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Welcome back, Mr. Wick. Four years after " John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum ," director Chad Stahelski and Keanu Reeves have returned to theaters with "John Wick: Chapter 4," a film that was supposed to hit theaters almost two full years ago. Trust me. It was worth the wait. Stahelski and writers Shay Hatten and Michael Finch have distilled the mythology-heavy approach of the last couple chapters with the streamlined action of the first film, resulting in a final hour here that stands among the best of the genre. 

"John Wick: Chapter 4" opens with its title character (Reeves) on the run again as the villainous Powers That Be known as the High Table get in his way. The main villain of the series is the Marquis de Gramont ( Bill Skarsgård ), a leader of the High Table who keeps raising the bounty on Wick's head while he also cleans up the messes left behind, including potentially eliminating Winston Scott ( Ian McShane ) and his part of this nefarious organization. The opening scenes take Wick to Japan, where he seeks help from the head of the Osaka Continental, Shimazu ( Hiroyuki Sanada ), and runs afoul of a blind High Table assassin named Caine (the badass Donnie Yen ). Laurence Fishburne pops up now and then as Wick's Q when the killer needs a new bulletproof suit, and Shamier Anderson plays an assassin who seems to be waiting for the price on Wick's head to hit the right level for him to get his payday. More than the last couple of films, the plot here, despite the movie's epic runtime (169 minutes), feels refreshingly focused again. Here's John Wick. Here are the bad guys. Go!

And go they do. Stahelski and his team construct action sequences in a manner that somehow feels both urgent and artistically choreographed at the same time. Filmmakers who over-think their shoot-outs often land on a tone that feels distant, lacking in stakes, and feeling more stylish than substantial. The great action directors figure out how to film combat in a way that doesn't sacrifice tension for showmanship. The action sequences in "John Wick: Chapter 4" are long battles, gun-fu shoot-outs between John and dozens of people who underestimate him, but they have so much momentum that they don't overstay their welcome. 

They also have wonderfully defined stakes. At one point in the film, John and an enemy decide on the parameters of a battle, including time, weapons, and variables. But this is really true of all the major action scenes, in which we very clearly understand what John needs to do and who he needs to go through to "finish the level." The simplicity of objectives allows for complex choreography. We know what needs to happen for John to keep pushing forward as he has since the beginning of the first film. So much modern action is cluttered with characters or muddled objectives, but the "Wick" films have such brilliant clarity of intention that they can then have fun within those simple constructs.

So much fun. The choreography of the action here can be simply breathtaking. I loved how often the world goes on around Wick and his unfortunate combatants. In a sequence that would be the best in almost any other recent action movie (but is like 3 rd or 4 th here), Wick has to battle a makeup-covered Scott Adkins and his army of unlucky idiots in a crowded nightclub. The dancers barely notice. They sometimes part a little bit to let them through, but they don't stop and stare. With water pouring into the club, the writhing, and dancing bodies make for such a visually inventive backdrop. Later, in one of my favorite action sequences of all time, Wick and his predators battle in the traffic circle around the Arc de Triomphe. The cars don't stop. In fact, it feels like they speed up. As shots ring out in the streets in this film, no one opens the window to see what the hell is going on. The world outside of Wick and the mythology of this world almost feels like they can't even see the legendary assassin and the hundred or so people he ends up killing. It's a fascinating, visually striking choice.

And then there's what I would call Action Geography. So many people have tried to mimic the frenetic approach of the "Bourne" movies, and the results have often been more incoherent than not. The amazing cinematographer Dan Laustsen (a regular Guillermo del Toro collaborator on " The Shape of Water ," " Nightmare Alley ," and more) works with Stahelski to make sure the action here is clean and brutal, never confusing. The stunt work is phenomenal, and, again, the shoot-outs have the feel of dance choreography more than the bland plot-pushing of so many studio films. There's just so much grace and ingenuity whenever Wick goes to work. 

Of course, a great cast helps too. Reeves might have fewer lines in this movie than any so far in the franchise, but he completely sells Wick's commitment while also imbuing him with emotional exhaustion that adds more gravity to this chapter. The vengeful Wick of the first film is a different one than the survivor three movies later, and Reeves knows exactly what this character needs. So many performers would add unnecessary touches to a character that's already this popular, but Reeves is smart about streamlining this performance to fit the film around him. It also allows for a few supporters to shine in different performance registers, especially Yen and Anderson. The legendary Yen is fantastic here, not just in combat but the moments in between. Most people who know who Donnie Yen is won't be surprised to hear that he fits in here perfectly, but he's even better than you expect. Anderson also gives a fun performance as a man who just seems to be a mercenary waiting for the right price, but fans of the series will note from the beginning that this badass has a dog, and this universe values puppies and people who love them.

The only minor flaw in Wick's armor here is a bit of narrative self-indulgence. There are a few scenes, especially early, when it feels like a beat is going on a bit too long, and I do think there's a slightly tighter (if you can say 150 minutes would be tight) version of this film that's simply perfect.

Fans won't care. Much has been made of what brings people out to theaters in the post-pandemic, streaming-heavy world, and this is a movie that should be seen with a cheering, excited crowd. It has that contagious energy we love in action films—a whole room of people marveling at the ingenuity and intensity of what's unfolding in front of them. It's a movie that's meant to be watched loud and big. John Wick has fought hard for it.

This review was filed from the North American premiere at the 2023 SXSW Film Festival. "John Wick: Chapter 4" opens on March 24 th .

Brian Tallerico

Brian Tallerico

Brian Tallerico is the Managing Editor of RogerEbert.com, and also covers television, film, Blu-ray, and video games. He is also a writer for Vulture, The Playlist, The New York Times, and GQ, and the President of the Chicago Film Critics Association.

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John Wick: Chapter 4 movie poster

John Wick: Chapter 4 (2023)

169 minutes

Keanu Reeves as John Wick

Donnie Yen as Caine

Ian McShane as Winston

Bill Skarsgård as Marquis de Gramont

Laurence Fishburne as Bowery King

Clancy Brown as The Harbinger

Hiroyuki Sanada as Shimazu

Lance Reddick as Charon

Shamier Anderson as Tracker

Rina Sawayama as Akira

Scott Adkins as Killa

Marko Zaror as Chidi

Natalia Tena as Katia

George Georgiou as The Elder

  • Chad Stahelski

Writer (based on characters created by)

  • Derek Kolstad
  • Shay Hatten
  • Michael Finch

Cinematographer

  • Dan Laustsen
  • Evan Schiff
  • Tyler Bates
  • Joel J. Richard

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‘John Wick: Chapter 4’ Review: There Will Be Blood, Yeah

In the latest and longest movie set in Wick World, Keanu Reeves’s titular assassin visits Paris and paints the town red.

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By Manohla Dargis

A vulgar pleasure of the “John Wick” series is that it aestheticizes violence without the usual blah-blah rationales and appeals to conscience. At once basic and off-the-charts nuts, each movie — the fourth opens this week — centers on a laconic assassin with a hazy back story and extraordinary skills. A virtuoso of death, Wick (Keanu Reeves) has his reasons, or so the series insists, but he kills because it is what he does. It’s his thing. “Deserves got nothing to do with it,” as Clint Eastwood says in “Unforgiven.”

Eastwood is in the DNA of the “Wick” series — and in the way Reeves deliberately draws out the word yeah — and so too are Jean-Pierre Melville, Jackie Chan, Buster Keaton, John Woo, Fred Astaire, “ Point Blank ,” the Three Stooges and “ Get Carter .” That said, the overall story is stripped down to the point of minimalism, especially when compared to the average superhero bloat-a-thon. In the first Wick movie, the assassin resumes his bloody ways after gangsters kill his puppy — a gift from his dead wife — and steal his car. Before long, he has antagonized his former employers, a villainous syndicate called the High Table.

Despite its seemingly Hobbesian aspect, Wick World does have rules, and by the second movie, the character is declared “excommunicado,” a word that underscores the High Table’s profile as a shadowy, quasi-religious elite manifestation of absolute power. The conceit of an all-knowing, all-seeing group of underworld puppet-masters is primo movieland conspiracy-theory and very of the moment; it’s silly, nebulously political, and it gives viewers wide latitude to interpret the movie however they prefer — or they can just groove on the plush trappings, exotic locations, exploding heads and bodies in glorious motion.

The series’s director, Chad Stahelski, is a stunt veteran (he’s doubled for Reeves), so he understandably likes to show off bodies as they move — pivot, soar and fall — in space. He uses plenty of close-ups and medium shots, but he also likes to pull back for full-figure framing à la Astaire. This allows you to see and luxuriate in the performers’ physicality, in their grace and steely power, as well as to appreciate the geometry and precision of the fight choreography. This focus underscores the frailty and impermanence of these bodies, their humanness, especially Wick’s as this seemingly invincible man is repeatedly brutalized.

Keanu Reeves in a black suit walks away from two men, also in black, in the background. The sky behind them is a spooky dark green.

Written by Shay Hatten and Michael Finch, “John Wick: Chapter 4” pretty much plays out like the previous movies, though at a generally fast-moving 169 minutes it’s longer. Even so, it rarely drags because there’s relatively little dialogue and down time. For the most part, Wick chases or is chased by other assassins, shooting and stabbing, grappling and grunting in a series of visually distinct, meticulously staged and filmed set pieces. Every so often, he confers with old comrades, notably the sonorous, bassy trio of Ian McShane, Laurence Fishburne and Lance Reddick ( who recently died ), performers who add luster and history to the series with their singular faces, hard-boiled résumés and perfectly tuned arch deliveries.

There are new faces, among them cautious friendlies (Hiroyuki Sanada, Rina Sawayama), sympathetic combatants (Donnie Yen, Shamier Anderson) and another filthy-rich villain (Bill Skarsgard), a Euro-trashy baddie with bespoke glittery suits and a taste for torture and classical music. The series has expanded its New York-centric geographical coordinates, and while it jumps to the Middle East, Japan and Europe, it continues to stick close to its circumscribed template. So, the High Table’s tattooed minions in pencil skirts are back. There’s yet another dog and another elaborate sequence at a crowded dance club (the streets are empty by comparison) but, crucially, still no sign of the modern surveillance state.

The constraints of Wick World put it safely on the side of full-blown fantasy, giving the series the feel of a grim fairy tale. It might seem like a distorted mirror of our world, but what’s notable are all the ways it’s different from ours — not just in its depiction of power but also of violence, which, for all the arterial spray, is as untethered from reality as it is in zombie flicks. When Wick faces off against challengers at the Arc de Triomphe in “Chapter 4,” there are no gendarmes, no blaring sirens or screaming bystanders to interrupt the kinetic flow. There is simply and once again Reeves, the axis who centers this franchise with his grave sincerity, beatific glow and mesmerizing, rooted fighting style, with its heavy-footed solidity and surprising suppleness. No matter what happens, nothing ever feels as poignantly at stake here as Reeves’s own ravaged, beautiful, aging body.

There are offscreen stakes, of course, starting at the box office, but central to this series’ appeal is how it reminds you of the real world — through the years between sequels and Reeves’s gray hairs — even as it remains insistently apart from reality’s messiness, its confusions, existential terrors, corporate overlords and unspeakable ordinary brutality. Life for many in Wick World is, to borrow Hobbes’s formulation, “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short,” but it’s also sentimental and filled with friendships or at least alliances. It’s also reassuringly ordered, never more so than in its violence, which in Wick World is pure, eye-popping, body-shaking, transporting entertainment, something that (to borrow from another philosopher ) has a good beat and you can dance to.

John Wick: Chapter 4 Rated R for the usual bang-bang, stab-stab. Running time: 2 hours 49 minutes. In theaters.

