John Wick: Chapter 4
An ongoing mission of revenge
REVIEWED BY Nimanthi Bandaranayake
John Wick’s story began when the widowed ex-assassin sought revenge for the death of his beagle Daisy – a gift from his late wife. The latest instalment features a riveting cinematic experience – that of Wick travelling to new locations across continents, and encountering a host of fresh and fascinating characters while embarking on his mission of revenge in captivating action sequences.
Keanu Reeves is as great as ever as the protagonist of the films, and returning actors Laurence Fishburne (The Bowery King) and Ian McShane (Winston) continue to shine on screen while delivering mind-blowing performances. In Chapter 4 however, the spotlight shines on franchise newcomers such as Bill Skarsgård (Marquis de Gramont) and Donnie Yen (Caine).
We reenter the John Wick universe while being greeted by a suited up Reeves as he continues against all odds to embark on his quest to take down the crime lords known as the High Table.
Things are much more difficult for him this time around as he’s ‘excommunicado’ and his access to the privileges he once had while in the criminal underworld are no longer available to him. While fighting his way for his freedom, Wick also has a US$ 14 million bounty on his head.
To make everything much worse for Wick, the High Table has unleashed their cruel emissary Marquis de Gramont, who will go to great lengths to rid the world of our protagonist. As the film’s primary antagonist, Skarsgård delivers an exceptional performance as a spoilt tyrant who is a loathsome joy to watch. He is dressed in an assortment of glittery and velvety showstopping suits.
The Marquis also sends the blind assassin Caine to kill Wick. He is an old friend of John’s, who also had previously tried to escape the criminal underworld to be with his loved ones. The High Table once again has the upper hand and demands that Caine does whatever he’s asked to do – if he wants his daughter’s life to be spared.
Yen delivers a truly remarkable performance as Caine with a resigned sense of duty and clear goal in mind. At the end of the day, he and John have lived parallel lives; and when the two cross paths (or weapons), the results are nothing short of explosive.
The Marquis’ continued dog hunt shows Wick moving from the nightclubs of Berlin to the Osaka Continental and then to the bustling streets of Paris with one goal in mind – to gain his freedom.
With the introduction of new allies and adversaries into the John Wick universe, the film sets out to do what it does best: deliver punch packed action sequences while incorporating archery, mixed martial arts (MMA) brawls and stylish sword fights.
“Those who cling to death live; those who cling to life die”John Wick
A combination of the graceful movements of martial arts with some intense gun battles keeps viewers hooked from the beginning. They’d also be reassured to know that Wick will mercilessly put a bullet in anyone who so much as looks meanly at a dog.
In this instalment, the spectres of death and regret hang more heavily in the air, thanks to the skill with which the film’s final fight is set up. Anticipation, dread and satisfaction will keep your attention drawn right up to the time when you hear the last gunshot.