John Wick: Chapter 4

Grab your popcorn and settle in, folks! In fact, go ahead and spring for that hot dog too. You’re in for a helluva ride. That puppy-loving hitman, John Wick is back in John Wick: Chapter 4, and he has two things on his mind: revenge and a way out.

The John Wick franchise is not only one of the most exciting action series around, but also one of the most successful, having managed to one-up itself with each subsequent installment. That trend continues with the franchise’s fourth visit to the well that sees the un-retired hitman seeking a path to finally defeating The High Table, a crime syndicate that has put a multi-million-dollar bounty on his head.

"go ahead and spring for that hot dog. You’re in for a helluva ride"

With hopes of finally gaining his freedom from the obligations to the council of crime lords, Wick (Keanu Reeves) must face off against a new adversary in the form of the sadistic High Table emissary, Marquis (Bill Skarsgård). But, in his way will be a veritable phalanx of new – and old – enemies with powerful alliances around the globe.

Yes, it sounds like the same old plot that’s been running through the entire series, and it is. Clearly, director Chad Stahelski, who directed the three previous installments, and Reeves (as executive producer) have cracked the code and know exactly what audiences want: a familiar plot, and a whirling dervish gun-fu performance from Reeves, all underscored by a bloody ballet of stylized action set pieces. That’s exactly what we expect, and is exactly what we get.

However, a new and somewhat exciting element thrown in this time around is the expanded world-building that not only ramps up the action with a total of 14 major action pieces, but also takes us to several new and extravagant global locales such as Jordan, Japan, and Berlin. There’s also an elaborately choreographed chase scene – muscle cars are back! – that takes place on the streets around the Arc de Triomphe in Paris that must be seen to comprehend. How did they even do that?

But even that sequence doesn’t hold up to the one which takes place at the end of the film on the steps – nearly 300 of them – leading up to Paris’s Sacre Couer Basilica as Wick is forced to fend off a conveyor belt of bad guys. Elaborately choreographed and painstakingly detailed, the scene is exhausting to watch but is also one that demonstrates the lengths to which Reeves and Stahelski are willing to go to one-up themselves. That scene alone is one for the ages.John Wick: Chapter 4

If it all sounds excessive and over the top, it’s because it is. And that’s the point. It really only works because of its excess. What other franchise can you say that about?

Returning to the ensemble cast are Laurence Fishburne as the Bowery King, Ian McShane as Winston, and the late Lance Reddick as Charon. However, joining us for Chapter 4 are global film icons and martial arts experts Donnie Yen as Caine and Hiroyuki Sanada as Shimazu. Both bring not only their individual star power, but also some stellar knife, sword, and pistol fighting.

Of course, none of it would work without Reeves’ hand in the production, both in front of and behind the camera. Say what you will about the guy, but he is the absolute beating heart of this franchise. His goofy and affable nature in real life plays nicely against his silent-but-deadly Wick character while the working relationship he shares with Stahelski shows a bond and trust that comes through in the final product.

At nearly three hours, the film’s runtime is a bit bloated. And while I’m not sure how much John Wick: Chapter 4 will be enjoyed by those who’ve yet to visit any of the previous films, for fans of the series, Chapter 4 is not to be missed.

4/5 stars

Film Details

John Wick: Chapter 4

MPAA Rating: R.
169 mins
: Chad Stahelski
Shay Hatten; Michael Finch
Keanu Reeves; Laurence Fishburne; George Georgiou
: Action | Crime

Memorable Movie Quote: "Just have fun out there."
Theatrical Distributor:
Official Site:
Release Date:
March 24, 2023
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:

Synopsis: John Wick uncovers a path to defeating The High Table. But before he can earn his freedom, Wick must face off against a new enemy with powerful alliances across the globe and forces that turn old friends into foes.


John Wick: Chapter 4