John Wick: Chapter 4
2023 K-18 2 h 49 min
The “world’s most militant animal rights activist”* delivers stylish carnage on-screen for the 4th time – and that’s what makes John Wick films strangely entertaining. A bit like the R-rated version of Asterix&Obelix or Bud Spencer-Terence Hill, where all the fights are pure fun. And in this case you can discard any claims to plausibility, too, e.g. when a pencil (loosely based on the saying “the pen is at least as deadly as a sword”) or a book (!!) turn out to be a lethal weapon in JW 2 and 3. Well, part 1 still was somewhat within the realm of possibility.
Moreover, if those excessive orgies of violence were not accompanied by breathtakingly aesthetic cinematography – truly amazing visuals! – watching would be almost unbearable. It’s a bit like heavy metal music using brutality as a stylistic device of protest against social constraints. Because John Wick also just wants to lead a normal life, stop being an assassin. And he only slaughters the henchmen of this mysterious all-powerful criminal organisation, which has a more complicated set of historical rules than the Vatican, that just won’t leave him alone – so somehow he still remains a positive figure. And for bookworms, it’s useful to know how to use them to defend yourself in an emergency situation.
Keanu Reeves is once again adorable and frightening at the same time in the role of the taciturn killer – somehow absurd, since he is considered one of the nicest people in Hollywood or anywhere. Part of the show are other old acquaintances from the previous films, albeit in less important roles, e.g. Ian McShane and Laurence Fishburne. Absolutely breathtaking, as always, are the fight choreographies, where Donnie Yen and Hiroyuki Sanada stand out. Bill Skarsgård is at least as scary here as he is as Pennywise, and without clown make-up…Tragically, Lance Reddick (R.I.P.) could no longer witness the premiere; he would certainly have enjoyed the feedback to this bloodthirsty epic.
Conclusion – absolute recommendation. BUT: Although I didn’t get bored at all – why are (almost) three hours WITHOUT BREAK apparently the new norm? Had to get out briefly at the 2h mark, but at least I didn’t miss the post-credit scene, unlike most who had to leave in a hurry as soon as the credits began to roll …
* The media should abandon the term “militant animal rights activists” for good, because animal rights activists never take action against animal cruelty a la John Wick – UNFORTUNATELY …
Director: Chad Stahelski
Script: Shay Hatten, Michael Finch, Derek Kolstad
Cinematography: Dan Laustsen
Keanu Reeves – John Wick
Laurence Fishburne – Bowery King
George Georgiou – The Elder
Lance Reddick – Charon
Ian McShane – Winston
Bill Skarsgård – Marquis
Donnie Yen – Caine
Hiroyuki Sanada – Shimazu
Shamier Anderson – Tracker
Rina Sawayama – Akira