Spoiler Warning for John Wick Chapter 4!
When the first John Wick movie came out in 2014, I don’t think we thought it would grow into this massive phenomenon and get three more movies.
Other than the love we all share for Keanu Reeves, the story was simple on the outside but built an entirely new and intricate layer underneath. What’s not to love about the idea of a hitman organization working right under our noses, with intricate systems, codes, their own laws, and hoards of money built up? What we saw in the first incredibly well-crafted movie was only the surface.
Chapter 4 is the best, which says a lot, as all the entries are excellent. But something about this film made it better than the previous ones. I think the lore was built up to such a masterful point that everything made much more sense.
John is still a wanted man, and the Marquis (Bill Skarsgard) wants to set an example with his defeat so no one else would dare to go against The High Table. But like others, he also didn’t learn his lesson: Don’t go against John Wick. Of course, if he had understood this, there wouldn’t be a movie for us.
The Marquis isn’t messing around and destroys Winston’s (Ian McShane) Continental Hotel and executes his receptionist, Charon, played by Lance Reddick. It was even more heartbreaking to watch this scene now, knowing it will be one of the last things we’ll see this amazing man in.
While I loved that the first movie played out in one city, seeing so many new places was refreshing. The first stop for John is in Osaka, where he visits another Continental Hotel led by his friend Shimazu (Hiroyuki Sanada). One of my criticisms of the movie is that they need to stop underutilizing Hiroyuki Sanada. This man’s mere presence is so strong that they should build entire movies around him, and I am a bit tired of seeing him appear so little lately. I mean, he showed it in this movie, too. He is the master of his craft. One of my favorite fights in this chapter is one with him in the hotel’s lobby and then later in his one on one with Caine (the amazing Donnie Yen).
The fights are once again beautifully crafted, there are no quick cuts, and the camera work is spot on from the very first second of this movie. The amount of work that went into the choreography is astounding. And once again, I have to champion Keanu Reeves. Many people complained even after the third movie that his movement seemed tired, but I think it’s perfectly reasonable for him to move the way he does. By chapter four, John is at such a high level of kill count and deals with so much damage done to his body that the only reason he moves is willpower. The way he got tired at points, and it took so much out of him to continue, was marvelous. Yes, he is very technical, and he knows combat, but he’s been doing this without a break, basically. So, it makes perfect sense that he is not moving the same way he did in the first entry. I mean, the number of times he fell just in Chapter 4 would have killed anyone else.
The other brilliant decision was to cast Donnie Yen as John’s friend, Caine, who gets hired to kill him to save his daughter. And he is blind. Did I mention that? Donnie already proved that he can play a blind person in a very convincing way in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. If you type into google search “Is Donnie Yen…” then the first thing that pops up is “blind in real life?” Once again, he proves that he can do anything. We talked about it afterward, and my friend was dumbfounded to discover that Donnie could actually see. He said that he was a hundred percent sure that he really was blind, thanks to the small movements he made. Oftentimes actors who portray someone blind fail in the smaller or quieter moments, but Donnie nailed those without a problem.
From Osaka through Berlin and Paris, we really move around the world as John’s looking for his redemption and vengeance. They balanced out the long fight sequences with enough dialogue and world-building, so the whole film didn’t become repetitive, and the whole ending was satisfying, to say the least.
None of us expected that this would also be THE END for Mr. Wick. He gets redemption not just for himself but Caine as well, but we also say goodbye to him as he sits down to watch his last sunrise in Paris. Not gonna lie here, I cried, and others in the theater did too. Keanu Reeves proved that he is one of the greatest action stars, and John Wick was his love letter to all of the fans.
Chapter 4, therefore, not only succeeds in making its world even bigger but also gives a proper sendoff to John Wick. It’s not the last time we will see him, as Keanu Reeves confirmed that he will reprise his role in Ballerina starring Ana de Armas. So don’t cry just yet, there’s a lot more happening in the John Wick universe, and if they keep up the same quality, we will not be disappointed.