John Wick arrived in 2014 and put the entire action genre into a chokehold.
It may very well be the film responsible for saving a declining cinematic category. With its revitalizing aesthetic of violence teetering between real and surreal, it quickly took over as the King of Action. Now it has reached its concluding chapter with John Wick: Chapter 4. Where we, the audience, entertain 2 hours and 49 minutes of all-out Wick.
The film doesn’t mess around with introductions. Picking up from the end of Chapter 3, Keanu Reeves’ John Wick is once again trying to escape the life of the High Table. Still excommunicated with their bounty growing in value, a new Marquis (Bill Skarsgård) has entered the scene to squash the myth of the Baba Yaga once and for all. Capping Wick at the knees by going for his trusted comrade Winston (Ian McShane) and the New York Continental, he adds to the growing pile of grievances Wick must take toll for. And that toll is death.
The thing about #JW4 is it’s A LOT.
This is the most Wick there has ever been. It’s why I led with the runtime for the film. But at the same time, it’s almost TOO MUCH. While the Osaka sequence is truly excellent, and introduces the exceptional Hiroyuki Sanada joined by an astonishing debut from Rina Sawayama, it’s extended freneticism certainly becomes something. And it’s not the only sequence which has this sensation, as later scenes add even more bombast to the overall affair. While not a bad thing under the guise of Wick, my mentioning of the line of real and surreal earlier is something the film steps over too many times. It does make sense to go out with reckless abandon, but I’d like to assume even John Wick has a limit.
In contrast the story is somehow lacking. The mythos of Wick has always been a fascinating selling point of the franchise. But as my sibling so succinctly put it; “#JW4 feels like watching a gamer play their game but they skip all the cutscenes”. While the bow it puts on the series is a fine flourish , it’s not enough to offset the sheer amount of action on display.
Avoiding squandering superstar talents like like Donnie Yen and more, it somehow takes away from, but also supplants, the overall muchness. While hopes of a spin-off may hide in the post-credits found right at the end, it does beg the need for more from the main storyline.
This review may sound pessimistic.
But it is still John Wick. And ultimately this gives a lot of credence to its score. It’s still the Baba Yaga taking down an organisation as mythological as themselves, in violent ways which are just as fabled. It just becomes a bit much when the survivability window is destroyed as effortlessly as the people who get in Jonathan’s way.
Anyway the soundtrack f*cks, and JUSTICE somehow did a new mix of their fantastic track ‘Genesis’.
Such is life, Jonathan
- Action - 10/1010/10
- Baba Yaga - 10/1010/10
- Survivability - 6/106/10
- Rina Sawayama - 10/1010/10
- No, but how? - 4/104/10
- Dogs - 2/102/10
The Baba Yaga takes a bow
In their most brutal outing yet. Adding in legends such as Sanada and Yen adds to the prestige of the series, and may see it end up sittting in the hands of newcomers like Sawayama.
A stunning soundtrack that keeps beat with the beats helps audiences catch their breath, as the largest action sequences the franchise has ever seen take place.
While it can feel like much, I suppose it wouldn't be like John Wick to simply go out with ease. It's one way or the other, and the other just isn't a choice for one Jardani Jovanovich.
So…is it cinema worthy?