence at the Montmartre stairs in Paris that makes you FEEL how hard John Wick is working and it’s just amazing because even more so in this installment then in the previous iterations…this universe owns it’s insanity, and it’s actively making us bathe in it.

Where the script does have some basic moments it makes up for it by giving us some fun throwbacks in the franchise and even in cinema history as John jumps through all the necessary hurdles.  In its way it’s a love letter to action cinema throughout time.  From Hong Kong to Hollywood and everything in-between and it’s anchored by someone who understands that he’s not playing the prototypical action star, he’s the 21st Century version of ‘The Man With No Name’.

No matter how good he has ever been with a gun in his hand, Keanu Reeves has always managed to imbue the role of John Wick with an actual soul, and while it is even more world weary then you’d expect it has never been more front and center and ultimately that’s the point.

Audiences didn’t fall in love with the character for his general bad-assery, but because he wanted to go above and beyond for his loved ones who were wronged.  That’s what makes the character so relatable and at the end of the day, so very much human.  Much like Neo in The Matrix and dare we even say even as Ted ‘Theodore’ Logan in the Bill & Ted franchise, this is one of those roles that Reeves will forever be attached with…and that’s not a bad thing.

While the expected supporting players like Ian McShane, Lawrence Fishburne and the late, great Lance Reddick deliver the fine work you’d expect in a film like this it’s the new characters that genuinely shine here.

Bill Skarsgård has quite simply never been creepier or more sinister then he is here as the Marquis (and that’s saying something) as he makes the most for the most perilous obstacle between Wick and his freedom yet.  Donnie Yen continues to shine in the opportunities that Hollywood gives him as the mirror to John Wick and yet another weary soul with a talent for killing who is beholden to others for nefarious reasons.  Both Reeves and Yen play off each other well and I’d really love to see another movie all together with these two men in the leads.

Marko Zokor and Scott Adkins give us some bad guys with flare while Canada’s own Shamier Anderson as ‘Tracker’ could potentially carry a future franchise on his own.  Veterans Hiroyuki Sanada and Clancy Brown bring some necessary gravitas to it all while Aimee Kwan shows potential as a female lead we could ultimately see more of.

At the end of the day, John Wick: Chapter 4 serves purposes other than the obvious of being a kinetic action ride that is easily one of the best films of the year.

While we may or may not see more of John Wick in our lives, this film successfully expands this universe to all for more stories to be told and more importantly it gives our wayward hero the peace he has so rightly earned and the revenge to which he was so rightly entitled.

You never F*** with another man’s (or woman’s) dog.

  • Release Date: 3/24/2023
This post was written by
David Voigt is a Toronto based writer with a problem and a passion for the moving image and all things cinema. Having moved from production to the critical side of the aisle for well over 10 years now at outlets like, Criticize This, Dork Shelf (Now That Shelf), to.Night Newspaper he’s been all across his city, the country and the continent in search of all the news and reviews that are fit to print from the world of cinema.
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