Manohla Dargis has been the co-chief film critic of The Times since 2004. She started writing about movies professionally in 1987 while earning her M.A. in cinema studies at New York University, and her work has been anthologized in several books. More about Manohla Dargis

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‘John Wick: Chapter 4’ Review: Keanu Reeves in a Three-Hour Action Epic That’s Like a Spaghetti Western Meets John Woo in Times Square

It's conceived as a knowingly overstuffed gift to "John Wick" fans, and on that level it succeeds.

By Owen Gleiberman

Owen Gleiberman

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John Wick Chapter 4

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What no one could have anticipated is how well the counterintuitive casting worked. Reeves, an actor who even at his most stoic can’t hide his innate likability, was warmer than the role called for — and that’s just what made it connect. His John Wick was a savage badass looking into the abyss…with a quiver of decency. He started off as a noirish antihero, but with each film the series grew more grandiose, as Wick, his name a reference to his short fuse (but it’s also short for “wicked”), got elevated into a kind of superhero. He didn’t have unearthly powers, but he had the quality of invincibility, which is the only superpower you need. “John Wick: Chapter 2” and “John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum” were styled as pulp revels, built around action set pieces that were now knowingly and gloriously over-the-top. It almost didn’t matter if the plot and dialogue were cut-rate. The fans experienced those scenes like drugs.

“John Wick: Chapter 4” is 2 hours and 49 minutes long, but it has a story that, if it were told more briskly, could fit into an 83-minute potboiler that you might have seen in a grindhouse in 1977. Yet the way that Chad Stahelski , the series’ stuntman-turned-director, has staged it, full of hushed, portentous, ritualistic verbal showdowns that are meant to be hypnotic as they build up to each new action scene, “Chapter 4” feels like the first “John Wick” movie that wants to be a Clint Eastwood spaghetti Western. It’s like Sergio Leone crossed with John Woo as seen in Times Square.

The film completes the series’ cosmology with an elemental revenge-meets-liberation plot. Wick is still chained to his obligation to the High Table, the shadow-world consortium that controls…everything. Because of the high crime he committed at the Continental Hotel (a strict breach of High Table law), it’s as if he’s now under lifetime contract to the devil. But the devil has a face: It’s the Marquis de Gramont, a fascist preppie played by the baby-faced Bill Skarsgård (who’s like the young Matt Damon or Stephen Dorff as the world’s most entitled rich kid). And there’s a way out of the contract. Wick can challenge the Marquis to a duel to the death, which will take place at sunrise in front of the Sacré-Coeur Basilica in Paris.

Is “Chapter 4” too long? You bet it is. At moments, it’s like the action film as liturgical church service. Yet the movie is conceived as a knowingly overstuffed gift to “John Wick” fans, and on that level it succeeds. The Marquis keeps trying to assassinate Wick before the morning of the duel, and this results in several delectable fight sequences. One is set in the middle of the speeding centrifugal traffic that surrounds the Arc de Triomphe, one is shot thrillingly from an overhead doll’s-house view, and then there’s the spectacular climax, which unfolds on the Rue Foyatier in Montmartre, the 222-step stairway that leads to the Basilica. With Wick spinning into action (and, at one point, rolling down the entire flight), it becomes an exhilarating stairway to hell, one that winds up delivering John Wick to the gratifying karmic destination he has spent this series earning.

Reviewed at AMC Lincoln Square, March 8, 2023. MPA Rating: R. Running time: 169 MIN.

  • Production: A Lionsgate release of a Summit Entertainment, Thunder Road Pictures, 87Eleven Productions production. Producers: Basil Iwanyk, Erica Lee, Chad Stahelski. Executive producers: Keanu Reeves, Louise Rosner, David Leitch, Michael Paseornek.
  • Crew: Director: Chad Stahelski. Screenplay: Shay Hatten, Michael French. Camera: Dan Laustsen. Editor: Nathan Orloff. Music: Tyler Bates, Joel J. Richard.
  • With: Keanu Reeves, Donnie Yen, Bill Skarsgård, Laurence Fishburne, Hiroyuki Sanada, Shamier Anderson, Lance Reddick, Rina Sawayama, Scott Adkins, Clancy Brown, Ian McShane, Marko Zazor, Natalia Tena.

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  • Movie Review

John Wick: Chapter 4 is unrelenting in every sense of the word

John wick 4 is a supersized all-you-can-eat buffet of the franchise’s signature dishes: bullet-riddled revenge, teeth-chattering action sequences, and gossamer-thin characters..

By Charles Pulliam-Moore , a reporter focusing on film, TV, and pop culture. Before The Verge, he wrote about comic books, labor, race, and more at io9 and Gizmodo for almost five years.

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Keanu Reeves as John Wick.

Lionsgate’s John Wick movies have always been over-the-top action / thriller joyrides more focused on dazzling you with visceral, expertly choreographed action sequences than trying to tell the most coherent stories about stylish assassins . Director Chad Stahelski’s John Wick: Chapter 4 is no exception. And it abundantly delivers on the franchise’s hallmarks — snazzy guns, lovable dogs, and one very haggard man in black — by picking up right where 2019’s John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum left off.

Were this just any old chapter in the John Wick saga, it’d be fair to call the newest film slightly above average compared to its predecessors — and a testament to how far the franchise has come. But John Wick: Chapter 4 wants to be as monumental and seminal as it is bombastic — aspirations that the feature doesn’t quite manage to achieve despite giving it its best shot.

After three films of simply wanting to be left the hell alone, then wanting revenge, wanting to be left alone some more, and then being forced to go on the run, dog-loving widower and super-assassin John Wick (Keanu Reeves) is tired but still very intent on making sure that the High Table gets what’s coming to it for trying to kill him. John Wick: Chapter 4 presumes Parabellum is still fresh in your mind as it immediately drops you right back into Wick’s jet-setting life of journeying to far-off places and popping off as many shots as it takes until his various targets are chock full of bullet wounds and quite dead.

With Wick still running around the world and demolishing virtually every single person who crosses his path, the High Table’s powers that be have every reason to be scared that he’ll find them and put them in the ground. That fear is what pushes the shadowy organization to start making the bold changes that set John Wick: Chapter 4 ’s story in motion.

new john wick movie review

Though John Wick’s just a man, Chapter 4 leans into the idea of him being the man (in black) — an assassin so clad in plot armor that he simply can’t be killed by conventional means or by following the ancient rules that made the High Table into the thriving operation that it is.

The Marquis Vincent de Gramont (Bill Skarsgård) isn’t just another trained killer gunner for Wick’s head. He’s a high-ranking High Table member who speaks for the entire organization when he lets Wick’s longtime allies Winston Scott (Ian McShane) and Charon (Lance Reddick) know that their ties to him will bring nothing but ruin into their lives. But John Wick: Chapter 4 also frames the Marquis as the High Table’s destructive arbiter of change — an embodiment of the future clashing with the past — and the existential fear he elicits in his fellow killers is one of the more interesting elements of the film.

The Marquis also gives Wick a singular convenient target to focus on as he works toward making the High Table pay for what it’s done to him and giving him back his freedom. But between Wick and the Marquis are hundreds, if not thousands, of trained killers, like blind swordsman Caine (Donnie Yen) dead set on collecting the ever-increasing bounty looming over the excommunicado-ed man’s head.

When Chapter 4 ’s purely focused on detailing how Wick methodically mows down his pursuers, you can feel just how in their elements stuntman-turned-director Stahelski and Reeves are. But in its many moments where the movie’s either building up to or cooling down from its big set pieces, there’s both a wobbliness and a narrative thinness that ends up highlighting how overlong and somewhat repetitive Chapter 4 ultimately feels.

new john wick movie review

While Chapter 4 does eventually pit Wick against the Marquis, it’s only after the former goes on a globe-trekking journey to get all the right tools and make the right alliances to be able to challenge the High Table head-on. Wick’s quest takes him to a Japanese branch of the Continental run by series newcomers Koji Shimazu (Hiroyuki Sanada) and his daughter Akira (Rina Sawayama) — neither of whom know what to make of the mysterious Mr. Nobody (Shamier Anderson), a notebook-toting tracker who travels with a German shepherd.

Because Chapter 4 ’s really about contemplating the future, and because the movie couldn’t just be about Wick taking on the world, all of the new faces are welcome additions. Both Sawayama and Anderson are captivating as two of the movie’s most distinct, personality-forward fighters who — because of their charisma and solid acting choices — stand out in sprawling fight sequences overstuffed with large groups of stunt performers brawling. But John Wick: Chapter 4 spends so much of its 169-minute runtime focused on Wick doing things we’ve seen him do a few times over at this point that few of the movie’s characters end up feeling like real people.

The John Wick movies are about action first, character second, and plot maybe fourth, after tailored suits, but there is so little depth to a lot of the Shay Hatten and Michael Finch script that even John Wick himself sometimes comes across as if he isn’t sure why he’s fighting or how he feels about it. As with the previous John Wick movies, Chapter 4 ’s prolonged fight scenes are kinetic, brutally beautiful odes to the art of stunt work, and each feels crafted with diehard fans of the franchise in mind. But the film’s approach to fan service — letting less action-filled scenes run more than a bit too long and making sure that almost every one of its background fistfights gets ample screen time — has the effect of making John Wick: Chapter 4 feel needlessly drawn out.

new john wick movie review

The ability of the John Wick movies to make you feel the blows as you watch Wick take and dole out beatings is one of the more impressive things about them, and it’s something Chapter 4 ’s able to do well to a point. But the movie is so chock full of battles that feel like they were stuffed into the movie to make it bigger that they start to mean less as the story unfolds and the body count rises.

The movie’s length also has an interesting way of emphasizing just how little John Wick actually says, which has a curious way of making him seem a bit checked out and disengaged from the people around him, who all speak almost exclusively in grim aphorisms. But Reeves’ aloof deadpan does work as a counterbalance to Chapter 4 ’s forays into goofy physical comedy. Some of them work, like a scene involving Wick fighting his way up a flight of stairs and then falling back down it. But others, like Wick’s fight with an obese High Table head from Germany named Killa (portrayed by Scott Adkins in a fat suit), do not — and come across as cringe at best, mean-spirited at worst.

John Wick: Chapter 4 isn’t a movie you casually sit down to watch apropos of nothing. It’s a commitment, both in terms of how long it is and in how invested you really have to be in the idea of John Wick for the film to be engaging. To its credit, John Wick: Chapter 4 does an admirable job of leaving open possibilities for a future filled with stories of some of the movie’s new supporting characters. It comes as a pleasant surprise given how much time this story spends trying to remind you that Wick is the baddest man in town.

John Wick: Chapter 4 also stars Laurence Fishburne, Clancy Brown, Natalia Tena, Marko Zaror, Bridget Moynahan, and George Georgiou. The movie hits theaters on March 24th.

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‘john wick: chapter 4’ review: latest entry in keanu reeves franchise is pure, over-the-top action spectacle.

Donnie Yen, Bill Skarsgard and Scott Adkins are among the newcomers for this new installment of the big-screen series about the hitman who just can't stay successfully retired.

By Frank Scheck

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Keanu Reeves as John Wick in John Wick: Chapter 4.

The creatives behind the John Wick franchise must lose sleep at night thinking how they can outdo themselves with each new installment. If so, it makes a strong case for insomnia, since John Wick: Chapter 4 outdoes its formidable predecessors in nearly every respect.

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“The bloodshed in Osaka was not necessary,” one character observes after a typically violent melee in a luxury hotel that leaves scores dead and the premises practically in ruins. “The bloodshed was the point,” says another. And so it is with this hugely successful series featuring Keanu Reeves as the former hitman who thought he was out, only to be pulled back in, after his beloved puppy was killed in the first film. The bloodshed is the point — or, more accurately, the amazingly choreographed and photographed action sequences that make particular use of the combination of martial arts and gunplay battling known as “gun-fu.” This edition ups the ante further, with an impressively executed car chase/gun battle through the streets of Paris — including around the Arc de Triomphe — that brings “car-fu” into the violent mix.

