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John Wick: Chapter 4 Spoiler-free Review

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So, I finally caught John Wick Chapter 4, and I’ve got some thoughts to share. Now, don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot to love about this movie. It’s got a great emotional story that pulls at your heartstrings, with some seriously kickass characters and a world that’s been built with meticulous attention to detail. And let’s not forget those jaw-dropping set pieces that left me in awe.

That being said, the pacing was a bit off for me. It felt bloated, and there were moments when I found myself checking my watch during the third act. Let’s dive in and talk about it.

First things first, the story in John Wick Chapter 4 is an emotional rollercoaster. The stakes are higher than ever, and our beloved Baba Yaga is faced with challenges that push him to his limits – and beyond. As a stuntman, Chad Stahelski knows what he’s doing when directing action. It shows in every single frame.

The characters are still as badass as ever, with their own unique quirks and motivations that make them compelling to watch. The standouts here are Hiroyuki Sanada as Shimazu, who is a hotel manager at The Continental in Osaka, and Donnie Yen as Caine, a key antagonist in  the file. I joked that the entire sequence in Japan seems like a visual proof of concept for what Stahelski has planned for his Ghost of Tsushima film.

The world-building is also top-notch, with a gritty and intricate underworld that’s a treat to explore; and as a key character from the underworld, Laurence Fishburne has so much fun as the Bowery King. I was overjoyed to see him and Keanu Reeves share a screen again, being the legends of The Matrix we all know and love. It’s clear that a lot of thought has gone into creating John Wick on a practical, thematic and meta level. But above all else, action us the true star in this gritty, neon-drenched universe that John Wick inhabits.

And speaking of action, those set pieces are something else! I mean, they’re jaw-dropping in every sense of the word. The choreography, the stunts, the special effects – everything comes together to create adrenaline-pumping sequences that had me on the edge of my seat. From intense gunfights to breathtaking hand-to-hand combat, John Wick Chapter 4 delivers the kind of action that fans of the franchise have come to expect, and then some.

But here’s where things get a little tricky. As much as I enjoyed the story and the action, I couldn’t shake off the feeling that the movie was just too long Like they got a much bigger budget and access to more stars and resources, and just decided to do everything and stretch out the story to almost 3 hours. The pacing seemed off, especially during the third act. There were moments when the story dragged on for a little too long, and I found myself sighing, hoping things would pick up. It felt like there was just too much going on, and it took away from the overall momentum of the film. I get that with a franchise like John Wick, there’s a lot of expectations to meet. The world is complex, and there are multiple storylines and characters to juggle – and not exploring threads leaves the story feeling empty. But I couldn’t help but feel that the movie could have benefited from some trimming in a few sequences (the card game and night club being one example). Perhaps some scenes could have been tightened or omitted to maintain a more brisk pace. It’s not that the story wasn’t engaging – it definitely was – but the pacing issues detracted from the overall viewing experience.

That aside, the performances in John Wick Chapter 4 were stellar as always. Keanu Reeves is a force to be reckoned with, and he brings his A-game once again as the legendary John Wick. The supporting cast, including familiar faces and new additions, all deliver solid performances that add depth and dimension to the story. The chemistry between the characters is palpable, and their interactions are a highlight of the movie.

So what’s the verdict? Well, John Wick Chapter 4 is a mixed bag but mostly great. It’s got a great emotional story, excellent characters, and mind-blowing set pieces that make it a must-watch for fans of the franchise. However, the pacing issues do take away from the overall enjoyment of the film. But hey, if you’re a die-hard John Wick fan like me, you’ll still find plenty to love in this action-packed ride.

Rating: 7/10

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Editor-in-Chief at BTG Lifestyle. For cinema.