3 Big Things on ‘John Wick 4’ — A SPOILER-FREE Review
Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned. I have been known to speak ill of the ‘John Wick’ franchise in the past. Admittedly, not a big action guy. That may seem shocking based on the macho-alpha-male vibe that tends to emanate from me. I tend to find action movies boring. Mostly because story and plot are often sacrificed for an ultra-violent fight sequence or high-speed car chase (i.e. Fast & Furious). Honestly, that was my first assessment of the original ‘John Wick’ back in 2014 and I didn’t bother with 2 or 3 when they released a few years later.
I’m here to let you know that I was wrong.
Not only are these movies a masterclass in world-building and story progression, the action sequences are unbelievably well executed. They look insane while also servicing the narrative. Simply put, you can’t be the world’s most lethal assassin without getting creative in combat, and the ‘John Wick’ series makes the most of this concept. I took it upon myself to revisit ‘John Wick’ 1, 2, and 3 before making it out to see the fourth instalment this week, and I have a new-found love and appreciation for what this franchise has accomplished.
But alas, we are only here to discuss one film; ‘John Wick 4’. So, if you’re on the fence as to whether or not to see it, here are 3 Big Things to consider:
1. It’s the best ‘John Wick’ film–by a wide margin.
“Oh okay, Kenny. You’re gonna build up the other films just to shit on them again?” Not at all. Even with my new-found respect for the franchise, it’s clear to me that this film has topped it’s predecessors in every way. If I’m going to rank them (like the rest of twitter seems to be doing this week) it would go as follows:
- John Wick 4
- John Wick 2
- John Wick
- John Wick 3
You’ll see a variation amongst the internet in regards to spots 2-4, but no sane person will deny this fourth installment is the crown jewel of the franchise. The stakes are much higher, without sacrificing detail or cutting corners around the plot. The action sequences are more intricately woven throughout the runtime and have tremendous complexity. New characters are introduced without any of them feeling unnecessary or unauthentic. There is so much like about this new installment and it never seems to drop the ball–even with a bit of an extended runtime; clocking in at 2 hours and 49 minutes.
2. The world created is at it’s most intriguing
You know I’ve alluded to it already. The world of rules and consequences the ‘John Wick’ universe has created continues to get more and more interesting. The fourth installment brings in more characters from John’s past as well as extends the reach of the Continental Hotels out to places we have had yet to visit. The way that these films have built up over the past 9 years has allowed ‘John Wick 4’ to take some big swings and not have it feel forced.
The introduction of Bill Skarsgard’s Emissary character finally gives us a true super-villain to the franchise as well. ‘John Wick’ 1-3 all did a great job of introducing incrementally bigger villains, and now we’ve gotten someone directly representing the elusive High Table. Bill Skarsgard is a welcome addition to any film, but he excels here once again as a villain.
3. Keanu can’t deliver a line to save his life.
Maybe I’m missing something here, but damn Keanu! Every line he delivers is spoken with the conviction of a man taking a massive dump. If you’ve seen these films you know what I’m talking about. Is this supposed to add to the mythos of John Wick? It seems like a joke; one that every ‘John Wick’ fan is in on except me. This will be my only real complaint for ‘John Wick 4’ and it’s my biggest complaint of the franchise as a whole. That being said, no one could possibly play this character better than Keanu. Nothing but love, buddy. Now go find Brendan Fraser and make a buddy-cop comedy. We demand it.
All-in-all, I was absolutely floored by ‘John Wick 4’. You can’t have the highest expectations going into the fourth film of an action movie franchise, so it’s safe to safe that mine were easily exceeded.
‘John Wick 4’ is the Citizen Kane of Shoot-Em’-Up Movies.
It certainly wont be on any respectable person’s list for the greatest films of all time, but it will likely be on the Mount Rushmore of Action Films with ‘Mission Impossible: Fallout’, ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ and ‘Hot Shots: Part Deux’.
VERDICT: 4.5 out of 5 Stars
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