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John Wick: Chapter 4

Baba Yaga. 

Year: 2023 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 (Scope) 
Certificate: BBFC 15 Cert – Not suitable for under 15s 
Subtitles: This film is not expected to be subtitled, though this cannot be guaranteed. 
Directed by Chad Stahelski 
Starring: Keanu Reeves, Donnie Yen, Laurence Fishburne  
An image from John Wick: Chapter 4

Yes, you’ve heard right. This is the best one yet. Baba Yaga is back, and he’s coming for it all. In the whirlwind of turbulent, gritty action that is the John Wick franchise, with set pieces defined by black-out bullet-proof suits, muscle cars, and seemingly endless pistol magazines, chapter four does it bigger and better without missing a beat. Make no mistake, ladies and gentlemen, John Wick 4, along with the franchise it has fantastically concluded, is a modern action hall-of-famer.

After narrowly escaping with his life and taking refuge with the Bowery King, John plans to exact his revenge on High Table. Embarking on a bloody world tour from Osaka to Berlin and Paris, John claws his way through waves of assassins to earn his one and only shot at freedom. Pushing sixty, Keanu is looking absolutely incredible. The man’s physical acting skills are second to none at this point, and he’s perfected this sort of smooth momentum he delivers with every fight scene that’s only found in veterans of action cinema. It’s awesome. Speaking of which, Donnie Yen, Hong Kong action cinema legend, plays the once-retired blind assassin Caine, an old friend of John’s who is following him on the journey. Donnie is a tremendous martial arts performer, lending heaps of charisma to each scene he’s in and helping to create some of the coolest choreography I’ve seen in years. “He’s almost too fast”, said Chad Stahelski in an interview with the NY Times.

I’d say the rest of the cast delivers solid performances except for Bill Skarsgård, who plays The Marquis appointed by the High Table to deal with John. Don’t get me wrong, Bill is great, I just don’t think he’s given too much to work with to develop him as an antagonist seeing as most of the action set pieces (of which there are over a dozen, yes) come down to John fighting waves of other enemies (I also didn’t like his French accent, but that’s another issue). But ultimately, this is a nit-pick, and if you’re in a mood you could honestly nit-pick these films into oblivion. But you’re not supposed to, damn it. Not that Chad doesn’t try to suspend some disbelief, but you have to lend some creative freedom to have a bit of fun. It’s this attitude that has given us some of the most memorable action scenes in recent years - with Chapter 4, there’s one scene that involves a bird’s eye shot of John clearing rooms with a dragon’s breath shotgun that is one of the greatest action sequences I’ve ever seen. You’ll know when you see it. And even then, I still had far less gripes with conveniences, weird choreography, or any “how did he not just die” moments in Chapter 4 than in chapters 2 or 3.

When it comes down to it John Wick 4 is a culmination the best elements the franchise has to offer. The most John Wick of all the John Wicks, the action and pacing does not let up for a second, stakes are higher still, and the choreography is at its best. It’s slick, explosive, and overall, a culmination the best elements the franchise has to offer. Don’t nit-pick. Sit back and enjoy it for the visual spectacle that is it,

Sebastian Smith

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Screenings of this film:

2022/2023 Summer Term (digital)
2022/2023 Summer Term (digital)