Tuesday 4 April 2023

John Wick: Chapter 4 Review

“The Man, The Myth, The Legend. John Wick” Never get tired of saying that line! Just like I never got tired of this series with its latest and possibly final instalment of the franchise, which might seem like a lot at this point for certain viewers. For all the John Wick and Keanu Reeves fans out there, I assure you that this movie will not disappoint. The beloved Hollywood superstar continues to put out his best performance as the treasured title character of his lore with more gruesome action, powerful dialogues and deeper ties with new characters. Chapter 4 brings back Ian McShane (Winston), Laurence Fishburne (Bowery King), and the late Lance Reddick (Charon), who I would like to dedicate this article to after his recent passing away. The film also introduces other high-profile actors such as Donnie Yen (Caine), Hiroyuki Sanada (Shimazu), Shamier Anderson (Mr. Nobody), Bill Skarsgard (Gramont), Scott Adkins (Killa Harkan) and Clancy Brown (The Harbinger).

Please note that this article contains spoilers ahead. If you haven’t seen the movie yet and plan on watching it soon, kindly stop reading after this.

After recovering from a gunshot and a near fatal fall from the top of the New York Continental, Jonathan has recovered and prepared for his vengeance against the The High Table with the aid of The Bowery King. He starts off by killing The Elder in Morocco, which leads to the introduction of the movie’s main antagonist, The Marquis Vincent De Gramont who in my mind was written very well to be presented as the type of baddie who wears the most expensive clothing but doesn’t have any elegance whatsoever to his personality. The reason I find that very fitting is because during the course of the franchise, apparel and fashion have been a major element of storytelling. Gramont reprimands Winston for failing to execute Wick by revoking his title as manager of the New York Continental branch and also destroying the aforementioned establishment. While some may agree with Gramont’s decisions so far in light of Winston’s actions at the end of the previous film, it was when Charon was mercilessly shot down by the High Table’s kingpin for Vincent’s failure, which led to the fans to immediately detest Skarsgard’s character.

John soon travels to Japan to take refuge at the Osaka Continental where the plot thickens. Mr. Nobody, a bounty hunter makes his first appearance after checking into the hotel where we are also introduced to Shimazu Koji who runs the hotel, and his daughter Akira who is their concierge. The rooftop scene where Shimazu and his oldest friend John briefly reunite was definitely one of my favorite scenes in the film where Shimazu delivers my favorite dialogue “
Friendship means little when it’s convenient”. It reminded me of the old saying “Real friends stick by your side during your success as well as your failures”. Soon after this, we see the arrival of the High Table’s assassins along with Caine, a retired member who is blackmailed by Gramont to take on the assignment of killing Wick in return for the safety of his daughter.

It was during this moment when I realized I will have to brush up my counting skills as the first wave of John Wick killings begins here. My good friend Nikita from @__movies.shmovies___ told me to keep track of this in future movies after watching the second
 film together in Dubai back in 2017. John, Shimazu, Hikaru and the Osaka Continental staff engage with the High Table’s assassins leading to countless bodies and ammunitions laying on the floor after the dust settled. Unfortunately, it also resulted in Shimazu dying in the process at the hands of Caine who reluctantly slayed his former friend while sparing Akira’s life despite her efforts to kill him. On the other hand, Mr. Nobody decides the Ex-Communicado’s reward of 20 million USD is insufficient and stops pursuing Jonathan.

Caine’s character is one that intrigued me a lot after that act of the film. He was revealed to be blind and using special motion sensor alarming devices to alert him of his opponents’ precise location. But his talents don’t end there. Caine is highly skilled in hand-to-hand combat along with swords and guns. His character’s story is written in a very similar manner to John’s background in the 1st and 2nd film of the franchise. An assassin who was done with that life but was brought back to his old roots. He is just not in the same position as John is in or was in the beginning of this saga.

At this point we only reached the half-way mark of the film with another 70 minutes left on the clock and I was still at the edge of my seat loaded with curiosity of where the story is going to take us next. Who is John going to approach now for help? How many more corpses will Mr. Wick leave behind? Will he be able to destroy the High Table? The director Chad Stahelski did a great job in making the movie not feel redundant even with longest run-time in the franchise.

