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Movie Review – John Wick: Chapter 4

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What a ride. Not just this movie, but the whole John Wick franchise. If this be the end, it was a mighty fine ending. I’m impressed by so many things. Where to start?

Screenplay/dialog

It all starts with the screenplay. literally. Before anyone can do anything a story has to be written. The dialogue was really well done. One thing that I like about the Wickverse is that people don’t talk like regular people. Many of the lines of dialogue are delivered as quotes. Take for instance when Shimazu, an old friend of John’s, wants John to know why he’s helping him. Shimazu could explain why he’s risking so much to help, or he could tell a story about sometime long ago when John helped him. That would work and that’s how most screenplays would handle it. But in this movie, a character can get away with saying, “Friendship means little when it’s convenient.”

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That is a great line. It’s short; it’s memorable. It tells us a lot about the character. He doesn’t need to use a lot of words. In fact, it is obvious that the writers—Shay Hatten and Michael Finch—must have gone over and over this script looking for places they could cut down on the word count. This movie, like all John Wick movies, is terse. I appreciate how hard that is to do. Major props to the writers for doing a great job.

Plot

This is also a compliment to the writers. This movie doesn’t need an elaborate plot. What it needs is to continuously provide John Wick, and other characters, with clear motivation on what they must do next. There’s never a moment when you’re wondering why a character is doing something. With the exception of the tracker—the guy with the dog. I have no idea what his initial motivation was and how it changed during the movie. I have some guesses, but it’s the only thing I can think of that’s not crystal clear.

Acting

What a great cast of ancillary characters. They all do a fantastic job. Something I just realized about the John Wick movies is every character is written and performed like they are the main character in the movie, even if they just get a few scenes. In most movies, especially action movies, the ancillary characters are often written as props to interact with the protagonist or antagonist. But not the John Wick movies. Every character feels like they could have their own spinoff. They have their own motivations that sometimes help, and sometimes hinder, but always act as if they have a will of their own. Getting that right starts with the writers providing good material, and the director communicating that vision, but then the actors have to deliver and they do without fail.

Sets

Whoever makes the choices for set locations in these movies is a master! Every scene is shot in a fantastic location with amazing architecture that always compliments what the scene is going to be about.

Let’s see, what else is there that I should mention? Oh yeah, the action!

Overkill, or just-enough kill?

This is a very long movie at 2h 49min. I love the action in all of these movies, but I have to be honest, I think they could have shaved at least 15 minutes of action from this movie and no one would complain. If I could say one thing to the editor it would be, “Leave them wanting more.”

Too many of the scenes felt redundant or at the very least the dragged on a tad too long. I think the nunchuck scene could have been removed, or at least shortened—but it did serve as a great Peetime so there’s that. Likewise, the fight scene around the Arc de Triomphe was, to me, a bit of a yawner. I was actually looking forward to a chase scene through the streets of Paris, but I think that’s been done before.

I’m trying to think back to an action scene that really wowed me, but nothing stands out. They’ve done it all in the previous three movies. Again, they do it exceptionally well, but they’ve done it before.

The one thing that did seem new wasn’t so much the action as the viewpoint. There’s a long sequence of John fighting a host of people in a building. I’m unsure of what type of building it is, but there are lots of rooms, and none of them apparently have doors. But what’s new is the camera angle looking straight down on the action. You can see men moving through rooms toward John and see John just obliterate one after another with his flaming shotgun. That was pretty novel.

Antagonist

If there’s a weak point in the story it’s the antagonist. I didn’t really care for the Marquis. He didn’t seem to wield any special skills, knowledge, or power. He was just a dude that was appointed to a position. He had ambition, but I didn’t really care. It was patently obvious that he was going to be defeated.

Lance ReddickRIP Lance Reddick

I’m just heartbroken to hear the news that Lance Reddick passed away earlier this week. A great actor and a great man. The report is that he died of natural causes. At only 60 years old, he looked healthy and vibrant just days before passing. It really gives one pause to know that the end could be just around the corner.

Lance Reddick has a few more film appearances that were shot before his death. Notably, he will play Zeus in one episode of Percy Jackson and the Olympians. I’ll probably only watch that first episode, just to see Lance one more time.

Grade: A

There are extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of John Wick: Chapter 4.

Final Words

(SPOILERS: stop here if you haven’t seen the movie.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

I love the ending. It had to be this way. I’m glad that everyone involved saw that Wick had to die in the end. There was nothing really for him to live for anyway. And I’m so glad they didn’t introduce some young character that John would feel compelled to stay around and take care of for some reason. That’s been done before and it always sucks. Just let the protagonist die in the end. He’s earned it.

About The Peetimes: I have Peetimes here for you to choose from. The last hour of the movie is pretty much unmissable. You’ll need to make sure that if you skip the last emergency Peetime you can make it until the end. I think the 3rd Peetime is the best of the bunch.

Rated: (N/A) Some Language | Pervasive Strong Violence
Genres: Action, Crime, Thriller
Starring: Keanu Reeves, Donnie Yen, Bill Skarsgård
Director: Chad Stahelski
Writer(s): Shay Hatten, Michael Finch, Derek Kolstad
Language: English
Country: United States

Plot
John Wick uncovers a path to defeating The High Table. But before he can earn his freedom, Wick must face off against a new enemy with powerful alliances across the globe and forces that turn old friends into foes.

Don’t miss your favorite movie moments because you have to pee or need a snack. Use the RunPee app (Androidor iPhone) when you go to the movies. We have Peetimes for all wide release films every week, including Drive Away Dolls, Madam Web, One Love, Argylle, I.S.S., and coming soon DUNE part II and many others. We have literally thousands of Peetimes—from classic movies through today’s blockbusters. You can also keep up with movie news and reviews on our blog, or by following us on Twitter @RunPee. If there’s a new film out there, we’ve got your bladder covered.

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