“John Wick: Chapter 4” is finally here; after multiple delays and reshoots, fans now get to revisit the assassin underworld of John Wick.
I was more than excited for the release of this movie after a two-year delay due to complications from the Covid-19 pandemic. The movie was originally set to premiere on May 21, 2021, but got pushed back and even went through a number of reshoots. But it’s here now and it’s a fantastic end to the saga that director Chad Stahelski started almost ten years ago in 2014.
The film picks up a few months after the end of “John Wick: Chapter 3” which ended with Wick getting shot off a building and breaking his back. After recovering in the underground fortress of Laurence Fishburne’s character, the Bowery King, John is ready to kill his way to redemption. Still wanted dead by the leaders of the assassin underworld, The High Table, John plans to kill whoever he must to get rid of the contract on his head.
The film also introduces us to a number of new characters including master tracker Mr. Nobody played by Shamier Anderson. Blind assassin Caine played by Donnie Yen who is an old friend and colleague of John Wick shares the spotlight with Keanu Reeves. Audiences also see the introduction of the manager of the Osaka Continental, Shimazu, played by Hiroyuki Sanada and Shimazu’s daughter Akira played by Rina Sawayama. Bill Skarsgård gets time in the spotlight as the Marquis De Gramont who serves as the main antagonist of the film after declaring Winston, played by Ian McShane, excommunicado. The Marquis then kills Winston’s concierge Charon, played by the late Lance Reddick who passed away just seven days before the movie’s premiere.
The Marquis is tasked with hunting down John Wick by the High Table and has Caine and Mr. Nobody tracking his every move. Our first taste of the movie’s brutality takes place in the Osaka Continental where The Marquis sends his men after John. The ensuing battle is incredibly well-directed with the majority of shots being long takes of amazing stunt work and martial arts. All of the characters in the hotel get to put all of their martial arts practice to work on the Marquis’ goons. Keanu Reeves also gets a chance to show his skill with firearms that he’s put countless hours of work into perfecting.
The battle of the Osaka Continental takes a heavy toll as Caine is forced to kill Shimazu in a beautifully choreographed sword fight, leaving Akira and John to escape without him. John finds himself back home in New York where he runs into Winston while visiting Charon’s grave. Winston advises John that if he wants to earn his freedom, he must challenge the Marquis to a duel to the death. But it requires him to work his way back into his family, the Ruska Roma.
John travels to Berlin where he is told by the leader of the Ruska Roma crime family, Katia played by Natalia Tena, that if he wants back in he has to kill the man who killed her father. The man who he is ordered to bring down is Killa, who is played by Scott Atkins. During the fight, Scott Atkins demonstrates his martial art skills while in a massive prosthetic body suit; delivering massive punches and roundhouse kicks to John Wick.
With his ticket back into the Ruska Roma family burned into his forearm, John then travels to Paris to set the terms of his duel with the Marquis. John offers up his life for the chance of freedom from the High Table. Winston also sneaks in terms of his own demanding his reinstatement as manager of the New York Continental. But Winston’s terms also put his life on the line, as if John is killed then Winston will be buried with him.
The duel is set for sunrise of the following day where John and Caine will duel with a set of vintage dueling pistols. The Marquis then increases the contract on John’s life to $40 million, and now with the entire city of Paris and its assassins falling on top of him, John must do everything he can to make it to the location of the duel.
The next half hour of the film has John fighting his way through Paris, both on foot and behind the wheel of a 1969 Plymouth Barracuda. Drifting the muscle car while simultaneously shooting a handgun around the famous Arc de Triumph, Keanu gets to put his skills on full display. Then working his way on foot through an abandoned building where he shoots his way out of every scenario. The scenes inside the building show John picking up a shotgun loaded with incendiary shells and the screen is lit up with bright red blasts.
But John is forced back out onto the street where he must climb 222 stairs lined with armed goons. Making his way almost to the top, John is stopped by the Marquis’ top henchman and falls all the way back down. With just three minutes left to make it to the duel, John is saved and helped by Caine and they battle their way to the location the duel is set to be held.
The film reaches its climax with John and Caine dueling, with Caine shooting John to the ground and the Marquis goes to fire the last shot. But John saves a shot in his pistol and kills the Marquis, freeing him from the clutches of the High Table. The film ends with John asking Winston to take him home before collapsing on the ground after having been shot three times.
“John Wick: Chapter 4” serves as a satisfying end to the John Wick saga, with the stakes being higher than ever and the action crazier than anything seen before. Keanu Reeves puts on a display of hand-to-hand combat and firearm expertise that isn’t seen in any other movie. And while it is sad to see the saga come to end, director Chad Stehalski concludes the story in an incredibly satisfying way.