Things aren’t going too well for the titular character as the film begins, which for him is not unusual. The High Table, that international criminal organization that seems to run the world, is out for his blood. To that end, their representative, the Marquis ( Bill Skarsgard , enjoyably playing a character only slightly less villainous than his Pennywise), puts a huge bounty on his head, attracting such freelance operatives as the Tracker (Shamier Anderson), who doesn’t go anywhere without his loyal, and very lethal, Belgian Malinois. The Marquis also hires the blind but no less dangerous Caine (Hong Kong superstar Donnie Yen ), a former friend of Wick’s who only accepts the assignment because the High Table will kill his daughter if he doesn’t.

Newcomers to the series would do well to do some research beforehand, because as the above summary indicates, mythology is a strong element. It could be argued that, like so many franchises dealing with fantasy worlds, the creators have gotten carried away with their convoluted constructs. I won’t make that argument, since I consider the elaborate world the John Wick films have created, which looks so much like ours, to be one of its most delicious elements. But you couldn’t blame repeat viewers watching the film later on via streaming for fast-forwarding through the talky parts to get to the action.

To recount the highlights of those elaborately staged set pieces would take up too much space, because there are so damn many of them. (Fourteen in all, according to the filmmakers. I can’t vouch for accuracy, since I lost count.) Besides the aforementioned car chase and hotel battle featuring guns, swords, bows and arrows, and a large variety of improvised weapons (a Wick specialty), there’s an amazing fight scene set in a water-drenched, multi-level nightclub featuring hundreds of revelers who barely notice the face-off between Wick and the gold-toothed Killa. The latter is played by action movie star and former MMA fighter Scott Adkins, amusingly outfitted with prosthetics and a huge bodysuit that somehow doesn’t hamper his fighting skills.

Director Chad Stahelski , who helmed all the previous films, and his formidable stunt team have outshone their previous work, and that’s saying something. These sequences play like the great dance numbers in old MGM musicals, complete with incredibly complicated, lengthy continuous shots that feature the full bodies of the performers rather than kinetically edited snippets of a gun here or a limb there. They’re so virtuosic you practically want to stand up and applaud when each one is over.   

Unlike so many films set in exotic locales that deliver a few establishing shots of local landmarks before filming in nondescript spots somewhere in Canada, John Wick: Chapter Four uses its many locations in Paris and Berlin to fantastic effect. A particular hoot are the scenes involving the dandyishly dressed Marquis, who only seems to conduct his business in such venues as the Paris Opera House and the Louvre, both of which he seems to have at his personal disposal.

Reeves, at one point outfitted with a Kevlar suit and shirt that enables him to get shot seemingly thousands of times without getting hurt (he uses the lapel like Dracula’s cape), commits so thoroughly to the role’s insane physical demands that he should get an award, if not for acting, then merely surviving. But he plays Wick so perfectly that he manages to rouse the audience merely with a passionately expressed “Yeah!”

Running nearly three hours, John Wick: Chapter 4 can certainly be accused of being too long. But I doubt many fans will be complaining.

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‘John Wick: Chapter 4’ Review: The Best Action Blockbuster Since ‘Fury Road’

Rafael motamayor.

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The “John Wick” franchise has evolved from a small-scale tale of revenge for the death of a wife and the killing of a do  to a globe-trotting epic that spans continents, dozens of characters, and an intricate mythology. In its fourth chapter, director Chad Stahelski and star Keanu Reeves bring this franchise back to its roots while expanding the world and the story to bigger and bolder places. The result is not only the best movie in the franchise, but the best American action blockbuster since George Miller’s “Mad Max: Fury Road.”

After going to war with essentially the entire world, and causing the deaths of hundreds of people, “Chapter 4” finally starts pondering the question of just how far John Wick is willing to go for revenge, how many people close to him he’s willing to endanger, and whether it was all worth it. At this point, this is no longer about the killing of his wife and dog, it’s about burning down a system that always resented Wick for abandoning it.

The problem is that now, John Wick’s friends and acquaintances are paying the price of his little insurrection. This starts with the closure and then destruction of the Continental Hotel by the enigmatic High Table, who have now resorted to hiring The Marquis. This is Bill Skarsgård doing his best French Joker, playing the Marquis as a ruthless, often hilarious, always chaotic and intelligent villain.

Like with every film in the series, “ John Wick: Chapter 4 ” adds to its ludicrously complex mythology, introducing new rules to the High Table’s command, new sections of the franchise’s secret world of assassins, and new unique characters. There’s Shamier Anderson’s Mr. Nobody, a tracker who knows exactly where John Wick will be next but waits patiently until his bounty is large enough to be worth it to him, and who is always accompanied by a faithful (and scene-stealer) German Shepherd. While the film goes bigger in scope, it also manages to stay fairly grounded in the idea of relationships, focusing on John Wick and his allies and friends, such as Winston — who take on a larger role this time around — or Wick’s former friend, Caine.

John Wick Chapter 4

Caine is the best character in the film, with Donnie Yen bringing his martial arts superstardom to the “John Wick” universe with an intimidating yet charismatic blind assassin with a similar backstory to Wick, who is forced to hunt him at the request of the High Table. Even when he’s not fighting, Yen steals every scene he’s in, even by just slurping on noodles while his henchmen die all around him, or when he uses Wifi-controlled doorbells to track his enemies.

Creator Derek Kolstad steps down as the screenwriter of the film, leaving scribe duties entirely to the co-writer of the previous entry in the franchise, Shay Hatten, as well as Michael Finch. Despite the long running time, “John Wick: Chapter 4” has impeccable pacing. It never drags, but feels tightly focused, and manages to develop even the new supporting cast, like Rina Sawayama’s assassin Akira — a standout — or Scott Adkins having the time of his life as a German assassin covered in heavy prosthetics. It also helps that this chapter in the story is almost non-stop action, having each of the film’s three acts revolving around breathtaking set piece after breathtaking set piece — each with its own enemies, weapons, and sets.

Indeed, the best way to describe “John Wick: Chapter 4” is that it often feels like watching “Mad Max: Fury Road” and marveling at how they pulled that movie off without killing half the crew. As mentioned, each set takes advantage of the different locations and crews to deliver wholly unique fight scenes, and like in every movie of the franchise, it continues to be a delight to see Keanu Reeves’ John Wick constantly be out of breath, knocked down, and then beaten up before he stands back up. The last arc, in particular, should be placed in the Louvre, with a fight in the middle of a transited Arc de Triomphe.

And yet, as cool as it is to see a vulnerable John Wick, he still needs a few gadgets. Clear among them, however, is his superpowered magical suit that seems to completely deflect bullets, which turns the characters into superheroes about as actually vulnerable as a cartoon character. It never stops being a bit too ridiculous to see these assassins cover their face with their suits and just not take any damage — just as John Wick is now apparently immune to pain from being hit by a car — but it is easy to let this slide when the action scenes are so good.

Returning cinematographer Dan Laustsen continues to really understand and utilize neon blues and reds, but he also gives us an incredible fight done as a one-liner with an overhead shot that makes the scene look like the “Hotline Miami” video game.

We’re four movies in, and about to get spin-offs. This is a movie that looks not forward toward some cash-grab sequel, but toward the past and how we got here. Whether he gets out alive or dead, John Wick has to start thinking about where this quest leads, where the road built on all the dead bodies he’s been laying in front of him leads. The answer is surprisingly meditative and poignant, one that makes this the most emotionally resonant movie of the franchise.

The “John Wick” saga has changed and evolved throughout the years, For this film, there is no denying how it has made Chad Stahelski one of our best action filmmakers, and how the franchise gave Keanu yet another career-redefining role. It’s been a wild ride, and one of the best and most consistent movie series ever. No matter where the roads lead, however, “I’m thinking John Wick is back.”

“John Wick: Chapter 4” premiered at the 2023 SXSW Film Festival. Lionsgate will release it in theaters on Friday, March 24.

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John Wick: Chapter 4 Review: Better Than Ever with Keanu Reeves vs. Donnie Yen

Four movies in, John Wick star Keanu Reeves and director Chad Stahelski are still finding ways to surprise us.

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Keanu Reeves in John Wick: Chapter 4

I’ve had a sort of Star Trek thing going on with the John Wick franchise : the odd-numbered films have never fully impressed us, while the even-numbered John Wick : Chapter 2 was a dazzling tour de force that elevated the series to a whole new level of action filmmaking. So I’m happy to report that the odd-even rule continues to be in effect. John Wick: Chapter 4 is a frequently astonishing epic that moves the story forward from the relative wheel-spinning of Chapter 3 , using its whopping two-hour-and-49-minute runtime to deliver more stunning action, a heavier dose of humor, and even some moments of reflection and character development that may make the pace flag a little but ultimately provide satisfaction.

The film, once again directed by Chad Stahelski and of course starring Keanu Reeves as the title assassin/avenging angel of death, also brings John’s story to a possible conclusion of sorts, although there’s just enough ambiguity to the proceedings to leave the door open for further adventures. But first, there’s the story at hand to get through, which opens with the bounty on John’s head continuing to rise as the High Table—the sort of Illuminati of crime organizations around the world—still wants our hero dead for breaking its rules and doing his best to wrest his freedom from their reign.

John, however, has just about had enough. After a brief opening training session and the delivery of a new suit by returning underground crime lord The Bowery King ( Laurence Fishburne ), John takes the fight to the High Table in shocking fashion, launching a chain of events that not only keeps him squarely in the sights of that still-unseen governing body but also has dangerous repercussions for New York Continental manager Winston (Ian McShane) and his loyal concierge Charon (Lance Reddick).

The High Table’s latest counter-attack against John and his dwindling roster of allies is spearheaded by the Marquis de Gramont (Bill Skarsgård, channeling some of the mirthful, dead-eyed malevolence that made him so effective as Pennywise in It ), who has a vast wealth and armies of killers at his disposal, yet still sends two more deadly adversaries in search of John. One is a fringe assassin known only as The Tracker (Shamier Anderson), whose old-school tactics and canine companion belie a laser-like focus on claiming the bounty, while the other is Caine (Donnie Yen), an old friend of John’s who’s been forced back into the High Table’s employ via threats to his daughter.

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Once the game is fully afoot, the film takes John from New York City—where most of the saga has been thus far set—to locales such as Jordan, Berlin, Osaka, and Paris, the latter of which features three jaw-dropping fight/chase sequences that are as captivating for their humor as their stylized choreography. Through it all remains Stahelski’s ability to map out the action in fresh new ways.

Also joining the festivities this time are legendary Japanese actor/martial arts master Hiroyuki Sanada as Shimazu, manager of the Osaka Continental and another old friend of John’s, Rina Sawayama as Akira, Shimazu’s daughter and concierge, and an unrecognizable Scott Adkins as Killa, a massive, grotesque German gangster who, naturally, has a bone to pick with John as well. Clancy Brown ( The Shawshank Redemption ) also appears as the Harbinger, who represents the High Table and gives orders that take the story through some surprising turns.

While all the cast acquit themselves well—McShane is dependably cynical, Skarsgård is deliciously evil, Brown is sinister and magisterial, and Adkins definitively steals his entire section of the movie—the standout out is Donnie Yen. Although it’s a little jarring to see Yen once again play a blind warrior-type after his high-profile turn in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story seven (!) years ago, Caine is one of the more fascinating creations in the John Wick character roster.

World-weary, reluctant to spring into action, but possessed of effortless poise and grace, Caine is clearly conflicted by his assignment and projects a deep sadness over the turn his life has taken as well as a fierce devotion to protecting those he loves. Yen is sensational, imbuing Caine with a subtle depth that recalls Tony Leung’s underrated work as Xu Wenwu in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings .

In addition to his impeccable physical skills, Yen brings a gravitas to his role that is matched by fellow vet Sanada, whose own long, distinguished career has brought him to a place where his mere presence is a bonus. As for their leading man, even after his own long career, Reeves may not have quite the range and depth of these legendary actors, but there’s a sense here that he’s always working on upping his game, and the script gives him plenty of moments to do just that.

