John Wick: Chapter 4 contains much more action than the previous parts, with fight scenes sometimes lasting up to ten minutes. As a result, the film feels a bit on the long side at times, yet we were able to enjoy almost every moment due to the star-studded cast.
This is a spoiler-free review of John Wick: Chapter 4
A cult franchise
I unfortunately never saw the first installment in the series of John Wick films in theaters. At first I let the film pass me by, only to dive in later. The world of John Wick gripped me so much that I decided to watch all subsequent parts on the big screen. After all, these films deserve that, including Chapter 4. The films are packed with hardcore action, but the sound is also much better in the cinema. This is immediately evident in the first scene of John Wick: Chapter 4, where Wick hits a wooden pole as a training form. This thumps through the theater so loudly that you immediately sit on the edge of your seat as a viewer, and you won’t get away from that for the rest of the film.
John Wick: Chapter 4 is a lot larger in scale than the previous parts and this is well reflected in the adventure that the character played by Keanu Reeves goes on. He travels all over the world, passing beautiful locations such as Berlin, Osaka and Paris. Sometimes Wick takes flight and is chased by numerous hordes of enemy troops. In other scenarios, Wick is the hunter himself and has a specific goal in mind that will be achieved no matter what. In his path, Wick encounters greater dangers in addition to the regular “mobs,” as well as friends from sometimes unexpected quarters. In the fourth part of the franchise, he takes on characters such as Caine (Donnie Yen), Marquis (Bill Skarsgård) and Killa (Scott Adkins), among others. Each of these actors make a great impression. In fact, the cast is high level across the board and it seems extremely carefully chosen. For example, musician Rina Sawayama and Hiroyuki Sanada (known from Westworld, among others) also play incredibly interesting roles in the part of the film where Wick travels to Japan.
The world over Wick
When you travel the world with John Wick to the various locations and as a viewer you are not busy with a fight scene for a while, you have a short time to enjoy the beautiful pictures that the fourth part of John Wick sometimes shows. Since the second part in the franchise, the cinematography has been done by Dan Laustsen. For purists perhaps not an unfamiliar name, as he also worked on the beautifully designed The Shape of Water. Together with Chad Stahelski – and, of course, other crew members – this appears to be an impeccable team. Stahelski has a background as a stuntman and martial arts choreographer, but with John Wick he shows time and again that he has much more up his sleeve. Those action scenes, of course, are notorious and famous for being better than in any other action movie.
This is no different in Chapter 4. Once again they pull out everything from what we have seen in the previous parts and, of course, they also try to surprise the viewer with new stunts and fights. This occasionally results in fights that, to my mind, sometimes last up to 15 minutes. Sometimes there is so much action that it could be a little less, otherwise the impact is a bit off. Fortunately, as I said, there is plenty to enjoy outside the action scenes as well. John Wick: Chapter 4 distinguishes itself by its beautiful use of colors. Especially the part in Osaka, but also the club in Berlin are bizarrely beautiful. By the way, for those familiar with the Berlin club scene, there is another excellent cameo in the film.
Donnie Yen steals the show
During those long action scenes, the show is regularly stolen by Donnie Yen, who I had high hopes for beforehand. Yen can be called a true martial arts legend in the film world and it is only logical that he has a pretty big role in John Wick 4. In the somewhat longer action scenes, he mostly gets the chance to show what he can do and he does so with verve. In addition, his character goes through an interesting development in the film, about which we will not reveal too much. However, we would like to opt for more films with Donnie Yen in the universe of John Wick, perhaps even a spin-off of our own. That’s how badly he stole our hearts in the latest installment of the franchise.
Of course, there are some wonderful scenes for Keanu Reeves himself. For example, there is a scene with a Dragon’s Breath shotgun that will be remembered by viewers of the film for some time to come. You are genuinely not ready to see this, but once you have seen it you just want more of it. At one point a scene is filmed from above, giving the viewer the idea that John Wick has entered into a crossover with Hotline Miami. This is simultaneously supported by a delightful electronic soundtrack that keeps thumping along nicely.
John Wick: Chapter 4 lasts 2 hours and 49 minutes, which is secretly a bit on the long side. Especially at the beginning of the film then you feel like certain sections should have been a bit shorter. The time is taken incredibly liberally to set up the plot and introduce a new villain. Later in the film, another bad guy is introduced in the form of Killa. Less time is taken for that, but it is actually just as effective. In the world of John Wick, not much explanation is needed and the pace can be a bit faster. From about halfway through the film, there is little to complain about. The steam train is up and thundering along at breakneck speed until it comes to an abrupt end with the credits. The film has just finished and we already can’t wait for any continuation of the story.
John Wick: Chapter 4 raps together a star-studded cast and tackles everything just a little more grandly than in the previous parts. Although the action scenes and the film itself are a little too long as a result, it remains an unparalleled recipe that we can’t get enough of. The star-studded cast provides some excellent friends and foes for Keanu Reeves’ character. Donnie Yen in particular as Caine manages to steal the show. In addition to the action sequences, which go a step further than in Parabellum, viewers can also enjoy the excellent cinematography. Wick travels part of the world in the latest installment of the franchise, and the scenes in Osaka and Berlin are particularly memorable.