The John Wick franchise, which began in 2014, has set up a culture of assassins with its own set of rules and discipline, existing in a dark underworld that connects the world. The latest installment, John Wick: Chapter 4, directed by Chad Stahelski, continues to keep the franchise's heart in the right place, despite the chaos happening around. The story takes its time to set up the world of the High Table, which is now directly behind John, but every sequence is well thought-out and shaped in a way that concludes every single thing that has happened to him. The villain in this chapter is a young man who is arrogant and metaphorically powerful but not physically. His purpose is not only to eliminate John Wick but also the idea of him that inspires others to raise their voices. While the movie is packed with action, it has moments that shape a cathartic tale, wiping the idea of Wick, not just for the villain but for John as well. Keanu Reeves delivers a heartfelt performance, and the rest of the cast, including Donnie Yen, Ian McShane, and Laurence Fishburne, play their parts well. The direction, choreography, and music are exceptional.
After a long wait, the fourth installment of the John Wick franchise is finally out, and it is worth every bit of the wait. The director, Chad Stahelski, and the writers, Shay Hatten and Michael Finch, have found a balance between mythology and action, which was lacking in the previous chapters. With an epic runtime of 169 minutes, the film has a focused plot that is refreshing. The storyline follows John Wick (Keanu Reeves) as he tries to evade the High Table, which is after him. The leader of the High Table, Marquis de Gramont (Bill Skarsgård), keeps raising the bounty on Wick's head while cleaning up the messes left behind. To get help, Wick heads to Japan to seek 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 action sequences in John Wick 4 are artistically choreographed with urgency, and the stakes are defined. Stahelski and his team have figured out how to film combat in a way that doesn't sacrifice tension for showmanship, and it's evident in the long battles and gun-fu shootouts between John and dozens of people. The simplicity of objectives allows for complex choreography, and the film has brilliant clarity of intention. The choreography of the action is breathtaking, and the world goes on around Wick and his unfortunate combatants, adding a visually inventive backdrop.
Laurence Fishburne plays Wick's Q when he needs a new bulletproof suit, and Shamier Anderson plays an assassin who seems to be waiting for the price on Wick's head to hit the right level for him to get his payday. The simplicity of objectives in the movie allows for complex choreography, and it's fun to watch the characters have fun within those simple constructs.
Reeves has fewer lines in this movie than any so far in the franchise, but he completely sells Wick's commitment while also imbuing him with emotional exhaustion that adds more gravity to this chapter. The vengeful Wick of the first film is different from the survivor three movies later, and Reeves knows exactly what this character needs. He streamlines this performance to fit the film around him, allowing the supporters to shine in different performance registers, especially Yen and Anderson.
The cinematographer Dan Laustsen and Stahelski have ensured that the action sequences are clean and brutal and never confusing, and the stunt work is phenomenal. The shoot-outs have the feel of dance choreography more than the bland plot-pushing of so many studio films, and there's so much grace and ingenuity whenever Wick goes to work.
In conclusion, the fourth installment of the John Wick franchise is a must-watch for action movie lovers. The movie has a focused plot, artistically choreographed action sequences, and a brilliant clarity of intention that makes it stand out among the best of its genre. Reeves delivers an emotional performance that adds gravity to the movie, and the rest of the cast supports him well. The cinematography and the stunt work are phenomenal, making the shoot-outs feel like dance choreography rather than the bland plot-pushing of many studio films.
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