As we mentioned, John Wick: Chapter 4 is easily the lengthiest film in the series, and that extra space both acts as a hindrance and an opportunity: The former because it does tend to slow the pace of what has been a reliably fast-moving saga, and the latter because it gives the characters and filmmakers (and us) a chance to pause, catch a few breaths, and add more texture to an already strangely rich universe.

But the three most appealing elements (besides the cast) of the John Wick franchise are all present and accounted for: the surreal nature of the world of John, the Continental, and the High Table, a reality that exists hidden in the shadows of ours and never explains itself too much; the sly humor that permeates the film, letting us know that the filmmakers are self-aware of how far they push this heightened reality; and the action/fight scenes that are the series’ trademark, which also push the boundaries of reality while dazzling us with their structure, composition, and geography.

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It’s true that John, his allies, and his enemies are operating just one level below that of superheroes these days (he’s been wearing Kevlar suits since the second film), and that it takes a lot to keep them down, which is best represented in a genuinely hilarious scene that finds John doggedly trying to climb hundreds of steps to reach a plaza—only to be sent tumbling down. That scene, along with a gripping set piece at the Arc de Triomphe traffic circle in Paris during which a staggering amount of fighters weave in, out, over, and under a relentless onslaught of oncoming vehicles, has a decidedly over-the-top tone that incorporates aspects of Tex Avery and Sam Raimi (play a little game during the traffic circle sequence and count just how many times John collides with a car).

On the other hand, another scene in which Stahelski takes a bird’s-eye view of a labyrinthine Paris apartment as John and his enemies battle their way through that—complete with a weapon that fires incendiary bullets—is breathtaking in its expertly staged anarchy.

It’s moments like these, plus the highly stylized sets, costumes, and performances, that keep the John Wick franchise alive and fresh, and with this chapter, Stahelski, Reeves, and company have not only earned the right to stretch things out a bit, but they give the story a natural and almost intimate climax. How you interpret that ending and where things go from here will remain, like John himself and his reality-adjacent world, an enigma for now, although you should stay all the way through the end credits for one possible hint.

John Wick: Chapter 4 opens in theaters on March 24.

Don Kaye

Don Kaye | @donkaye

Don Kaye is an entertainment journalist by trade and geek by natural design. Born in New York City, currently ensconced in Los Angeles, his earliest childhood memory is…

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John Wick: Chapter 4 First Reactions: Pure Adrenaline, Full of Insane Set Pieces and Great Characters

Journalists on social media say keanu reeves is as good as ever, director chad stahelski takes the action to another level, and donnie yen is a scene-stealer..

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Here’s what critics are saying about John Wick: Chapter 4 :

How does it compare to the franchise?

John Wick: Chapter 4 is everything you expect from a John Wick movie. –  Sean Mulvihill, Mulviews
Chapters 1-3 world-built [so] Chapter 4 could run with all of it. An epic big screen blast. CINEMA! –  Brandon Davis, ComicBook.com
I get a kick out of how the franchise continues to find creative ways to turn mundane objects into deadly weapons. –  Kirsten Acuna, Insider
A soaring, searing, scorching chapter in the saga. –  Courtney Howard, Fresh Fiction
John Wick: Chapter 4 continues with the visceral and brutal action. We finally get the conclusion to the story. –  John Nguyen, Nerd Reactor

Kean Reeves in John Wick: Chapter 4 (2023)

(Photo by ©Lionsgate)

Is it going to be hard to top this year?

John Wick: Chapter 4 is, at least from a technical POV, one of the greatest Hollywood action movies ever made… It’s a towering artistic achievement. –  Scott Mendelson, The Wrap
John Wick: Chapter 4 is the best movie I’ve seen in ages! –  Vanessa Armstrong, Slashfilm
John Wick: Chapter 4 is action cinema at its finest. –  Simon Thompson, The Playlist
John Wick: Chapter 4 is an action-packed, bloody, kill-fest, and that’s what makes it good! –  Therese Lacson, Collider
The wildest time you’ll have at the movies this year. A pure adrenaline rush. –  Courtney Howard, Fresh Fiction
John Wick: Chapter 4 is a really great time at theaters. This is what we head out to the movies to see. –  Kirsten Acuna, Insider

Did director Chad Stahelski add anything new?

Chad Stahelski also upped his game and dropped one of my favorite action scenes, ever. You’ll know it. –  Brandon Davis, ComicBook.com
Lots of surprises in this one that’s going to deliver a divisive ending. –  Kirsten Acuna, Insider

Kean Reeves in John Wick: Chapter 4 (2023)

How is the action?

Stunning. –  Brandon Davis, ComicBook.com
It’s visually gorgeous with stunningly complicated and creative setpieces. I honestly don’t know how they safely did some of these scenes. –  Scott Mendelson, The Wrap
It’s like a Greek epic that’s, yes, full of unparalleled action (and guns), and the set pieces are phenomenal. –  Vanessa Armstrong, Slashfilm
It’s an epic with smart pacing that never lets the action feel exhausting, and the set pieces are phenomenal. –  Eric Eisenberg, Cinema Blend
This breathtaking, bloody and ballistic ballet delivers a bone-crunching crescendo to one of the greatest action franchises of all time. –  Simon Thompson, The Playlist
I normally don’t love so much action in my movies but Stahelski makes every frame count. –  Therese Lacson, Collider
There’s one action sequence I kept thinking about long after the film ended that’s SO well made. Wanted to rewind and rewatch it instantly. Definitely going to be a fan-favorite. A few of the action sequences in this one will make fans really happy. –  Kirsten Acuna, Insider
The film brings the action to a higher level with armored ninja, fiery weapons, epic one-shot scenes, and more. –  John Nguyen, Nerd Reactor

Laurence Fishburne, Keanu Reeves, and Ian McShane in John Wick: Chapter 4 (2023)

But is there more to it than just that?

It’s also about relationships and love. What a breathtaking, heartrending story! –  Vanessa Armstrong, Slashfilm
Brawny, bold, and badass, John Wick: Chapter 4 brilliantly balances vested stakes with an absolutely spectacular, high octane thrill ride. –  Courtney Howard, Fresh Fiction

How’s the length of the movie?

I had reservations about John Wick: Chapter 4′ s nearly three hour runtime, but the movie earns it. –  Eric Eisenberg, Cinema Blend
Pure power, John Wick: Chapter 4 is as exhilarating as it is exhausting. –  Simon Thompson, The Playlist
John Wick: Chapter 4 absolutely rocks, start to finish. –  Brandon Davis, ComicBook.com
For better and worse the action almost never stops in John Wick: Chapter 4 . Moment to moment fight choreography is as thrilling as ever but the set-pieces don’t have enough variety to sustain their jumbo size. –  Jordan Farley, Total Film
It may be a little too long. –  Sean Mulvihill, Mulviews

Kean Reeves in John Wick: Chapter 4 (2023)

Does it get a bit too ridiculous?

Yes, it’s ridiculous. Yes, it’s video game logic. Yes, it’s extra as hell. –  Therese Lacson, Collider
At times, John Wick: Chapter 4 feels like a video game come to life. (And I mean that as a compliment.) So many of Keanu Reeves’ fight sequences felt like boss battles. –  Kirsten Acuna, Insider
Wick’s Looney Tunes pratfalls stretch credulity, even in a world this heightened. –  Jordan Farley, Total Film

Does Keanu still have what it takes?

Reeves’ Wick transcends icon status. –  Simon Thompson, The Playlist
Keanu Reeves finds new ways to impress. –  Brandon Davis, ComicBook.com

Donnie Yen in John Wick: Chapter 4 (2023)

What about the supporting cast?

Great cast of series newcomers, but Donnie Yen is the MVP. –  Eric Eisenberg, Cinema Blend
Donnie Yen, Hiroyuki Sanada, and Rina Sawayama are all scene stealers. Each has so much style, charisma, and talent on display to enrich the film as a whole. –  Brandon Davis, ComicBook.com
Donnie Yen and Scott Adkins are amazing. –  Sean Mulvihill, Mulviews
Donnie Yen is an INCREDIBLE addition to the franchise. He’s a highlight of the film. –  Kirsten Acuna, Insider
Donnie Yen is definitely icing on the cake. –  John Nguyen, Nerd Reactor
I’m thinking long and hard about Rina Sawayama’s character and how she’s going to need her own sequel because she was my favorite!! –  Therese Lacson, Collider

Will it leave us begging for more John Wick ?

I can’t wait to see it again. –  Vanessa Armstrong, Slashfilm
Yes, I will be watching again! –  Therese Lacson, Collider

John Wick: Chapter 4 opens in theaters everywhere on March 24, 2023.

Thumbnail image by Jay Maidment/©Marvel Studios

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John Wick: Chapter 4

Keanu Reeves in John Wick: Chapter 4 (2023)

John Wick 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 tur... Read all John Wick 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. John Wick 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.

  • Chad Stahelski
  • Shay Hatten
  • Michael Finch
  • Derek Kolstad
  • Keanu Reeves
  • Laurence Fishburne
  • George Georgiou
  • 1.6K User reviews
  • 327 Critic reviews
  • 78 Metascore
  • 32 wins & 46 nominations

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  • Bowery King

George Georgiou

  • (as Asuka Riedl)

Milena Rendón

  • (as Milena Rendon)
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  • Production, box office & more at IMDbPro

Keanu Reeves and Cast Talk Getting Into Character

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  • Trivia Keanu Reeves gifted each stunt worker with a personalized t-shirt detailing how many times that performer met their demise in the film. His five-person stunt team also received Rolex Submariner watches, each costing around $10,000, with a personalized message on the back of each one when filming wrapped.
  • Goofs The Arc de Triomphe is missing the eternal flame which crowns France's Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. As its name suggests, it is never ever allowed to go out.

Shimazu : Friendship means little when it's convenient.

  • Crazy credits There is a small scene after the credits have finished where you can see Caine on the way to his daughter encountering Akira.
  • Alternate versions The end title for the theatrical version shows "John Wick Baba Yaga" while in home media version shows "John Wick Chapter 4".
  • Connections Featured in WatchMojo: Top 10 Most Anticipated Franchises Returning in 2023 (2023)
  • Soundtracks Nocturne No. 20 in C-Sharp Minor, Op. Posth. Written by Frédéric Chopin Arranged by Joel J. Richard Performed by Lola Bates (as Lola Colette) and Mark Robertson

User reviews 1.6K

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  • March 24, 2023 (United States)
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  • Wadi Rum Desert, Jordan (location)
  • 87Eleven Entertainment
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  • $100,000,000 (estimated)
  • $187,131,806
  • $73,817,950
  • Mar 26, 2023
  • $440,157,245

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  • Runtime 2 hours 49 minutes
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“John Wick: Chapter 4,” Reviewed: A Slog with a Sensational Ending

new john wick movie review

By Richard Brody

Keanu Reeves as John Wick.

“John Wick: Chapter 4” is by far the best of the four films starring Keanu Reeves as the eponymous hit man, the first of the cycle that I’d recommend—albeit with an asterisk. The new film (which opens Friday) has many of the same problems as its predecessors; although these problems are interesting, they’re far more fun to contemplate in the rearview mirror of thought than in the real-time forward motion of viewing. But something happens, fairly late in the game, that converts the film’s merely technical displays of bloody murder into something suspenseful and romantic, if no less silly. The details are too good to give away, but there’s no harm and much pleasure in considering how the movie climbs, slowly but surely, to that light-headed summit.

