John Wick: Chapter 4
Photograph: Lionsgate
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John Wick: Chapter 4

3 out of 5 stars

Keanu Reeves is a charismatic standout in a relentlessly fighty sequel

Olly Richards

Time Out says

There is a story to the John Wick saga, and no doubt there are people who memorise every bit of assassin lore and its convoluted power structure, but plot has never really been the selling point of this series. Its prime appeal is in the batshit fight scenes in ever more ridiculous scenarios. This fourth movie certainly doesn’t short-change viewers on that front. 

There are fight scenes through a grand hotel filled with glass cabinets and antique relics; through a burning building; a preposterously grand Berlin nightclub; whizzing round the Arc de Triomphe at rush hour; and up the very steep steps to Sacré Coeur. The body count is enormous. There’s so much fighting that occasionally it might leave you numb to the punching, worn out by a blur of fists, but it cannot be accused of not putting the effort in.

John Wick (Keanu Reeves, again showing you can be a riveting movie star without doing much acting) was left for dead at the end of the last film. Now, he emerges from hiding to wage ultimate war on The High Table, the assassin organisation that effectively owns him. Finally, he believes he has found a way to earn his freedom. Standing in his way is The High Table’s latest villain, impeccably turned out git the Marquis de Gramont (Bill Skarsgård), and about a million henchmen. 

The franchise’s director Chad Stahelski once again mounts everything impressively, with the series signature techno-goth look dialled-up to maximum. While all the action scenes are huge, some are more exciting than others. A long sequence in a nightclub is a camp hoot, with Scott Adkins thrillingly overacting as a man who’s double-crossed everyone. And a shootout – involving exploding bullets and filmed entirely from overhead – is a technical triumph. Some others, however, like the CGI-heavy Arc de Triomphe sequence and a hotel massacre, go on too long in a hail of wavy-armed stuntman acting. They’re still extremely well choreographed, they just miss that extra twist of madness that makes the franchise’s best sequences.

Keanu Reeves again shows you can be a riveting movie star without doing much acting

It’s almost churlish to complain that some of the carnage is too basically carnage-y, but at 169 minutes there’s a lot of it to sit through. That running time might test the casual fan, but for Wick devotees this character’s battle through assassin hell will be close to action-movie heaven.

In cinemas worldwide Mar 24.

Cast and crew

  • Director:Chad Stahelski
  • Screenwriter:Shay Hatten, Michael Finch
  • Cast:
    • Keanu Reeves
    • Ian McShane
    • Donnie Yen
    • Bill Skarsgård
    • Laurence Fishburne
    • Clancy Brown
    • Scott Adkins
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