Alex Reviews "John Wick: Chapter 4"
Keanu Reeves has returned as everyone’s favorite gun-fu aficionado returns for his fourth turn in the spotlight in John Wick: Chapter Four. Now seeing a light to the end of his ex-communicado status with The High Table, he must face his most skilled opposition yet in both new enemies and old friends.
This film reminds me of a vehicular drag race set to Metallica’s “Fuel”. Starting at a full sprint with only momentary pauses to drive its narrative before slamming on the gas again for all of the thrills. Despite being almost three hours long, the pace really fooled me into feeling it was actually shorter than it was. However, the other side effect of this pace is how it allows the film to cover a shocking amount of ground in its location and scenes. Chad Stahelski (every John Wick film) accomplishes something with Chapter Four that many directors have attempted but almost never have succeeded in executing by using those various locales to dictate a change in filming that not only gives every segment a unique feel but also pays homage to classic filmmakers beautifully.
Rather than spoil these majestic shots and brilliant action scenes, I do want to recognize what looks to be an influence of the legendary filmmaker Akira Kurosawa. This was most notable to me in Stahelski’s use of space while filming around the second Continental visited as well as in the greatest sequence ever filmed around the Arc de Triomphe. I do not want anyone to read that as “It was really good,” so I will say it again: John Wick: Chapter Four HAS THE BEST SCENE EVER LOCATED AT THE ARC DE TRIOMPHE.
While the returning actors continue on their stellar work for the series, the newcomers absolutely command the scenes they appear in as well. Donnie Yen, who I am now convinced prefers a certain characteristic to his roles, gives a stunning performance that someone both parallels the John Wick story and adds a level of depth not yet seen in the prior installments. Hiroyuki Sanada is also part of the cast keeping intact the streak I have seen that says if ANYONE making a film wants it to be better, he is the guy to do it. In a similar fashion, the “Tracker” character portrayed by Shamier Anderson adds a layer the John Wick universe that I genuinely hope gets a chance to shine in one of the other projects that has been announced to expand it, which I hope is actually his own story and not part of another one yet. The biggest kudos here does go to Bill Skarsgård as the movie’s villain, The Marquis, who is the perfect foil for John Wick as an intimidating polar opposite in almost every way.
Stahelski has already earned the lifetime pass on movies for pure entertainment factor, but after this film and his brilliant filmmaking from inspiration and creativity in modernization, I cannot wait to see everything he makes from here forward. I’m already looking forward to my next viewing of John Wick: Chapter 4 and the viewing after that and the one after that and so on. This is an unabashed, unrelenting action flick, but the most stylistic and quality (and best) one of the entire series.