One of the curiosities of the John Wick series is that, as an entirely original creation dependent on no prior properties, it has nonetheless given rise to an alluring and self-perpetuating mythology of its own. The premise of Wickworld is cleverly paranoiac, built around the tentacular connections between the crude underworld of contract killers and the shadowy overlords who keep them in action. That wicked authority is called the High Table; it dispenses orders to kill on pain of being killed, ratifies contracts for murder, and brokers the deals for bounty hunters. It commands John to kill, and it sets him up to be killed, but it also sets the tone of the movie. The High Table exemplifies a super-élite of secret societies with elaborate rites, deeply rooted aristocracies, a flaunting of mind-bending wealth, and the executive ruthlessness of a transnational shadow government that has the power to wreak havoc in public with impunity.

It also has the power of information—an enormous database on its registered killers (it apparently goes back centuries) and a terrifyingly comprehensive surveillance network that tracks the hunters and the hunted during their mortal maneuvers and discloses their whereabouts to devastating effect. Its agents hide in plain sight at, for instance, a hotel called the New York Continental, in Manhattan’s financial district. ( Delmonico’s plays the role of the hotel.) Its stern manager, Winston (Ian McShane), is John’s handler, and is aided by his discerning and tight-lipped concierge (played by Lance Reddick, who died on March 17th). Another High Table agent on John’s team, the Bowery King (Laurence Fishburne), disguises his crew of spies as unhoused people in a shelter that he runs.

The High Table itself reveals its enduring traditions in the anachronistic equipment and furnishings of its central intelligence office (complete with card files, blackboards, rubber stamps, and switchboards). The venerable sect of hired killers can trace its lineage to a few authorized families, an aristocracy of blood (pun intended) that pulls the death dealers out of the grubby streets and endows their gruesome trade with a faux dignity. Their rigorous code of conduct dominates the movie’s, and the franchise’s, over-all tone and import: the intricate set of seemingly nonsensical rules plays the role of military discipline and order, but it also signifies, with a politicized wink at the rites and manners of high society, the implacable law of violence, which pretensions to refinement both embody and conceal.

“Chapter 4” takes off from the third installment , which concluded with John killing a High Table assassin at the New York Continental, with Winston’s help, and then teaming up with the Bowery King to fight against the High Table. At the start of “Chapter 4,” the King gets John suited up for battle, and the High Table takes devastating revenge against Winston for helping John—for starters, Winston is excommunicated, and the hotel is demolished. John heads to Morocco (the actual location is in Jordan) to dispatch a High Table overlord called the Elder (George Georgiou) and his minions, then goes to Osaka—to the Osaka Continental hotel, another High Table base—where he learns from its manager (Hiroyuki Sanada), who is his friend, what happened to Winston and the New York hotel. John vows to “kill them all.”

But the manager’s daughter, Akira (Rina Sawayama), who is also John’s friend, wishes he hadn’t come. There’s a contract on John for having killed High Table notables, and Akira is well aware that any place he sets foot is a target, including her father’s hotel. The assassins pursuing him there include a bounty hunter called Mr. Nobody (Shamier Anderson), who shows up with his beloved dog (a cheeky reference back to the premise of the first John Wick movie), and a nasty nebbish called Chidi (Marko Zaror). There’s also a remarkable blind assassin named Caine (Donnie Yen), who has been dispatched by a High Table potentate called the Marquis de Gramont (Bill Skarsgård), an effete and sadistic nobleman who has laid waste to the New York hotel and threatened to kill Caine’s daughter unless Caine kills John.

Yet John, for all his seething lust for revenge, is burdened—he is (to quote Charlie Chaplin’s parody of Hollywood violence in “ A King in New York ”) a killer with a soul. The very premise of “Chapter 4” evinces sequel fatigue. John Wick wants out. Reeves may well enjoy the role, but he convincingly portrays John’s weariness bordering on exasperation at the absurdity of living under the orders—and in the crosshairs—of the implacable High Table. Even though he shoots and stabs and even nunchucks his way out of the Osaka Continental, leaving a trail of bodies and blood behind, he can’t kill his way out of his indenture to the High Table or its pursuit of him.

What happens in Osaka doesn’t stay in Osaka, and neither does John. He flits to New York, where Winston advises him to duel the Marquis for his freedom, and then to Berlin, where, in a series of set pieces ranging from the sententious to the ridiculous, he has to do some more killing in order to be deemed duel-worthy. What results is a grisly form of multidimensional chess, in which John’s enemies also target one another in order to keep for themselves the privilege of killing John, and in which John allies himself, according to the demands of the moment, with one or another of his prospective killers.

Much of the movie’s delight is in its details, many of them gory (a little trick with a knife that the Marquis pulls on Mr. Nobody), others merely menacing (John’s surprise encounter on an eerily empty subway car), some location-dependent (a brutalist night club with a waterlogged dance floor), and some design-based (including a deck of cards made of glass, and a picturesque molten-gold method for branding flesh). Some of these flourishes nod toward the breezy suaveness in the face of danger that marks the best of the early 007 films. Here, though, the stakes are lowered beneath the absurdity line by the relentless mayhem, which is at once cartoonish and mostly humorless. That’s why, as Caine, Donnie Yen nearly steals the film. His humor is as sly as it is insolent (as when he eats a snack between killings), and his comedic gestures are as tiny and deft as his action maneuvers, which are so fast as to border on sleight of hand.

The comic relief is welcome, but it’s never so extreme or so self-aware as to threaten the grim earnestness and grotesque exaggerations of the violence. (With a little more self-awareness, the movie would have a place in the body-horror genre.) A recent report places John’s estimated body count throughout the series at four hundred and fifty. I’m not sure how many of them pile up in “Chapter 4,” but, assuming a rough average of a hundred and twelve, the killings are (as in the first three chapters) classist and trivializing. Only a few of John’s opponents have names, identities, and personalities; most are woefully anonymous, dispatched into oblivion by John with neither a name nor a story, with nothing but the misfortune to square off against him. They are mere fodder for John’s deathcraft, their heads vaporizing in pink mist inside their battle helmets, their bodies catching fire from his incendiary weaponry, their blood spurting fountain-like from slash wounds.

The director, Chad Stahelski, works these elaborate fights and their flimsy killings with flashy but insignificant embellishments (such as filming an indoor battle royal from overhead, as if by drone). He displays little imagination regarding the characters’ activity, or even existence, outside the realm of combat. The many unnamed victims’ mechanical dispatch is a logical function of the franchise’s basic premise: that John (like his co-starring killers) is a member of a breed apart, dealing and eluding death with aplomb but never enduring the petty cares that go with the job. Does John Wick have a passport? He may be superheroic with firearms, fists, and whatever other weapons are within arm’s reach, but he doesn’t fly like Superman. Does he go first class or economy? What does he say when he reaches passport control and is asked, “Business or pleasure?” Does he have an array of forged documents, under a variety of pseudonyms and nationalities, that he switches around to fit his sense of the circumstances? With all the killing that he’s done, has he never come under suspicion? Does he ever worry about it? His exploits may be extraordinary, but they’re nonetheless dependent upon ordinary, unseen necessities. (If, as he leaves Osaka for New York, he’s as filled with regrets as he’d have one believe, spending sixteen hours sandwiched in a middle seat between two snorers would be an apt setting to ponder where he went wrong.) Does he listen to music, does he read a book, does he have a favorite food?

Most of “Chapter 4” is an amusingly punctuated slog. It’s distinguished from its predecessors by the starkly drawn yet complex lines of conflict. The promised duel, ingeniously plotted and cleverly staged, depends on a droll race against the clock—one that gives new meaning to the notion of fighting one’s way through traffic—and a long staircase that becomes a virtual agent of destiny. In short, the last half hour or so of the movie’s nearly three-hour span is giddily intense, swoony, swashbuckling, and sensational yet superficial fun. Right after I saw the movie, I couldn’t stop talking about that ending. It makes the rest of the movie worth sitting through. ♦

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‘John Wick: Chapter 4’: Longer, bloodier and better than ever

The fourth installment in the martial arts action franchise ups the ante, with stunning set pieces of fight choreography

new john wick movie review

Is “John Wick: Chapter 4” the best John Wick movie in the franchise, as early reviews suggest ?

Quite possibly. But what does that even mean? Readers who have never seen Keanu Reeves as John Wick, who don’t even like violent action movies — especially not ones about an elite assassin in a fantastical hierarchy of three-piece-suited assassins that is run like an efficient corporation, on the run from his co-workers, and with a multimillion-dollar bounty on his head — won’t understand why the film deserves the star rating I’ve given it. They might even assume that it is great (and it is pretty great) by the same metric that “ The Quiet Girl ” is great.

That would be a mistake. Apples, as they say, must be not be compared to oranges, and certainly not blood oranges, which is perhaps the better analogy for this tart, tangy and juicily sanguineous offering. But fans of the films will understand. They will even accept — nay, demand — the repetition of the series’s formulaic plots, which involve both flight and pursuit.

Triggered by the killing of the titular professional hit man’s dog and the theft of his car, the first “ John Wick ” was essentially a revenge thriller centering on John, or Mr. Wick as he is just as commonly known, and a Russian crime lord (Michael Nyqvist). John’s pursuit of Viggo Tarasov is slightly counterbalanced by the antihero’s efforts to avoid being killed.

Over time, the mix of fight and flight has shifted, with John fully becoming the quarry by the end of “ John Wick: Chapter 2 ,” in the wake of his killing of a Neapolitan Mafioso (Riccardo Scamarcio). As “ John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum ” gets underway, John is being hounded by a lethal Adjudicator (Asia Kate Dillon), along with nearly every hired gun in the world, having been declared “excommunicado,” or excommunicated, for the murder of Santino D’Antonio on the “sanctified” grounds of a New York City hotel catering exclusively to killers. (Come to think of it, the society to which John belongs — and under whose arcane rules he operates — is more like a religion than a company.)

The point is, these plots are all the same, or at least very similar: John wants someone dead, and someone — or a lot of someones — wants him dead in return. In “Chapter 4,” the main someone is the effete Marquis de Gramont (Bill Skarsgard), the French representative to the High Table, the governing body of the international crime syndicate for which John works. At nearly three hours long, it’s the most John Wick-ian of all the John Wick films, by virtue of the simple fact that there is more time to lavish on the films’ fans exactly what they want, in spectacular fashion.

And boy, is it spectacular. Would that all action films were so well and cleanly choreographed. (Are you listening, Marvel and DC?) To be sure, the Wick films are not for everyone. But returning director Chad Stahelski, a former stuntman and stunt coordinator, knows one thing: If you’re going to do something, do it right.

Stahelski ups the ante from the previous three films with one amazing set piece after another — a chase scene set in the desert, on horseback; a bloodbath in a discothèque decorated with waterfalls; visits to Osaka and Berlin — each sequence outdoing the one before. The most talked-about fight scenes will surely be two staged in Paris: the first taking place in the traffic roundabout encircling the Arc de Triomphe, known as the Étoile, or star, for its 12 radiating avenues; the second taking place on the 222 steps of the Rue Foyatier leading up to the Sacré-Coeur cathedral, where a climactic duel takes place at dawn between John and the Marquis.

Also in attendance: two secondary antagonists, a killer known only as the Tracker (Shamier Anderson) and a blind assassin named Caine, beautifully brought to life by Chinese martial arts legend Donnie Yen. ( According to Yen , the actor requested a change to the character’s stereotypically Asian name — originally “Shang or Chang,” he says, in the screenplay by Michael Finch, Shay Hatten and Derek Kolstad. Intentionally or not, his character now suggests an homage to David Carradine’s Kwai Chang Caine from the 1970s TV series “Kung Fu.”)

Clearly, Stahelski is a fan of martial arts lore and its elaborate — one might even say perverse — codes of chivalry, ethics and honor among rogues. (The call letters of a radio station in the film are, notably, WUXIA .) He is not alone. If you are also an acolyte in the church of chopsocky, samurai swordplay and gunslinging gangsters, you could do a lot worse than “John Wick: Chapter 4.” In fact, you’d be hard-pressed to do better.

Why not four stars? Because I want to save room for improvement, in case there’s a “Chapter 5.”

