The Wick Is Still Lit

John Wick 4
Stars: Keanu Reeves, Donnie Yen, Bill Skarsgard, Laurence Fishburne, Hiroyuki Sanada, Shamier Anderson, Ian McShane and the late Lance Riddick
Director: Chad Stahelski
Scriptwriters: Shay Hatten and Michael Finch based on characters by Derek Kolstad
Composer: Tyler Bates and Joel J. Richard
Cinematography: Dan Laustsen
Rating: R for extreme violence, language and themed material
Running Length: 168 Minutes

In case you have been counting, this is the fourth “John Wick” film, the previous one, Number 3, being “John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum.” You can’t keep a good fighter now and as I am writing this, the script for “John Wick 5” is probably being written. There are some humans who are made out of iron and don’t rust. As long as Keanu Reeves is on the set, there are films.  Now, as the story goes, most of the universe is after John Wick for something or the other and now John is after most of the universe.  That just about sums it up. For the audience?  Sit back, relax, mind the language, and see fight scenes to dazzle the eye.

John Wick (Reeves) has one friend, the Bowery King (Laurence Fishburne) who has hidden John from the High Table (leaders of an international organization). John kills one of the top echelons and now the pursuit of John Wick begins around the world and with John finding friends of his in danger, including Akira (Rina Sawayama) who works at a Continental Hotel. Where the assassins stay are in Continental Hotels, known for luxury and security for the deadly. The top assassin is Caine (Donnie Yen),  a blind assassin. Along the way, we meet Mr. Nobody (Shamier Anderson), who doesn’t kill John because the millions of dollars on John’s head isn’t enough money. The hunt continues with action scenes that are as carefully choreographed as a ballet. Eventually, the chases end and John is set to fight a duel, first of all with De Gramont, an enemy (Bill Skarsgard) who has hatred for John, and then, with, of all people, Caine, the blind one. There is a $26,000,000 bounty on John. Enough to buy a country and then the price goes even higher. Why bother with dictators and their nations, who really rules are people who live in Continental Hotels.

As you can see, this is a 90 percent action film that will tire your eyes after two and a half hours. Toss here, throw there, jump here, shoot there, and many of the people are dressed elegantly. This is a business, after all.

Acting is average with no dramatics, but body language can give away what comes next. When they are looking at someone in the eye, but the hand is reaching for something, be ready to duck for cover. There is no one who leaves an impression, except Keanu Reeves, who has this role down pat and Donnie Yen as a blind assassin. I have seen the first three “John Wick” films, and like the creativity of the chase scenes, and the actors who pop up for thirty seconds, but still leave a mark, even though it sometimes is on a wall. What is memorable is John Wick, in a business suit, going into an elegant hotel and you just know what is going on behind closed doors. Thud, thud.

Copyright 2023 Marie Asner