The fourth offering from John Wick definitely cements the franchise amongst the most influential action films of all time. Some critics are already citing it as one of the best action movies ever made, and definitely the best since Mad Max: Fury Road. The movie also raked in an impressive debut of $73.8 million domestic opening, a worldwide opening of $137.8 million, and Rs. 26 crores in India for the opening weekend (a rare feat for a movie within this genre), all of these numbers being the highest ever for any movie from the series.
Moreover, it earned a rare ‘A’ score on Cinemascore, and a 94% certified fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, consistently improving in every possible aspect since the first movie. It follows the same path as the bounty on John’s head, which keeps on increasing with every installment of the film. And that has been the plot of the movies thus far, where John kills his way through a wave of assassins. But this time, John’s fight is against the High Table, which is detrimental because not even The Continental can help John. Reeves’ character also takes on the trope of the cursed hero or anti-hero, as everything he touches, simply dies, a sentiment echoed by both John’s allies and enemies alike.
It’s Stylish As Hell
Action movies have been known for creating breathtaking sequences or close combat fights which are a total adrenaline rush. Chapter 4 does a mix of both – the action scenes are choreographed to perfection, almost revisiting the times of Kill Bill: Volume 1 and Kill Bill: Volume 2. Viewers of the previous installments will be glad to find John still throwing guns at people or using a pencil to drain the life out of someone, or even the iconic scenes of reloading a gun right in the middle of a deadly combat. And while the audiences have had a healthy dose of creative kills thanks to the bloody generosity of Scream VI, John Wick: Chapter 4 makes it look like the work of a kid.
The movie’s action chases just keep getting better and better as John jumps from one city to another, from one friend to another enemy, and to a long forgotten family where he returns as the prodigal son.The beloved character also returns alongside familiar faces like The Bowery King and of course, the enigmatic Winston. Also, there are more dogs. In terms of action sequences, two of them stood out above the rest, although pretty much the entire movie itself will make the cut if we start listing the best action scenes from the past one decade in Watchmojo style.
A couple of the standout scenes involves the camera hovering over an abandoned building while John is fighting a wave of assassins with an improved weapon, and another involves John fighting another wave of assassins while trying to climb a pretty long staircase, and falling all the way down to rock bottom. The shifting of the thin line between who is John’s enemy and who is his ally also makes for an exciting watch. As much as you want to root for John, you also realize that this cruel world doesn’t leave much choice.
There are also fun facts about the movie, for instance, John Wick saying just the word yeah in itself is a huge emotion. And it does help that guns speak more than any actor in the movie, with Reeves himself speaking barely 380 words throughout a runtime clocking in at almost three hours. Or people getting notification about Chapter 4 via a cryptic text message, an absolutely amazing reference to the text messaging system employed in the movie.
The Stakes Are Higher
Through the three movies centered on Baba Yaga aka John Wick, the audience has been accustomed to suspend the disbelief that this assassin who has been wronged will die before taking his revenge. The higher stakes provide a space where the audience doesn’t necessarily need to suspend their disbelief as this time: The Continental is at stake! And so are the friends of John, all of whom play an important part in the movie. Rina Sawayama’s Akira absolutely steals the show with some of the most creatively choreographed action sequences that make the use of the bow.
Sawayama also contributed to the song Eye for an Eye, released along with the official soundtrack for the movie. Akira fuels the narrative of revenge through the notion of an eye for an eye which has become the franchise staple. We do hope that Akira takes on for a new spin off, diving into her story. Rounding the cast off is Bill Skarsgård as the Marquis Vincent de Gramont, a notorious villain for the series. All the scenes involving Marquis are icing on the cake and progressively keep getting better and better as the cat and mouse chase between John Wick and Marquis ensues.
It is very surprising that even in the third sequel to this film series, the team behind the movie are able to manage a well fleshed out villain with little to no backstory and keep the audience at the edge of their seat. Another welcome addition is Caine, played by one of Hong Kong’s greatest action stars, Donnie Yen. And without spoiling it, the ‘last duel’ adds substance and fun to this gorgeous movie. Following the commercial and critical success of John Wick 4, all eyes are set on the upcoming spin-off, Ballerina, starring Ana de Armas as a vengeful assassin, the plot of which is set between the events of John Wick 3: Parabellum and John Wick 4. Also, premiering this year is the limited series The Continental, and of course, talks of John Wick 5 are on the table already.
With John Wick: Chapter 4, Keanu Reeves is in service for a stylish, bloody, and action filled murder-spree spectacle and we’re here for it.
John Wick: Chapter 4 is playing in theaters near you. The movie is also playing in IMAX. It will be streaming on Amazon Prime in May, 2023.