R. At area theaters. Contains pervasive strong violence and some coarse language. 169 minutes.

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The Limits and Wonders of John Wick’s Last Fight

Portrait of Angelica Jade Bastién

John Wick: Chapter 4 , like entries in the franchise before it, treats the body with the elasticity and deranged joy of a Looney Tunes cartoon. Consider Homeless Hare, a 1950 Chuck Jones short in which Bugs Bunny resorts to gleeful violence against a construction worker, Hercules, who uproots the trickster’s home. Bugs begins by dropping a brick from the height of the building on the head of his foe. Attached is a single slip of paper warning Hercules that Bugs is coming for that ass. What follows in this delightful short is defined by wild, violent revenge. So is the John Wick franchise’s approach, and it reflects a similarly potent understanding of the body’s seductive vulnerabilities.

In Chapter 4, Keanu Reeves endures so many violent falls that would kill anyone else, but he always gets up and continues to fight another day — the humor of this inevitability hitting at the same moment as the fear of what could actually end him. This action is crucial to character building and styled specifically for each — though almost everyone in the world is balletic, smooth, and endlessly cool in the face of guns, knives, swords, and all other weaponry on the table. Even the lighting understands this specific fiction, punctuating darkness with cartoonish pops of neon. This approach to action has been broadly adopted in Hollywood, but those that seek to replicate its charms often fail with a lack of clarity, a use of darkness through which the audience can’t see a damn thing. They forget how badly we want to watch — and really see — a star with the heft of Reeves commit these acts of glorious violence.

Chapter 4 is blissfully entertaining, full of pratfalls and acting turns that lead to the audience swelling with oohs, aahs , and yelps. It’s far more narratively focused than its previous sequels, still managing to globe-trot a behemoth cast à la Chapter 2 and Chapter 3 while returning to a simpler conflict reminiscent of the original John Wick. Here, John Wick seeks to finally buy his freedom by dueling the Marquis (Bill Skarsgård), a crime-world fixture of inherited power who has been emboldened to bend and break the rules by the High Table in an effort to maintain its supremacy in the face of Wick’s flagrant disruption. Why make the Marquis the target of Wick’s vengeance and freedom instead of letting him take that heat directly to the High Table? The franchise needs to keep the status quo intact for the plentiful spinoffs that filmmakers have in mind — including Ballerina , starring Ana de Armas. I have some reservations about these narrative choices, but the cinematic violence of Chapter 4 brought me the joy and erotic rush that has long powered the series. It synthesizes the zaniness of Looney Tunes and gags of Buster Keaton with martial-arts master classes that call back to the career of Jackie Chan and learn from more recent films like 2017’s South Korean action flick The Villainess . It’s a history lesson on what the body can do onscreen — its limits and its wonders.

Director Chad Stahelski and cinematographer Dan Laustsen create arguably the best-looking of the John Wick films. The quiet moments are evocative — like when Laurence Fishburne’s Bowery King blows out a match before the camera cuts to a cresting sunset (a cheeky homage to Lawrence of Arabia and one of the most famous cuts in film history ) — and the unleashing of violence is clear and easy to follow. There’s no confusion when it comes to how and where characters are inhabiting space. The stellar production design deserves credit as well, particularly in the way the Osaka Continental (run by Hiroyuki Sanada’s Shimazu Koji and his concierge and daughter, Akira, played by Rina Sawayama) is dressed and designed. Its clean lines, glossy surfaces, glass-encased weapons and artifacts, and all-around cool tones diligently build out this world defined by the intertwining of beauty and blood. I was struck by the use of so many shades of red against this backdrop — magenta, crimson, cherry. One of the most tantalizing shots positions Reeves in the left corner, the field of vision otherwise dominated by cherry blossoms in full bloom and a circular building sliced with lights of arterial red. Stahelski and Laustsen make profound use of horizontal space even when one of its best blunders, played out by Reeves on the 222 steps of Paris’s Sacré Coeur basilica, is obviously vertically defined.

And it’s not just Reeves but the many actors in his orbit who shine with a blend of vengeful grace and humorous beats. Bodies everywhere are cut, shot through, flipped, broken, and strangely beautiful when meeting their ends. Although not every end feels quite earned. The late Lance Reddick becomes a sacrificial lamb early on in this chapter, and his story line is shuffled away too quickly. Fishburne’s Shakespearean Bowery King and Clancy Brown’s Harbinger are not used to the full degree that they should be either, but anytime their booming voices are used, the film shines brighter. Until Scott Adkins walks in wearing a grotesque fat suit as Killa. Hollywood’s doubling down on anti-fatness with Colin Farrell’s turn in The Batman and Brendan Fraser’s Oscar-winning performance in Darren Aronofsky’s The Whale will not age well, and it’s frustrating that John Wick ’s final installment has something as loathsome as this. But Chapter 4 offers greater turns by beloved actors and martial artists new and seasoned alike. Donnie Yen plays Caine, a close friend of Wick’s who is pulled back into the life of an assassin to kill his comrade. He has already given up his eyesight in order to protect his daughter and get out, but here, he is forced to endure. He’s delightfully cheeky in his fight scenes, moving with quick-witted, silken force, making Wick’s brutality all the more blatant.

Yen is the film’s MVP — whether he’s slurping down food and ignoring the violence blooming around him or shit-talking the Marquis to his face. Then there’s Sanada’s beautifully rendered Shimazu, dear and determined, who puts his life on the line out of love for Wick and a belief in honor. The friendship between these three men is crucial to the emotional world of the film and gives it layers I wasn’t expecting but wanted more of. When Wick speaks Japanese to Shimazu or shares a long gaze with Caine, these relationships are given an intimacy that relies on Reeves’s own three-decade-long history as a star undergirded by considerations of race, identity, and history. But I was especially surprised by just how damn good pop star Sawayama is in her role. She’s giving looks, poses, the right angles, charisma, grit. She’s so eye-catching that I got lost in the beauty of her performance whenever she was onscreen.

So what about Skarsgård? In many ways, the Marquis and Wick are a study in opposites. Where Wick is stoic and terse, the Marquis is the kind of man who says lines like “Second chances are the refuge of men who fail.” He likes his espresso sweet, his waistcoats fabulous, and his violence flowing endlessly. While Wick earned his reputation, the Marquis was bequeathed his. Wick believes in formality, and the Marquis flouts the rules. Costuming is a strength of the series, which is apparent in this chapter’s fine suits, particularly the Marquis’s — of crimson, of navy, of twilight. Skarsgård leans into the camp and archness roiling under the surface of this franchise. His accent is mellifluous. It dips, flutters, and stretches in ways that feel both studied and hilarious. His face scrunches and has a flexibility that borders on comical while never losing sight of the necessary tone.

Yet by the end, I held a nagging belief that Stahelski and the Chapter 4 script didn’t quite capitalize on all of Reeves’s strengths. This Wick is exceedingly, almost frustratingly, terse and stoic, muttering one-liners and yeah s that could easily trip into the parodic. Reeves is good and game. But the story doesn’t capitulate with earnestness or heartfelt dialogue, choosing to highlight his physical grace and determination above all else. Reeves has always been a performer defined not just by the delicate beauty of his body but an emotional clarity and sweetness that is almost nowhere to be found in this film. Moments with Yen, including a candlelit church scene, are where Chapter 4 comes closest to Reeves’s complexity as an actor who lies at the nexus of virility and vulnerability. Wick’s interactions with a tracker who likes to call himself Mr. Nobody (Shamier Anderson) allows Reeves to, at least, add notes of befuddlement and curiosity. Mr. Nobody is an obsessive fan of Wick’s — following him and drawing him in a firmly kept notebook while hunting him as the price over Wick’s head accelerates. Mr. Nobody even has a beloved dog he uses in his action sequences. It’s a meta nod to the obsession around Reeves himself and those who seek to duplicate his elegance while not understanding its roots.

What ends up most intriguing about his performance is the subtext of the movie’s denouement: the idea that Reeves is, for however long, ceding the John Wick spotlight — unlike his aging-star cohort (think Brad Pitt in Bullet Train and Tom Cruise in Top Gun: Maverick ), who welcome neophytes into their fold but insist on outlasting them. Reeves is a star who doesn’t suck up all of the oxygen. He’s able to mold himself to the work and pull back when necessary — but maybe too far back this time, as his performance tips into laconic and guarded by the close. (Reeves missed his calling as a silent-film actor, but his best characters aren’t muted.) The Chapter 4 ending, an echo of a crucial one in the beloved ’90s anime Cowboy Bebop, feels like it’s fighting the gravitational force of Reeves rather than submitting to it. Shouldn’t Wick be coming at the High Table, not a proxy? Shouldn’t Wick’s last fight reflect the grandness and dynamism of its focal point? Chapter 4 is a deliriously entertaining entry into the franchise, but its final moments can’t help but put into harsh relief the fact that this ridiculous world of glory and gut punches is evolving to exist without its namesake, yet it still needs him to feel alive.

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John Wick Chapter 4 review: A perfectly bloated mess

Enter the john wick cinematic universe.

Keanu Reeves as John Wick, with spotlights behind him, in John Wick: Chapter 4

Tom's Guide Verdict

John Wick: Chapter 4 is arguably far too much — as evidenced by its running time — but every piece counts. It proves, yet again, that Keanu Reeves and director Chad Stahelski know exactly how to make an elevated action movie.

Inventive action

Soulful performances from Reeves & Co.

Hilarious comedic moments

Not enough Lance Reddick

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Writing a John Wick: Chapter 4 review may sound like a foolhardy mission. Movies like this are almost review-proof — people will see them no matter what. But when you enjoy a movie as much as I enjoyed this chapter, it's not an impossible task that will remind you of John Wick taking down Tarasov's enemies. It's a labor of love.

But, to get this out of the way up front, John Wick 4 has a problem with excess. Not necessarily in its plot, but in its running time. This movie should not be two hours and 49 minutes long. We've come a long way — too far one might say — from the first John Wick, which was an efficient 96-minute ride.

That said, as much as John Wick: Chapter 4 would have benefitted from a shorter runtime, it's still just as good as any other chapter of the series. Allow me to explain why. While I'm going to put a brief spoiler warning up front, I'll keep things to a minimum, and not say anything I wouldn't have wanted to know before I saw it.

Oh, and if you're curious, we expect John Wick: Chapter 4 on Peacock in early summer. Need to catch up? You can watch the other John Wick movies online right now.

An image indicating spoilers are ahead.

John Wick: Chapter 4 opens up the JWCU

Donnie Yen as Caine in John Wick: Chapter 4

While Mr. Wick (Keanu Reeves) does get plenty to do in this movie, this chapter stands out by opening up the field to potential new heroes. Unfortunately for John, two of them are out to kill him. 

That would be a nameless tracker (Shamier Anderson) and Caine (Donny Yen), both have reason to kill John, thanks to the vengeful Marquis Vincent de Gramont (Bill Skarsgård), who sees Wick as a threat to be eliminated. And while Caine and Wick have a shared past and respect, the tracker (aka Mr. Nobody) is a new figure. 

While the Marquis is completely devoid of the enigmatic cool of Wick and Winston, his scene-chewing swagger — completed with a killer opulent wardrobe — screams he's the villain with blunt-force obviousness. But everyone else made me think 'I want to know more.'

Caine and Mr. Nobody come off as remarkably cool and worthy of spinoff movies, and will have you ready for a John Wick Cinematic Universe. Oh, and make sure to keep an eye out for Akira — the character played by actor/singer/model Rina Sawayama. 

While the Marquis is completely devoid of the enigmatic cool of Wick and Winston, his scene-chewing swagger — completed with a killer opulent wardrobe — screams he's the villain with blunt-force obviousness. But everyone else made me think 'I want to know more.' This a sure sign that Stahelski and Reeves are ready to tell new stories.

Unfortunately, the late Lance Reddick is barely in the movie. 

