John Wick 4 (2023)
I love Keanu Reeves as much as the next man that would love to be him but doesn't have the fortitude, focus or balls to become anything close. With John Wick, he continues to mete out justice to those that deserve it, by his own moral compass, and yet still yearning for a life that we, the fat fucks screaming with joy and delight at his efforts from our comfy cinema seats, already take for granted. An unusual dichotomy, but not complicated.
I rarely get so excited by a movie in a theatre filled with others to actually applaud a scene whilst the movie is still running, but I did that in John Wick 3 - (the bit with the horse kick, incase you're wondering) so blown away by what I was witnessing. How very dare they even come up with something so entertaining, much less set it to film that I may gaze upon such creativity, agog?
For a moment I would ask that you cast your mind back nearly a decade as the first of these adventures begins. To consider the man John Wick was and what a simple story the loss of a puppy set in motion in his atmosphere. A tale of stylish, bloody revenge, which had consequences that even director and star couldn't possibly imagine.
Arguably, you might go so far as to say that the real story of John Wick, the one that truly mattered, ended after the first movie credits rolled. Nice and tidy. My philosophical interest piqued at the mindset of those creators at that very moment, and what aspirations changed after the unmitigated and unexpected success of their efforts.
The fact that the first film spawned three sequels says a couple of things. Hollywood likes money and if you're having fun doing something so much as to do it again and that also makes money, then the real enduring surprise is that we're only on Chapter 4.
You know the drill by now, all too well if you're watching this, as you will undoubtedly have seen the previous three also. And you're right, of course. All John Woo-esque choreography, as if The Raid had never happened, such is the love for this seemingly bold and unique approach to action and adventure. Reeves has the most screen time of those we recognise, unsurprisingly, and also has the fewest lines, I'd wager. We're not in Terminator territory, but you get the gist.
The levels of fitness displayed in order to make this look authentic are mind-boggling from all concerned, save for the late Lance Rennick and diehard Ian McShane. Bill Skarsgård plays this episode's baddie. I mean, you dress up as a clown a couple of times, for fucks sake, and what happens ever after? Nice to see Laurence Fishburne back and an appearance from the great Hiroyuki Sanada.
At nearly three hours, this does start to outstay its welcome, as I rolled my eyes impatiently at the same time John rolled back down six flights of stairs. I'm not yet convinced that this genre requires such long-form story-telling, but the masses will choose with their wallets, I imagine.
For popcorn thrills and entertainment, you're unlikely to find too much to better this all year, and we're only in March still. Whether this is now past its sell-by date is equally true. I could stand another, but please Chad, a little work on the edit.