When The Matrix was released back in 1999, the world met Keanu Reeves: the badass action star. The series was a monster success and spawn an entire franchise. And even though Keanu had a series of hits that followed, it wasn't until 2014 that he found another seminal action character that audiences connected with: John Wick.
The emotional story of a retired hitman taking revenge on the dreary of his dog struck the hearts of many, and immediately we found our next action hero superstar.
KEANU REEVES IS A BADASS AGAIN!
Kicking ass and taking names. That is what John Wick does. And film after film has increased the carnage and the intricate world that he inhabits. So with the release of John Wick: Chapter 4, the supposed "final" chapter, we Goofs have put together a group review of this incredible action extravaganza!
So please read below to see how each of us felt about John Wick's newest adventure!
After the last 3 chapters I had high expectations for John Wick: Chapter 4, but I also went into the theater considering there was no way they could continue the momentum they had created. Focusing on more of the deeper story than on pure action sequences, while having no shortage of crazy action either, The 4th installment of John Wick closes a chapter I wasn’t ready to close. However, it seems as though the book of The High Table has just been opened.
From the very beginning with Lawrence Fishburne's powerful monologue, until the last second of the film I was fully engaged. The sets, the techno music, and the highly choreographed action sequences make for another amazing movie, while the high table story expands adding new layers to the complicated conspiracy of the assassins world. Traditions and old rules of the High Table are explored as John attempts to once again gain his freedom from them by challenging the Marquis, played by Bill Skarsgård.
The Marquis is terrifying in a sadistic and seemingly spoiled gave me reminiscence of the arrogant asshole who started this whole war in the first movie, only much more tame. Although, they are really nothing alike in retrospect.
There is an elegance to the assassins that I love, but this chapter took it to the next level making each “boss level” bad guy into a perfected version of comic book villains. My favorite is Killa, a gigantic asthmatic, played by Scott Adkins. He gave me King Pin mixed with the Penguin vibes.
I also love how every faction had their own fighting style and weapons that sometimes don’t exactly match up as fair against each other. Like when the Chinese use crossbows against guns to defend their hotel. Completely impractical but badass to see.
The movie set up some new characters like the bad ass Mr. Nobody(which is kind of already taken by Bob Odenkirk), played by Shamier Anderson and Shimszu’s pissed off daughter Akira, played by Rina Sawayma. Both characters were very intriguing and I would love to see more.
One thing that made this movie different from the other John Wick movies was the comedic aspect to the fighting that entered the room when Caine, a blind man with a literal cane, got his first action scene. Caine is played by Donnie Yen, AKA Ip man. He created a vibe that they kept rolling with throughout the film, bringing a classic kung fu movie vibe to the table. No pun intended.
As the final chapter of John Wick comes to a close I can’t help but wonder what could be next in the John Wick universe. If you stayed for the after credits scene you might have a guess at home an Akira movie might start. I would love to see a universe ignite in which John Wick is seen as a martyr in his fight against the high table. This movie was the perfect way to close the John Wick Chapter and this tetralogy will forever be my favorite action movies. It was good to see you one last time, Mr. Wick.
John Wick 4 does what the others before it didn’t quite manage to do, give John a suitable and worthy challenger. Caine (Donnie Yen) gives the fourth installment of the John Wick series a refreshing new pulse; forcing more blood into the heart of what was already a sudden cardiac arrest waiting to happen. The blind assassin is a foe that seems to stand on the same moral principles of our protagonist, but is also still a slave to the demands of ‘The High Table’. This relatable dynamic offers quite the viewing experience as the two fight two battles; one against themselves and the other against the broken system.
As expected, John Wick 4 gives you the best fight choreography you’ve ever seen but what separates this one from its predecessors is the compelling mental warfare taking place in the minds of its diverse characters. Whether it be family, money or status John isn’t the only one with something to lose here and you CARE about what’s at stake. This isn’t a story about revenge, this is an EPIC about a revolution and survival against all odds. Mix that in with an already tasty recipe of savage gunplay (this time sprinkle in bow & arrows/ dash of nunchucks), and a truly detestable scumbag villain (Bill Skarsgård as Marquis) and ladies & gentleman you have a f**king HIT!
RATING: 9/10 (anti-climactic ending shreds perfect score)
After four genre defining entires, the John Wick franchise has (seemingly) come to a close. The franchise became a hit due to its insanely choreographed action sequences, neo-noir aesthetic, and surprising emotional weight. But does the final film stand up to the rest?
In fact, it could be argued that it is the best of the series. Which is pretty profound for a third sequel. Picking up not long after the events of John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum, we find John on a warpath; taking his revenge on the high table and the Elder for what they put him through. John goes full circle, accepting the consequences that were told to him way back in Chapter 2. He is an angel of death, and it's possible that he really only had one true way to escape from this kind of life. The action here is as iconic and jaw-dropping as before (maybe even more so) From a horseback desert chase, to an over-head video game inspired sequence, to a never-ending set of steps, the film careens from one gonzo action set piece to the next without ever dulling, or dragging. The pacing is fantastic. For a film nearly 3 hours in length, it hardly feels like it.
Another defining element in this franchise is the action guest stars we meet along the way, and Chapter 4 save the best for last, featuring Hiroyuki Sanda and Donnie Yen in fantastic roles. The John Wick films have always felt like modern samurai cinema, and this latest entry really brings that full circle with more sword fights than before, and Donnie Yen's character emulating the masterful Zatoichi samurai films.
My only true complaint is that part of the ending feels a little unfinished and slightly rushed. But with the announcement of the Ballerina spin-off, and a possible John Wick: Chapter 5, I wouldn't be surprised if the ending of this film was purposefully left open ended.
Congratulations Keanu Reeves, you've given us not one, but two genre-defining action franchises with a main character that we just love to see kick ass!
We Goofs are big fans of John Wick. It's incredible that this franchise has been able to keep the quality up for each film, failing to deliver a single disappointment within the franchise. And while some of us feel that the particular events at the tail end of this film might be slightly rushed, it still doesn't take much away from the incredible action sequences and breakneck story. The ending of Chapter 4 may mean the end of the franchise, but if the Babayaga ever decides to return to the big screen, we will be first in line.
GOOF'S GROUP RATING: 9/10