Movie review: “John Wick 4” hits the right note; the ending hints at more

Omoleye Omoruyi
John Wick 4
John Wick 4

When the credits roll on the phenomenal “John Wick: Chapter 4”, the question in your head would be: “Did they just kill John Wick?”

But before we get to the end, we welcome back Mr Wick! Four years after “John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum.” director Chad Stahelski and Keanu Reeves have returned to theatres with “John Wick: Chapter 4,” – a hyper-violent action franchise – and a film that was supposed to hit theatres almost two full years ago.

John Wick: Chapter 4” opens with its title character on the run again as the sinister Powers That Be, known as the High Table, get in his way. What happens after that, as expected, is an enjoyable slaughter fest.

The hit scenes in “John Wick: Chapter 4” are long battles and gun-fu shoot-outs between John and dozens of people who want the ‘money’ and feel like testing their assassin skills. At one point in the film, John and a bounty hunter decide on the parameters of a battle, including time, weapons, and variables.

John Wick (Keanu Reeves)
John Wick (Keanu Reeves)

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The Plot – “John Wick: Chapter 4”

After three successful instalments: John Wick (2014), John Wick: Chapter 2 (2017), John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum (2019, “John Wick: Chapter 4” follows Reeves’ brooding hitman continuing his quest for vengeance against the High Table.

The opening scenes take John to Japan, where he seeks help from the head of the Osaka Continental, Shimazu (Hiroyuki Sanada), and runs afoul of a blind High Table assassin named Caine (Donnie Yen). 

The plot here, despite the movie’s epic runtime (170 minutes), feels focused again. Here’s John Wick. Here are the bad guys. Go!

Nobody waits for the go to be fully pronounced before they do.

The story has the vengeful assassin now travelling around the world from Morocco, Paris, New York and Berlin, with the bounty on his head growing and fighting fellow assassins.

John Wick (Keanu Reeves)
John Wick (Keanu Reeves)

In addition to Reeves returning, several familiar faces from the franchise returned, including Laurence Fishburne as The Bowery King and George Georgiou as The Elder, the mysterious head of the High Table.

Donnie Yen plays Caine, a blind and skilled martial artist and assassin, while Bill Skarsgard plays Marquis, a high-ranking member of the High Table.

The film also stars Lance Reddick in one of his final roles before death. Because of this, shortly after the tragic news broke of his death, Reeves and Stahelshi confirmed that Wick’s new adventure would be dedicated to Reddick’s memory. In a joint statement delivered to Variety, they said:

We are deeply saddened and heartbroken at the loss of our beloved friend and colleague Lance Reddick. He was the consummate professional and a joy to work with. Our love and prayers are with his wife Stephanie, his children, family and friends. We dedicate the film to his loving memory. We will miss him dearly.

What does the end say?

We watched the invincible assassin finally win his freedom from the High Table by killing the Marquis de Gramont (Bill Skarsgård) in a duel. But it’s not long before he collapses, bleeding, on the steps of the Sacré-Coeur Basilica in Paris.

John Wick (Keanu Reeves)
John Wick (Keanu Reeves)

From there, the film cuts to an image of his gravestone. The Bowery King and Winston (Ian McShane) mourn him alongside Wick’s pitbull – so, maybe he’s gone for good this time. Still, we know how these writers twist plots, so there may be hope that our beloved John will return.

Yet, “John Wick: Chapter 4” post-credits scene hints at something else: a new rivalry.

While he hunted John Wick, Caine killed Shimazu, the manager of the Osaka Continental. However, he left Shimazu‘s daughter Akira (Rina Sawayama) alive, who made it clear that either John would kill Caine or she would.

The post-credits scene shows Akira preparing for a fight as she walks through the throngs at Sacré-Coeur towards Caine, box cutter in hand. Akira pulls the blade out, and it goes black, but we understand – Mr Wick is out of the way, Akira is here.

However, Stahelski hinted that this might be it.

In our minds, Keanu and I are done for the moment,” he said in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter. “We’re going to give John Wick a rest. I’m sure the studio has a plan. If everyone loves it and it goes kooky, then we’ll take a quiet minute.”

5 or not, your money is not wasted at the cinema for John Wick 4.


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