John Wick: Chapter 4 (2023) Review

Quick synopsis: Man still can’t get over the death of his dog

As a professional and respected reviewer, it’s important to remain impartial and not allow personal opinions and thoughts to influence what you write.

But I’m not respected, or professional, so fuck all y’all I can be as biased as I like. I was into this from the first trailer. (Note, only just realised I used a really similar opening to my review of the third one, weird).

Actually, I was into it from the teaser, which they used to announce it was delayed by a year. The actual trailer could have just been the words “Donny Yen is in this” and I would have known I wanted to see it because he’s amazing. His character doesn’t fully let loose in this on account of being blind, but he still performs some incredibly creative action set pieces. The fight between Caine and Wick is a great piece of not only action but also character work. That brings me to one of the criticisms of Chapter 4: It’s lacking a central “wow” scene. The action scenes are good, but there’s not one that you can look at and say “Okay, even if you don’t watch the film, watch this one scene”. It is also a little too long, but I’m not sure what can be cut out. Everything is needed (except maybe the part in the desert at the start), and even if you don’t realise it, there’s A LOT of world-building in this. Some might say too much; there were a few characters I thought “Oh, I can’t remember who that person is” who it turned out weren’t in any of the previous films. That only happens occasionally though, for the most part, you can figure out what’s happening just by paying attention. Wait, hold on a second

*checks old review and finds this*

“There’s so much that goes unsaid about the universe but is just implied and shown, it really sets it up as a universe which actually exists, and also means you have to be paying attention to everything. You actively engage with the films because you have to, you can’t just sit back and dip and out”

Huh, weird. For a series that constantly reinvents itself I do repeat my thoughts on it a lot. Although the review of the third one has reminded me of this: there’s a distinct lack of Anjelica Huston in this. It does have a good amount of Rina Sawayama in it, which is an upside. One of her songs plays over the closing credits and it will be a great loss if she’s not approached to do a Bond theme one day.

This is a fitting end to the franchise, well, the main series anyway as there is still a spin-off film out next year starring Ana De Armas (best known from Knives Out), plus a prequel TV series. It ends the only way this franchise could end, and it’s beautiful. There are talks of a sequel because of how well this did, but the only way that could work would be if it’s actually a prequel, or if it focused on different characters.

I would definitely want a comic book explaining the world more though, I feel there are a lot of subtle things I missed.

That previous paragraph would have made an apt way to end this review. Nope, I’m continuing.

Can we just appreciate how good Keanu is in this? He only speaks 380 words over the whole film, but you don’t notice. You never sit there thinking “I wish he could speak more”, he speaks when he needs to. Plus his physical performance is as good as it has been throughout this franchise. Chapter 4 probably has the best ensemble cast of the franchise. Shamier Anderson, Clancy Brown etc all slot into this world seamlessly. Skarsgard does too, and his arc over the course of Chapter 4 is fascinating to watch play out, especially when you think about it and wonder if the High Table thought he would fail and gave him the resources needed to hang himself.

That’s why I love this franchise, they’re not just the best action movies of the last decade, they also inspire a lot of conversation, but not in a “wait, what the hell actually happened?” way. They inspire debate and passion, and the world is a better place because these films are in them.


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