John Wick: Chapter 4 is a delightful global adventure

While a video game-esque scene in Paris — which looks like either John Wick: Hex or the Hotline: Miami games — was one of the film's most memorable action scenes, the fourth Wick film partially rules thanks to its excellent changes of scenery. From the wild west-style chaos early on, to the Osaka Continental hotel and excellent big Arc de Triomphe set piece, John Wick: Chapter 4 continues to offer the getaway escapism that we seek at the multiplex.

And, throughout, comedic notes constantly keep the audience guessing about what's happening. In particular, a stairs scene — and the way Mr. Nobody communicates to his dog — had me laughing hard.

Keanu Reeves as John Wick, on a horse, in John Wick: Chapter 4

And throughout, especially with a touching sunrise shot at the near-end of the film, you may find yourself 'ooh'ing and 'ahh'ing — as John Wick's fourth adventure is as delightful to the eye as it is gory. Credit goes to cinematographer Dan Laustsen — who had the same role for John Wick chapters 2 and 3 — for the elevated aesthetics in this action movie. They're part of what makes John Wick movies feel like action movies for film nerds with Letterbox accounts.

John Wick: Chapter 4 fights between excess and bloat

For as much as I loved to turn the pages of Chapter 4, I did find myself looking at my watch during the third hour. Once I saw the running time, I kept thinking "what is this, John Wick: Endgame?" While Stahelski loves his maximalism, there's a bit of just-too-much happening that veers into bloat. 

The biggest issue I have is how many different fights we get at the Osaka Continental. While the green-light-soaked brawl is neat, the rooftop shoot-out, the kitchen scene and the chaos in the museum were far better. Each could have been trimmed down in parts, and it would have been all the better for it. Just don't lose the nunchucks. 

There's also the entire Berlin subplot, which serves the plot a little more than it serves everything else. Wick's adoptive sister Katia (Natalia Tena) is a welcome addition, but when she doesn't get much to do, her introduction feels more like padding than a skeletal addition. While John Wick movies have always felt all-killer, no-filler, I do wonder what a two-hour cut would have looked like.

Bottom line: Keanu Reeves' biggest opus yet

Keanu Reeves as John Wick, over a dead body, holding an item, in John Wick: Chapter 4

Throughout the John Wick films, there have been two constants: action and momentum. Both, mostly, are driven and perfected by Reeves' pitch-perfect work as the Baba Yaga himself. Chapter 4, though, doesn't forget to take its time to remember where it all started, with John Wick's eternal love for his late wife Helen (Bridget Moynahan) and an appreciation of dogs.

For as unrealistic as the John Wick movies are — and the clinking of bullet shells falling from our heroes jacket as he disrobes is a fun reminder of the over-the-top nature — Reeves' ability to emote and show care truly helps the John Wick movies steer away from farce. 

I left the theater excited for the future of the John Wick cinematic universe, and ready to see what's next for all parties involved.

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Henry is a managing editor at Tom’s Guide covering streaming media, laptops and all things Apple, reviewing devices and services for the past seven years. Prior to joining Tom's Guide, he reviewed software and hardware for TechRadar Pro, and interviewed artists for Patek Philippe International Magazine. He's also covered the wild world of professional wrestling for Cageside Seats, interviewing athletes and other industry veterans.

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John Wick Reviews

new john wick movie review

Unrefined, stilted, and rough in places, the film’s leanness and coherent action can’t make up for the fact that Keanu Reeves is close to wooden and doesn’t offer much as an actor.

Full Review | May 11, 2024

new john wick movie review

Another aspect of John Wick that is worthy of note is its world-building. Written by Derek Kolstad, the story is full of little details that leave us wondering about this uncanny universe.

Full Review | Original Score: 7/10 | Jan 29, 2024

new john wick movie review

The action is undeniably exciting and unconventional, but what really drives the picture is the emotional weight of the story and Reeves' morose performance.

Full Review | Original Score: 5/5 | Sep 20, 2023

new john wick movie review

As you would expect from former stunt coordinators, the action scenes are dynamic and that might be enough, but the emotional thread that motivates Chapter One is exceptionally constructed, justifying much of the rage and murder.

Full Review | Original Score: 3/5 | Apr 2, 2023

Even with the CGI taken out, the trade of po-faced filler for action righteousness is still in effect.

Full Review | Jan 24, 2023

new john wick movie review

It’s definitely a movie made for a particular audience, and if wall-to-wall action and stylized violence isn’t your cup of tea, neither is “John Wick”.

Full Review | Original Score: 4/5 | Aug 22, 2022

new john wick movie review

For all of its familiar plot elements, the movie knows when to step back, let Keanu do his thing, and watch the impressive fight and gunplay choreography throughout.

Full Review | Original Score: 3/4 | Jul 18, 2022

new john wick movie review

The directors find new ways to stage and frame these deadly encounters in a way that constantly feels fresh and exciting.

Full Review | Original Score: B+ | Aug 10, 2021

new john wick movie review

The original John Wick showed beloved icon Keanu Reeves still had plenty of action in him post-Matrix.

Full Review | Jul 28, 2021

new john wick movie review

Wick is so tough he doesn't bother to take off his blood-soaked shirt when he starts his quest for vengeance and the movie is just as uncompromising.

Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/5 | Feb 2, 2021

new john wick movie review

Rock music, cold stares, and plenty of bullets emphasize Wick's proficiency, as the plot needs all the help it can get to impart the coolness it desperately wants to exhibit.

Full Review | Original Score: 4/10 | Dec 4, 2020

new john wick movie review

For a dour narrative about death, loss, and violence, it's surprisingly good natured.

Full Review | Original Score: A | Jul 7, 2020

new john wick movie review

Just when i thought that Keanu Reeves had retired from the action genre, he appears back and in revenge mode with the amazing John Wick. [Full review in Spanish]

Full Review | Original Score: 7/10 | Jun 26, 2020

new john wick movie review

John Wick is the slick, empty, cruel hero the age of Trump deserves - but hey, at least he likes dogs!

Full Review | Nov 22, 2019

new john wick movie review

Occasionally ridiculous, it is action-packed, stylish and a return to form for Mr Reeves.

Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/5 | Nov 19, 2019

The script defines an amazing microcosm that surrounds the profession of the protagonist. [Full Review in Spanish]

Full Review | Aug 29, 2019

new john wick movie review

Simply put, John Wick is probably one of the best action movies in a decade. From an efficient story to incredible fight sequences and an action start that just doesn't seem to quite, John Wick is as close to perfect as I've ever seen.

Full Review | Original Score: 9/10 | Aug 7, 2019

new john wick movie review

Directed by long-time stuntmen David Leitch and Chad Stahelski, it is exactly the sort of movie you would expect from long-time stuntmen: brutal, close-up fighting, nearly nonstop gunplay and the slightest story legally allowed.

Full Review | Original Score: B | Jul 30, 2019

new john wick movie review

Why does it work? That's probably a better question. On paper, this movie falls somewhere between Commando and Taken in terms of getting from Point A to Point B, but in execution, John Wick just feels like a special journey.

Full Review | Original Score: 8/10 | Jul 16, 2019

new john wick movie review

Fast, fun, and with care taken on elements outside of the requisite action sequences, it's a film that succeeds in generally conquering the fatigue of its own familiarity.

Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/5 | Jul 9, 2019

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Keanu Reeves in John Wick: Chapter 4.

John Wick: Chapter 4 review – enjoyably pulpy slaughterfest

If the plot of the latest John Wick outing offers no surprises, the stunts are mind-boggling, and Donnie Yen and Scott Adkins are fun new faces

Y ou expect that the stunts and fight choreography of a John Wick film will be top tier. The director, former kickboxer Chad Stahelski, got his start in the movie industry as a stuntman after all, serving as Keanu Reeves’s stunt double in The Matrix . Extravagantly showy stunt work is a given, and it’s the main reason to watch these enjoyably pulpy slaughterfests – certainly more so than the plot, which reprises the basic structure of past films, with Wick (Keanu Reeves) slicing his way through the countless henchmen of his former employers, the High Table. But even by the standards of the past Wick outings, this is remarkable. Human bodies are hurled into moving vehicles; Reeves’s double tumbles down the entire length of the Sacré-Coeur stairs. And, just to remind us that we are in the hands of an action master, Stahelski delivers one extended, mind-bogglingly complicated fight sequence in what appears to be a single shot, the camera floating overhead.

Stahelski reteams with key crew, including production designer Kevin Kavanaugh, who retains his fondness for neon tube structures and colour coding. But there’s fresh blood in the cast, most notably a deliciously insouciant Donnie Yen, as blind assassin Caine, and Scott Adkins, who is enormous fun as Killa, a murderous plus-sized German equipped with metal teeth, all the better for chewing the scenery.

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new john wick movie review

A new R-rated action movie produced by Sam Raimi lands John Wick comparisons, but the director thinks there’s an important difference

W hile the new action thriller Boy Kills World is based on an original story, that hasn’t stopped it from gaining plenty of comparisons to existing franchises. Our review calls it John Wick meets The Hunger Games , and it seems we’re not the only ones to have drawn parallels to iconic action movies. 

Asked about how he feels about the comparison, director Moritz Mohr tells GamesRadar+ and the Inside Total Film podcast that it’s a thrill, but he’s not sure it’s entirely accurate. "That's an honor to some degree because these films are just amazing," he says. "I think we are coming from a slightly different angle there because we tried to make a martial arts movie and then we added some guns to it whereas John Wick had guns and then it sort of added some martial arts to it, even more towards the later installments of the series. So yeah, I mean, those are gorgeous-looking action movies, but top-notch action, so if people want to compare them, I'm all for it."

In fact, there are several more direct references that Mohr pulled from for his debut feature, including anime, manga, and video games . The film stars Bill Skarsgård as Boy, a deaf and mute man who has spent several years training to become an elite warrior, all with the aim of killing those responsible for his family’s death.

Given the subject matter, the director adds that he really pulled from revenge movies too. "One of my favorite directors is Park Chan-wook [and his] revenge trilogy, Old Boy , Lady Vengeance , Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance," Mohr continues. "That's how to make a modern revenge movie. All of these three movies blew me away when I first watched them and I was very heavily inspired."

Lady Snowblood, which is based on a manga series, and Kill Bill were other touchpoints, as were comics, he adds. "It was like, 'Alright, let's make a comic book movie but without a comic book.' Let's create this weird, colorful world that is fun, but also really dark."

The result is a fully realized and thought-out world, and it’s one that Mohr is hopeful he’ll get to come back to. No sequels have been announced yet for the film produced by horror maestro Sam Raimi, but the director is open to returning if audiences are keen.

"The thing is with not being a big studio movie and being an indie, you really have to wait for how people like the movie and how it performs and then we can talk about this," he smiles. "Up until then, we need to wait with fingers crossed. But yeah, there's a lot of stories I'd love to tell and a lot of ideas already in place."

Boy Kills World is in US theaters and UK cinemas on April 26. Elsewhere, we spoke about why it was always planned for an R-rating and what Skarsgård brought to the film . Listen to our full chat on the  Inside Total Film podcast , out later this week.

For more, check out our guides to all the other  upcoming movies  on the way in 2024 and beyond as well as the  best action movies  of all time.

 A new R-rated action movie produced by Sam Raimi lands John Wick comparisons, but the director thinks there’s an important difference

John Wick Is Getting the Pinball Machine Treatment

Keanu Reeves starred as the action hero in the long-running franchise.

The Big Picture

  • Stern Pinball brings the John Wick franchise to life with a new pinball machine, offering a thrilling experience for fans.
  • The company focuses on creating beautifully designed machines based on popular films and shows, with John Wick now in the spotlight.
  • John Wick may have met his end in the last film, but a new spin-off is in development, keeping the franchise alive for fans to enjoy.

