Bring a Knife to a Gun Fight

John Wick 4

Director: Chad Stahelski

Cast: Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Lance Reddick, Donnie Yen, Ian McShane, Bill Skarsgard, Clancy Brown, Hiroyuki Sanada, Rina Sawayama, Shamier Anderson

Running Time: 2 hours 49 minutes

Film Rating: 8 out of 10

After the success of John Wick 2 and 3, director Chad Stahelski accelerates the style and the action in John Wick 4 elevating the high powered action film to another level including shooting the film in stunning locations including Osaka, Japan; Morocco, Paris and Berlin.

With a bigger budget than John Wick 3, Keanu Reeves reprises his most famous role as the lethal assassin who has to battle an ambitious young Marquis in France, wonderfully played by Swedish actor Bill Skarsgard (Atomic Blonde, Deadpool 2) who decides to destroy the Continental in New York, the safe haven luxury hotel for assassins in a murky Manhattan and upsetting the carefully orchestrated order of assassins, an ornate mythology which director Stahelski explores as the action moves swiftly to Osaka, whereby the Marquis attempts the same disruption in Japan.

In Osaka, John Wick meets the head of the Japanese Continental, Shimazu played by famed Japanese actor Hiroyuki Sanada (Mortal Kombat, Bullet Train, Mr Holmes) and his daughter Akira played by Rina Sawayama. Naturally the Osaka Continental doesn’t fall without a vicious fight as the Marquis’s French army battle it out with Japanese assassins armed with Samurai swords and lethal skill. Basically everyone brings a knife to a gun fight.

If that wasn’t thrilling enough, the fast paced action of John Wick 4, quickly moves from Japan whereby Wick encounters Caine, a blind assassin brilliantly played by Chinese star Donnie Yen (Mulan, Rogue One, Shanghai Knights) who is being paid to kill Wick, to the nightclubs of Berlin and to some iconic locations in Paris including the Louvre and Le Sacre Couer.

What is really impressive in John Wick 4, is the stylistic elevation of the entire narrative particularly creating scenes that are beautiful and entrenched in imagery. The scene between Bill Skarsgard and Ian McShane comes to mind in the Louvre. It’s a simple dialogue scene but director Chad Stahelski elevates the scene to something extraordinarily beautiful and sinister. The same can be said for the astounding car chase scene which is phenomenal, shot at the extremely busy infamous roundabout in central Paris at the base of the Arc de’Triomphe.

After John Wick reunites with his Belarussian underworld family, and on the advice of Winston played by Ian McShane and with assistance of the Bowery King, played once again by Laurence Fishburne, Wick challenges the Marquis to a pistol duel at dawn on the steps of the Le Sacre Couer in Paris. What precedes this dual is brilliant fight sequences, an unbelievable car chase and enough guns and knives to make this action film really worth seeing for those that like their films bloody and violent. And there is a vicious dog.

John Wick 4 excels on every level, technically as an action film and stylistically as an incredibly exotic and fast paced chronology of an underworld which is brutally shifting taking few survivors.

John Wick 4 gets a film rating of 8 out of 10 and is highly recommended viewing for those that enjoyed the first 3 films. This one is truly exceptional and has to be seen on the big screen.

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