John Wick: Chapter 4


‘…the final instalment in the ultra-violent, super-kinetic franchise gets everything right as it brings the John Wick box-office juggernaut to a close on a genuine high…’

‘How you do anything… is how you do everything,’ might as well be the epitaph on John Wick’s headstone; the final instalment in the ultra-violent, super-kinetic franchise gets everything right as it brings the John Wick box-office juggernaut to a close on a genuine high. Those of us who balked at the 169 minute run-time of Chad Stahelski’s high-octane action movie have been left to eat our words with garnish; if the first film proved to be an appetiser, the following trilogy, or should we say thrill-ogy, rose admirably to the challenge of how to end a great story; leave your anxieties at the door, because JW4 packs a knockout punch.

We pick up where Parabellum left off; the devious High Table are unsurprisingly un-amused by Wick’s rogue behaviour. After what must have been a very effective evacuation, the Hotel Continental in Manhattan is swiftly razed to the ground, taking with it concierge Charon (the late Lance Reddick). A revitalised Wick seeks a safe space in the Hotel Continental Osaka, and the first hour delivers more of the same with a ferocious series of fights as Wick evades capture. Things jump up a notch as the action moves to Berlin, and then to Paris for a dizzying series of brutal AF set pieces leading up to a final sunrise duel, overseen by Marquis Vincent de Gramont, played in fine style by Bill Skarsgård.

The makers of the last James Bond film should be frogmarched to their local multiplex to take an urgent lesson in how to complete an action movie cycle; everything No Time To Die did badly, JW4 aces with ease. Always a graceful mover, Reeves is the Gene Kelly of armed and hand-to-hand combat, and the last hour of JW4 offers several jaw-dropping moments (that endless top-down carnage shot must be a series apex) on its way to a finale that drills down on everything we love about Wick’ s desperate, lovelorn, stoic character; the climactic duel is an iconic end in the grand tradition of Sergio Leone.

Usually when critics demands an end to a franchise, it’s because it’s gone off the rails; with JW4, an end is required because they’ve finally nailed it. It’s been quite a ride, with none of the films dipping below excellent, and while spin-offs, tv shows and all kinds of ephemera are likely to follow, the John Wick movies proper end here. Bonuses include Clancy Brown, some apposite needle-drops (Nowhere to Run is just right for Wick), the usual streak of black humour, an astounding car-fu chase backwards round the Arc d’Triomphe, and much more. But JW4 also circles back to the first film, and (vague spoilers, I guess) finally re-uniting Wick with his wife, making this a rare, relishable moment of completion that the other films lacked; a franchise built around mayhem that somehow comes to a squealing stop on a sixpence. Like the corridor scene from Old Boy, drawn out over four movies, Wick’s endless fight against the faceless, venomous world finally ends here in style; John Wick’s fuse burns down to a sensational end, so get out your handkerchives and get yourself down to your local cinema to say an emotional goodbye to one of the great action-movie franchises.



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    • I think I was just expecting to be bored. So the time flew by…but no film needs to be 169 mins long…

      • Nunchucks fight was far, far too long; arc de triomphe fight was too long, and the whole falling down the stairwell thing MULTIPLE TIMES was way, way, wayyyyy over the top.

        Donnie Yen was good, though. (why the heck was he blind?)


        • I think the blind swordsman thing is very old indeed.

          Agree about the nunchucks, but I get that for some people, the weapons stuff is key. But. Loved everything in the build up to the final duel, and feel it wouldn’t have worked so well without it. That’s at least 40 minutes of non stop action in the end, which must be a record. I did get bored at the end of 2 and 3, so either the films have gotten better or my taste is getting worse…

  1. Excellent accounting of conclusion of this saga! Got an early preview of wonderful, wired, brutish alt world of Wick vs High Table Syndicate. There’s a bit of Death Wish here and you’re so right, hits never stop coming until… carry on wayward son…underdog extraordinaire. I’m still wondering about his last pittie dog and the tracker’s dog… marveling how a 57 year old still exudes such disarming charm. Thinking next up might be a holiday Carol, ghosts of Wicks Past…or a Hamilton’esque poem song saga of The Wick? Way to go!

  2. I’m sure I’ll see it, but the trailer didn’t impress that much.

    Didn’t like hearing “Woke Up this Morning,” especially that version. Couldn’t they have found something different? Does it actually play in the movie or is it just the trailer tune?

    I guess they didn’t show any of the best stuff, but the fights all look like what we’ve seen in the last two movies. Even the setting. What is their thing for battle royales in buildings that are all glass and night-club lighting? I mean, we’ve been here before, a lot.

    Wick riding a horse looked kind of silly.

    The car and the doggy scene looked cheesy.

    Be surprised is this is as good as 2.

    • Yup, I hear you, and the first hour is very much the same as two and three. Hadn’t seen the trailer, the song you mentioned isn’t in the movie. But yes, we get the glass case smashing and the desert but over with early, and then build towards a real non stop action climax that isn’t just one final fight like in Parabellum. There’s guns and stunts which we really haven’t seen before. It jumped up a notch, and then sealed the story. And the really go to town in their French monuments, it’s a tourist goldmine. Best all round film of a top franchise.

      What do you look like on a horse?

  3. Oh no, he’s going to die at the end then. Will weep buckets. That tune playing in the trailer is the theme song from The Soprano’s, though rapped up somewhat. I prefer the original but this one fits better for action. Yep yep and thrice yep for this when it streams.

    • Is the correct answer! I had my doubts, but once you get used to the length, this plays beautifully, and has the satisfying ending that NONE of the other films did. Enjoy!

  4. I believe it should be “razed to the ground”.

    Now I am semi-looking forward to this instead of dreading it.

    I thought there was going to be a 5th movie that was filmed at the same time so it could release in one year. Did I err?

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