John Wick is back and you know what to expect! The action is bigger, the fight scenes are more elaborate, and the killing is…normalized. It is an awesome and fun two-hour and forty-nine-minute joyride that is constantly moving and does not feel nearly that long.
It is crazy to think that in the world of John Wick, after how many bodies he has left in his wake over the last three movies, that anyone would bother even going after him. And yet, this is a popcorn action film in the trustiest since because if you aren’t suspending disbelief and enjoying the ride, you aren’t doing it right.
While it’s normally John Wick against the world, this time he seeks help from old friends who help him reign death and destruction upon anyone in his way as he attempts to kill his way to freedom from the “high table.” It is this comradery that sets this film apart from its predecessors. For the first time since the first film, we actually get character development and emotional investment for Wick and his friends.
Most notably joining Keanu Reeves this time is Donnie Yen of Ip Man fame. Channeling traditional martial arts films, Yen plays a blind master assassin in his own right, who like Wick, was retired, but was brought back to save his family and hunt down his friend John Wick. Fans of his martial arts films will recognize Yen’s movement that is both graceful and precise as a dance. Additionally, Hiroyuki Sanada (Bullet Train, The Twilight Samurai), brings his strong and stoic presence as a loyal friend to help John Wick, despite the potential danger it will bring to him and his family. While Shamier Anderson (Race, Bruiser) introduces a new character to the series, tracking John Wick to score a payday. These three delightfully add story depth to series mainstays Ian McShane and Laurence Fishburne as we dive deeper into the lore of “everything under the table.”
Opposite them, Bill Skarsgard, plays a ranking Marquis, given the power to hunt down Wick and make an example of all those who fail to “serve under the high table.” He is exactly the type of pompous and ruthless villain that we all love to hate. It is through the exhibition of his power and arrogance that we learn more about the lore and rules of this world of assassins, which is intriguing and entertaining as John Wick must navigate not only people trying to kill him but also the “old rules” on his path to freedom.
These fresh faces and story elements help the John Wick series to feel more enjoyable than ever, while, fans of martial arts films, samurai films, and a certain 1979 cult classic, will recognize the various homage paid in John Wick Chapter 4. Making this the best addition to the series since the first film.
4.5 out of 5 stars