John Wick: Chapter 4 (2023) – Review/Summary

In “John Wick: Chapter 4,” the sheer relentless craft in action will amaze you, exhaust you, then amaze you again.


Community Rating: 100% (1 votes)

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In “John Wick: Chapter 4,” the sheer relentless craft in action will amaze you, exhaust you, then amaze you again.

Director(s) Chad Staheleski
Screenplay By Michael Finch and Shay Hatten
Based On N/A
Date Released (In Theaters ) March 24, 2023
Genre(s) Action
Duration 2 hrs, 49 mins
Content Rating R
Noted Cast
John Wick Keanu Reeves
Winston Ian McShane
Bowery King Laurence Fishburne 
Caine Donnie Yen
The Marquis Bill Skarsgård
Mr. Nobody Shamier Anderson

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Film Summary

“Abandon all hope, ye who enter here!” The Bowery King recites Dante’s Inferno as we see a bloody-knuckled fist smash into a punching bag again and again. This opening scene to “John Wick: Chapter 4” reveals the tone of the rest of the movie: it’s dramatic, epic, and will keep the punches coming until you have no choice but to submit to its grand ambition and craft.

We last left Wick weak, bloodied, and shot by his father figure, Winston. The ending of “John Wick 3” was less of a betrayal from Winston and more of a necessity. The films have slowly crafted a story world of secret hierarchies and rules that leave much to interpretation but allow the viewer to understand what’s necessary for the story. Winston’s purpose is to serve at the Continental, a hotel that accommodates wealthy and powerful people of the High Table and assassins… most of which want to kill John Wick for sheer money or vengeance. To keep the powers that be happy, Winston decides to shoot his friend, taking a gamble on whether or not he’ll recover like Wick always does.

But after being taken in and sheltered underground by the Bowery King, Wick recovers and is looking for vengeance. He travels to Morocco to kill a man known as the Elder, the only person above the High Table. Due to Wick’s action, Winston loses the Continental and is left alone and stranded by the Marquis, a member of the High Table who will do anything to kill John Wick.

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John Wick spends most of the film shooting and fighting under the protection of friends, seeking to get back into the graces of his crime family to have a one-on-one faceoff with the Marquis. Yet as Wick has a few friends, he has hundreds of enemies- two of these enemies are a terrific tracker named Mr. Nobody and an old friend named Caine, who both serve as film highlights. Each has something to gain and lose, but what John Wick wants most is to earn his freedom from this crime world and return to his old life.

The films have come far from their humble beginnings of gun fights in a suburban home. But the audience has gained more as each film has grown more ambitious in location, costuming, and action set pieces. In a movie business filled with quick cuts, blue screens, and CGI, “John Wick: Chapter 4” is unmistakably an old-school action movie with new-school technology that makes violence its own art form.

Things To Note

Why “John Wick: Chapter 4” is Rated R

Dialogue: Moderate Profanity Throughout
Violence: Of all spectrums: guns, swords, nunchucks, dog bites, explosions, fists, car crashes, you name it, Wick’s got it. While the violence is nonstop, the blood isn’t graphic or gory.
Sexual Content: N/A
Miscellaneous: N/A

Question(s) Left Unanswered

  1. As the first Wick spin-off, Ballerina, comes out this year, how will that connect to Wick’s world and the characters we’ve previously seen?
  2. A post-credits scene suggests a spinoff with two fan favorites from Chapter 4, yet no spinoff project has been announced with these two characters. When will we see them again?

Collected Quote

“Just have fun out there.”

Character Descriptions

Please Note: This character guide is not an exhaustive list of every cast member, and character descriptions may contain what can be considered spoilers.

John Wick

A loving husband and retired assassin who lost his wife due to a terminal illness. Before her death, John’s wife gifts him a dog, but the dog is tragically killed during a home invasion, influencing John to go back to his old ways and avenge his dog’s death. But the domino effect is particularly strong in John’s life. The home invaders are tied to a larger crime syndicate that takes John out of retirement and puts him against increasingly powerful foes. But all John wants is his freedom again.