After the carnage in Osaka, John pays Winston a visit at Charon’s gravesite in New York after learning what had happened. Winston advises John to challenge Gramont to a duel as that is the only way he can win his freedom back from the High Table. Upon this suggestion, John makes his way to Berlin to mend an old relationship with the Ruska Roma clan. However, he is only welcomed back into the syndicate if he assassinates the German High Table’s chief commander, Killa Harkan. After another wave of massacre at Killa’s club, John manages to accomplish this task and win his spot back in the organization in order to be eligible to officially challenge Gramont for the duel in Paris.

My respect continues to rise for the Lionsgate studios, Chad Stahelski and the creator Derek Kolstad for continuing to add variety to the list of characters that have appeared so far in the series. I personally was unaware of who Scott Adkins is until my best friend told me about him and showed me what he looks like in real life. I immediately became a fan of Adkins after learning about his versatility in acting. Not only was he able to look almost unrecognizable in this movie, but he managed to seem very sprightly in that large physique during his fight scenes with Keanu Reeves. My hope is to see him in more bigger projects after this film because Scott seemingly can take on any role and deliver.

The High Table’s diplomat, Harbinger decides that a pistol duel will now be contested deciding the fate of Jonathan and Winston. Should Jonathan not make it on time at the next sunrise for the duel, he and Winston will be executed. If John wins, he would be free, the NYC Continental would be rebuilt and Winston would be reinstated as the manager. The Bowery King and Winston provide John with weapons and a new suit with armour capabilities. Despite Gramont’s efforts to prevent John’s appearance for the duel, Baba Yaga manages to overcome another group of adversaries with more bloodshed in the streets of Paris.

John nearly misses his deadline but with some unexpected help from his scheduled adversary in the duel, Caine himself, he managed to make it to the venue. John would have still been unsuccessful in his quest had he not saved Mr. Nobody’s pet dog from being killed by Gramont’s right hand man during the killing in Paris, who later decides to assist the man he was targeting after the bounty price had nearly doubled since the beginning of the film.

As the duel began, we all knew this was the moment where we either get another John Wick movie or not. The stakes were high and we were all filled with anxiousness for Mr. Wick’s fate considering he is facing an equal. Both participants manage to get shots at each other in the first and second
 rounds except in the third where Caine fires first and leaves John grounded. Gramont decides to intervene and fire the final round but failed to realize that John still had the 3rd bullet in his pistol and ends up getting shot in the head. The Harbinger declares Jonathan’s freedom and Winston’s reappointment as manager of the NYC continental. A mortally wounded John Wick asks Winston to take him home before he walks down the steps and reminisces in some fond memories of his late wife and collapses. The next and final scene of the film shows The Bowery King and Winston at Helen and John’s graves bidding farewell to their former associate along with the dog John had rescued from the shelter in the end of the first film.

I left the theatre with mixed emotions because there was not going to be another John Wick movie after this one. However, I felt deeply satisfied in the end like most other fans who followed the quadrilogy since its inception in 2014. Like all other great fandoms such as The Dark Knight, Breaking Bad, and Sons of Anarchy, there needed to be a conclusion to a great tale. The same applies to this saga. It is better to not get greedy and risk destroying something phenomenal and losing credibility. Don’t believe me? Check out Prison Break from Fox or Suits from USA Network. Both shows started out very strong in the first 2 seasons but were unnecessarily prolonged/revived which tainted their legacies.

There aren’t many film series out there that were able to maintain the quality of their plots and style of action like this one. It is mainly due to the fact that Chad was the director and Derek was the writer for all four films, which explains the consistency of their good work. For those of you who are upset that the show is over, don’t be. Keanu Reeves will be reprising his role in the upcoming spin off Ballerina starring Ana De Armas. I really admire how the first film had a very basic story and focused more on the action, but then the scripts began to evolve starting with the second film and a long-term story was contrived flawlessly along the way while the action style was not compromised. Hats off to everyone involved in spawning this mind-blowing series.

My score for this movie is a perfect 10!

Thank you very much for taking the time to read our review. Be sure to tell us your thoughts on it and the film in the comments section below. We will be grateful if you could also share it with your friends and family.

Arthur Kaz




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