John Wick Chapter 4 Review
John Wick: Chapter 4, directed by Chad Stahelski, stays true to the franchise’s signature style of over-the-top action and dazzling choreography, but falls short of its aspirations to be a monumental and seminal addition to the series. Picking up where its predecessor left off, the film follows John Wick, a tired yet determined super-assassin seeking revenge against the High Table for attempting to kill him. However, the High Table is now making bold changes, and John’s allies are warned that their ties to him will only bring ruin.
The Marquis Vincent de Gramont, a high-ranking member of the High Table, serves as both a convenient target for John and the embodiment of the organization’s existential fear of change. As John mows down his pursuers, including blind swordsman Caine, the film showcases the expertise of Stahelski and Reeves. However, the narrative can feel wobbly and thin in moments building up to or cooling down from action sequences, highlighting the film’s overall overlong and repetitive nature.
In order to challenge the High Table head-on, John must go on a globe-trekking journey to acquire the necessary tools and alliances. This takes him to a Japanese branch of the Continental, where he encounters new characters such as Koji Shimazu and his daughter Akira, as well as Mr. Nobody, a notebook-toting tracker with a German shepherd. While John eventually faces off against the Marquis, the film falls slightly above average compared to its predecessors and fails to reach its grand aspirations.
Chapter 4 of John Wick is focused on exploring the future of the franchise, rather than just showcasing the titular character taking on the world. New faces like Sawayama and Anderson are introduced and are able to shine in the sprawling fight sequences. However, despite the impressive action scenes, the lack of character development and depth in the script is apparent, making it hard for the characters to feel like real people. The prolonged fight scenes, while crafted for diehard fans, make the movie feel needlessly drawn out.
Furthermore, the constant battles make it hard for the fight scenes to have any real impact on the audience. Reeves’ stoic and quiet portrayal of John Wick works as a counterbalance to the movie’s attempts at physical comedy, although some of the scenes fall flat and come across as cringe-worthy or mean-spirited.
John Wick: Chapter 4 requires a commitment from the audience, both in terms of time and investment in the franchise. However, it does leave open possibilities for future stories centered around the new supporting characters, which is a pleasant surprise given the film’s focus on reminding the audience of Wick’s prowess. The film also stars Laurence Fishburne, Clancy Brown, Natalia Tena, Marko Zaror, Bridget Moynahan, and George Georgiou.
John Wick: Chapter 4 is poised to continue the franchise’s trend of surpassing each previous film’s box office earnings. Despite the recent passing of cast member Lance Reddick, to whom the film is dedicated, this latest installment is expected to shatter records at both the domestic and international box office during its opening weekend. While it is being marketed as the final film in the series, at least for now, it is expected to be a massive financial success. Experts predict a domestic opening weekend gross of between $65 million and $70 million, with an additional $45 million projected from international markets, resulting in a total worldwide debut of approximately $115 million. This would easily outpace the previous record holder, John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum, which earned $56 million domestically during its opening weekend in 2019. The film will be released in over 3,800 theaters domestically starting on Friday, with soft launches beginning on Thursday afternoon. It will also simultaneously debut in 71 territories worldwide, including the U.K., Germany, Australia, France, Italy, Spain, and Mexico.