Stern Pinball is ready to bring the action of one of the biggest action franchises in recent memory to life, with a new pinball machine based on the John Wick series. The collectibles company has released a trailer for the new product, which allow customers to the game with a carefully crafted machine based on one of their favorite films. John Wick's ( Keanu Reeves ) journey on the big screen might be over, but that doesn't mean that the franchise will remain a thing of the past now that the hero gave his life in his quest to take the High Table down.

Stern Pinball focuses on providing collectors with machines designed to incorporate the best from film and television into devices that serve as both a piece of art and a functional gaming machine. Before they created a pinball machine based on the John Wick franchise, the company launched similar products connected to properties such as Jurassic Park and Stranger Things . But now, it's the lonely hero's turn to spend some time in the spotlight, with the trailer for the product teasing some of the elements that will be included in the final design. More details about the machine will be revealed on May 7 at Stern Pinball .

The most recent installment of the series, titled John Wick: Chapter 4 , premiered in theaters last year, taking the titular hero into one final adventure that would allow him to defeat the Marquis Vincent de Gramont ( Bill Skarsgård ) and the High Table before they took over the world. But even if John Wick happened to die at the end of that story, that doesn't mean that the Chad Stahelski -directed film was the end of the road. A new John Wick sequel is reportedly in development at Lionsgate and the Ana de Armas -led spin-off Ballerina is due out this summer.

The Magic of Stern Pinball

Stern Pinball has been building pinball machines based on major entertainment titles for years, with some of their recent launches including Venom and Jaws . And, as if the beautifully constructed devices weren't enough, they also offer a wide variety of merchandise to collectors, while they continue their mission of expanding their brand with new launches. A price for the new pinball machine based on the John Wick series hasn't been revealed, but fans can visit the company's official website for more information.

You can check out the trailer for the new pinball machine based on John Wick below:

John Wick: Chapter 4

With the price on his head ever increasing, legendary hit man John Wick takes his fight against the High Table global as he seeks out the most powerful players in the underworld, from New York to Paris to Japan to Berlin.

Watch on Hulu

New John Wick Pinball Machine Features AI-Augmented Software

A new John Wick Pinball Machine from Stern comes with an AI-controlled opponent to challenge players in exciting new ways.

The arcade game company Stern has revealed a new limited edition pinball machine based on the John Wick franchise. The pinball game features AI-augmented software to enhance the combat and bring the legendary action films to life in exciting new ways for players.

Just as John Wick faces nefarious assassins throughout the film series, the pinball game comes with its own dynamic AI combat system to challenge its players. As reported by IGN , Stern describes the new system, saying they have "created a primitive video game AI system to control the enemy lights on the playfield, setting the John Wick pinball games apart from prior pinball machines, where all lights were controlled by player actions, timers, and random number generations." Stern's John Wick Pinball machine is available now, with a suggested retail price of $6,999 for the Pro Edition, a premium edition retailing for $9,699 and a Limited Edition going for $12,999.

Final Fantasy 14 Suffered From DDoS Attacks

Ian McShane , the actor who portrays Winston Scott throughout the John Wick franchise, reprises his role for the pinball machine, which can be seen in the game's video trailer above. The Premium and Limited Edition versions of the game include various enhancements, with IGN noticing numerous custom toys and features that the Pro Version of the game leaves out. All three versions also have different artwork, with the Premium Version described as "Neon Noir".

Stern's AI System Will Challenge Players in New Ways

Further describing the new AI opponent that players of the John Wick pinball game will face, Stern detailed the combat system and how the AI software will enhance gameplay: "In this new AI combat system, enemy icons are responsive to player behavior and will illuminate dynamically around the playfield to challenge the player. The enemies move tactically with this dynamic software to counter player objectives, creating a unique challenge in each game session."

The Last of Us Deleted Scenes May Make it to Season 2

Stern's John Wick pinball machine will also come with special effects that pay a nod to the film franchise through video, reflecting the player's journey in the game, with Stern describing the feature, saying, "The system also features a new action video player that dynamically reflects player action – as you defeat three enemies, you'll see video clips of John Wick doing the same in the films!"

Stern's John Wick Pinball Machine is available for purchase now through Stern.

Source: IGN and Stern

IMAGES

  1. John Wick

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  2. Film Review

    new john wick movie review

  3. John Wick: Chapter 4 review: Critics in awe of Keanu Reeves

    new john wick movie review

  4. John Wick: Chapter 2 (2017) Movie Review

    new john wick movie review

  5. John Wick: Chapter 4 Trailer: It's Keanu Reeves vs. Donnie Yen

    new john wick movie review

  6. John Wick: Chapter 3

    new john wick movie review

VIDEO

  1. John Wick: Chapter 4

  2. John Wick 4

  3. John Wick Chapter 4 Review by Vj Abishek

  4. 'John Wick: Chapter 4' movie review

  5. John Wick movie review Keanu Reeves. Sandeep Singh Vlogs

  6. THE REAL REASON THE JOHN WICK SPIN OFF WAS DELAYED !!!!!

COMMENTS

  1. John Wick: Chapter 4 movie review (2023)

    Welcome back, Mr. Wick. Four years after "John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum," director Chad Stahelski and Keanu Reeves have returned to theaters with "John Wick: Chapter 4," a film that was supposed to hit theaters almost two full years ago.Trust me. It was worth the wait. Stahelski and writers Shay Hatten and Michael Finch have distilled the mythology-heavy approach of the last couple ...

  2. John Wick: Chapter 4 First Reviews: The Best in the Franchise, with

    John Wick: Chapter 4 feels like the first John Wick movie that wants to be a Clint Eastwood spaghetti Western. It's like Sergio Leone crossed with John Woo. ... - Brent Hankins, The Lamplight Review. Shamier Anderson, playing a new character… is destined to be a fan-favorite (and whose loyal dog nearly walks away with the movie). ...

  3. 'John Wick: Chapter 4' Review: Keanu Reeves Paints the Town Red

    It's also reassuringly ordered, never more so than in its violence, which in Wick World is pure, eye-popping, body-shaking, transporting entertainment, something that (to borrow from another ...

  4. 'John Wick: Chapter 4' Review: Keanu Reeves in a 3-Hour ...

    Keanu Reeves. 'John Wick: Chapter 4' Review: Keanu Reeves in a Three-Hour Action Epic That's Like a Spaghetti Western Meets John Woo in Times Square. Reviewed at AMC Lincoln Square, March 8 ...

  5. John Wick: Chapter 4

    Mar 5, 2024 Full Review Nina Braca Uproxx The John Wick universe is a complex blend of gun violence, vague religious imagery, and some of the best dog actors around, and the fourth installment ...

  6. John Wick: Chapter 4 is unrelenting in every sense of the word

    To its credit, John Wick: Chapter 4 does an admirable job of leaving open possibilities for a future filled with stories of some of the movie's new supporting characters. It comes as a pleasant ...

  7. Everything We Know About John Wick: Chapter 4

    The official synopsis of John Wick: Chapter 4 reads: "John Wick 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.". Of course, we can expect lots of action scenes and "gun-fu" fight ...

  8. John Wick: Chapter 4 Review

    It is the longest John Wick movie. ... Read the full John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum review. Of all the excellent new additions to the cast, Donnie Yen's Caine stands apart. An imposing ...

  9. 'John Wick: Chapter 4' Review: Keanu Reeves in a Pure Action Spectacle

    March 13, 2023 8:00pm. Keanu Reeves in 'John Wick: Chapter 4' Courtesy of Murray Close/Lionsgate. The creatives behind the John Wick franchise must lose sleep at night thinking how they can outdo ...

  10. 'John Wick: Chapter 4' Review: Best Action Movie Since 'Fury Road'

    Despite the long running time, "John Wick: Chapter 4" has impeccable pacing. It never drags, but feels tightly focused, and manages to develop even the new supporting cast, like Rina Sawayama ...

  11. John Wick: Chapter 4 Review: Better Than Ever with Keanu Reeves vs

    Reviews John Wick: Chapter 4 Review: Better Than Ever with Keanu Reeves vs. Donnie Yen. Four movies in, John Wick star Keanu Reeves and director Chad Stahelski are still finding ways to surprise us.

  12. John Wick: Chapter 4

    The action continues in John Wick: Chapter 4, as Keanu Reeves' titular hitman faces new enemies among the High Table elite. Does the sequel maintain the thrill of the franchise, or is the series starting to feel stale? Reactions from the London premiere and the first critics to see the movie have made their way onto social media, and the buzz is very good.

  13. John Wick: Chapter 4 (2023)

    John Wick: Chapter 4: Directed by Chad Stahelski. With Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, George Georgiou, Lance Reddick. John Wick 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.

  14. 'John Wick: Chapter 4' Review: The Wickiverse at its ...

    Keanu Reeves and director Chad Stahelski have outdone themselves with this fourth installment. John Wick: Chapter 4 begins with a punch so hard and so loud, it jolts you upright in your seat ...

  15. "John Wick: Chapter 4," Reviewed: A Slog with a ...

    "John Wick: Chapter 4" is by far the best of the four films starring Keanu Reeves as the eponymous hit man, the first of the cycle that I'd recommend—albeit with an asterisk. The new film ...

  16. 'John Wick: Chapter 4': Longer, bloodier and better than ever

    March 20, 2023 at 3:58 p.m. EDT. Keanu Reeves, left, in "John Wick: Chapter 4." (Murray Close/Lionsgate) ( 3.5 stars) Is "John Wick: Chapter 4" the best John Wick movie in the franchise ...

  17. 'John Wick: Chapter 4' Movie Review: Gorgeous, Lacking

    John Wick: Chapter 4, like entries in the franchise before it, treats the body with the elasticity and deranged joy of a Looney Tunes cartoon.Consider Homeless Hare, a 1950 Chuck Jones short in ...

  18. John Wick

    86% 224 Reviews Tomatometer 81% 50,000+ Ratings Audience Score Legendary assassin John Wick (Keanu Reeves) retired from his violent career after marrying the love of his life. Her sudden death ...

  19. John Wick: Chapter 4 review

    L ate in the fourth film bearing his name, indestructible hitman John Wick (Keanu Reeves) falls down some stairs. Quite a few stairs, actually - tossed by an enemy down the 222 steps of Paris ...

  20. John Wick Chapter 4 review: A perfectly bloated mess

    John Wick: Chapter 4 opens up the JWCU. (Image credit: Lionsgate via Twitter) While Mr. Wick (Keanu Reeves) does get plenty to do in this movie, this chapter stands out by opening up the field to ...

  21. John Wick

    John Wick is the sort of mindless movie that you get when you give two long-time stunt men (David Leitch and Chad Stahelski) the directorial reins. Full Review | Original Score: C | May 17, 2019

  22. John Wick: Chapter 4 review

    If the plot of the latest John Wick outing offers no surprises, the stunts are mind-boggling, and Donnie Yen and Scott Adkins are fun new faces Wendy Ide Sun 26 Mar 2023 06.30 EDT

  23. A new R-rated action movie produced by Sam Raimi lands John Wick ...

    W hile the new action thriller Boy Kills World is based on an original story, that hasn't stopped it from gaining plenty of comparisons to existing franchises. Our review calls it John Wick ...

  24. John Wick Is Getting the Pinball Machine Treatment

    Stern Pinball brings the John Wick franchise to life with a new pinball machine, offering a thrilling experience for fans.; The company focuses on creating beautifully designed machines based on ...

  25. New John Wick Pinball Machine Features AI-Augmented Software

    Stern's John Wick pinball machine will also come with special effects that pay a nod to the film franchise through video, reflecting the player's journey in the game, with Stern describing the feature, saying, "The system also features a new action video player that dynamically reflects player action - as you defeat three enemies, you'll see video clips of John Wick doing the same in the films!"

  26. Star Wars: The Mandalorian's Ahmed Best Wants To Make "Jedi John Wick"

    Ahmed Best first played Jar Jar Binks in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, which was re-released in theaters over the weekend for its 25th anniversary. It was announced this weekend Best is returning ...