Winston

The hotel manager of New York’s Continental and a dependable friend for John. While Winston seemingly always supports John, he’s also aware that John’s combat skills could be to his advantage in getting back the Continental too.

Bowery King

An underground King of the houseless in New York City. Although the King looks shabby, his knowledge of the streets and connections help him attain anything he wants. He also becomes another ally and protector to John.

Caine

Another old friend of John’s, Caine, is a blind ex-assassin brought out of retirement and ordered to kill John Wick or lose his daughter. Caine is hesitant to kill but is John’s most significant threat yet.

The Marquis

As the primary antagonist and the man with the most wealth and power, the Marquis seeks even more power by ordering everyone in the crime syndicate to kill John. While the Marquis isn’t a strong or exceptionally physically skilled man, he’s ruthless in his decisions.

Mr. Nobody

Mr. Nobody is a tracker shrouded in mystery. We don’t learn his real name or how he came across/developed his notebook of secrets; all we know is that Mr. Nobody wants to hunt down John Wick for a price and that he loves his dog.

Review


Community Rating: 100% (1 votes)


Our Rating: Positive (Worth Seeing)Recommended

Notable Performances or Moments

Donnie Yen

Donnie Yen is a martial artist and Hong Kong action star, but he finally gets a Western role worthy of his charm, empathy, and skill in “John Wick 4.” While he may be an adversary of Wick’s, you cannot help but root for him with every cane step he takes.

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Highlights

Highly Detailed and Choreographed Action Sequences Will Amaze You

Half of the 169-minute runtime is dedicated to action sequences that perform long takes in real sets. There are no quick cuts and no CGI; these are real actors and stunt professionals giving their all to every scene. The camera moves through the action like an omniscient viewer, showing each performer’s blunt force and talent. Two standouts are the attack on the Osaka Continental and the quest to Sacré-Cœur, all a true ballet of bullets.

Well-Crafted Side Characters Provide Glimpses Into an Expanded Story-World

John Wick is now a franchise, but the story walks the fine line of fleshing out its characters and story world inch by inch with every new movie. There’s no grand speech or exposition about what it all means: the Continental, the High Table, these crime families, and how the assassins reached this point; we just know it’s all here, and whatever mysterious rules they abide by, they uphold more than anything else. The story can be as simple or as complex as you like. Either way, it sets the table for a good time with heroes and villains you want to follow.

Nods to Movies Classics Make Chapter 4 an Ode to Cinema

John Wick is aware of what it is, and it knows what the audience wants: to see John Wick kick-ass, get his ass kicked, and then somehow get back up and kick more ass. But Wick also wears each of its influences on its sleeve. It’s a western; it’s a samurai; it’s a black-and-white silent comedy. With Chapter 4 pulling from Lawrence of Arabia, the Warriors, the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, and even from anime and Buster Keaton films, John Wick isn’t just an ode to action cinema, but all cinema.

On The Fence

Long Run Time’s Necessity is Questionable

If a movie is over two and a half hours, it has to earn its time for the audience. Director Chad Staheleski commented that the initial cut of the footage together exceeded four hours, but the mind can’t help but look for areas to trim with a movie that’s still nearly three hours. It has long, sweeping aerial shots of cities and some stereotypical back-and-forth between enemies, and I question its necessity. But I’m also reminded that Chapter 4 actually shot in many of its locations instead of Hollywood’s urge to green-screen an entire movie and that the villains’ downfall becomes more rewarding with each sneer they make. The audience’s patience, however, is entirely up to the individual.

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John Wick: Chapter 4 (2023) – Review/Summary
Overall
John Wick: Chapter 4 is a grand, beautifully violent conclusion to the Wick series and an ode to cinema.
Highlights
Highly Detailed and Choreographed Action Sequences Will Amaze You
Well-Crafted Side Characters Provide Glimpses Into an Expanded Story-World
Nods to Movies Classics Make Chapter 4 an Ode to Cinema
Disputable
Long Run Time’s Necessity is Questionable
85

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