Street Date 6/13/23;
Box Office $187.07 million;
$29.96 DVD, $39.99 Blu-ray, $42.99 UHD BD;
Rated ‘R’ for pervasive strong violence and some language.
Stars Keanu Reeves, Donnie Yen, Bill Skarsgård, Laurence Fishburne, Hiroyuki Sanada, Lance Reddick, Rina Sawayama, Scott Adkins, Natalia Tena, Ian McShane.
The “John Wick” movies can always be depended upon for an intense thrill ride, and John Wick: Chapter 4 has no trouble sustaining a consistent pace of nearly non-stop action. That’s saying something, considering the film, at 169 minutes, or just shy of three hours, is more than 40 minutes longer than any previous “Wick” film.
On the other hand, that’s a lot of story from the previous films to pay off, and star Keanu Reeves and director Chad Stahelski are damn well going to take the time it takes to bring the story to where they want it to go.
The plot is well engineered to facilitate the action. Wick (Reeves), having been excommunicated from the ultra-elite High Table after the events of the first three films, plots his revenge on the supposedly super-secret organization (which everyone and their mother seems connected to by this point in the series). The Table, in turn, has hired the Marquis (Bill Skarsgård) to eliminate Wick, which sets the tables for more hordes of assassins to futilely attack Wick in hopes of collecting a multi-million-dollar bounty.
To lead the attack, the Marquis sends Caine, played by Donnie Yen as another martial arts master who is blind, which will draw some comparisons to his character in Rogue One. Caine and Wick are old pals, but their grudging respect won’t stop them from eliminating the other for the sake of their mission.
For help, Wick turns to an old buddy in Japan, giving the first half of the film the flavor of a 1970s martial arts flick, with characters trading out guns for swords and arrows, while Wick is pretty handy with a set of nunchucks.
It’s basically like watching a hyperkinetic video game, as Wick must embark on side quests in order to set in place the pieces for a final confrontation with the main boss, the Marquis himself, in order to secure his ultimate freedom and some redemption for his allies.
But everything that came before pales in comparison to an extended action sequence in Paris in which Wick must evade wave after wave of assassins sent to thwart his final encounter with the Marquis. The action spills out into the streets, where the speeding cars themselves become weapons, and heads inside for an inventive bird’s eye view of the hunt through numerous rooms of a building.
The film is long and brutal, which should delight action fans to no end, as viewers will practically feel every blow along with Wick.
The Blu-ray includes 11 featurettes for a total of 67 minutes of behind-the-scenes footage, mostly dealing with the stunts, the action choreography, and the elaborate set designs, which fans should find interesting.
There are also two theatrical trailers and a three-minute action sequence from the upcoming prequel series “The Continental.”