Revenge Reloaded: A Review of John Wick 4

The long-awaited finale to the John Wick saga is finally here, but does it meet the same level of quality its predecessors have become known for?


Lionsgate Studios

The “Baba Yaga” returns. See his action-packed redemption in theaters now.

Brady Crow, Staff Writer

When senseless thugs kill a retired assassins dog, all hell breaks loose in the criminal underworld. 

John Wick (Keanu Reeves), a legendary hitman, retired his services after finding the love of his life, Helen.  But, when she is taken away from him by disease, Helen leaves John a beagle puppy named Daisy.  After oblivious goons steal Wick’s Mustang and kill his puppy, he revives his lethal skills, and goes on a carnage-filled rampage to take revenge.  After three blockbuster movies, all met with fantastic reviews, John Wick 4 has finally released in theaters.  

John Wick movies are oddly formatted in a similar way to musicals, with the song and dance being replaced by a ballet of bullets and a storm of furious fists.  The fight choreography team behind the previous John Wick movies has become noted for original, creative, and downright brutal battle scenes. Because of this, John Wick 4 was expected to continue the tradition of action excellence.

It surpasses expectations and then some. 

The fabulous fight scenes in John Wick 4 feature its titular character at his most lethal and most inventive.  The movie features John taking to new forms of brutality.  In a similar fashion the previous installments in the series, John experiments with new kinds of weapons and equipment to take down his foes.  Most notably, John Wick 4 allows its eponymous character to experiment with both modern and traditional weapons.  This includes an intense battle where John disposes of armed men with nothing but a set of nunchaku.  In addition, the movie showcases a variety of martial art techniques new to the series. 

Furthermore, other main characters utilize a host of unique weapons and abilities to shred through opposition.  Caine, a new character for the John Wick franchise, is visually impaired.  However, he utilizes sound, his cane, and wicked martial art skills to establish himself as a threatening fighter.  The creativity in Caine’s fight scenes is nothing short of incredible.  Played by Donnie Yen, the famed Kung Fu master in the Ip Man franchise, Caine is able to put his actor’s skills to masterful use.  And, judging by the post credits scene, John Wick 4 may may not be the end for Caine.

Another standout character from the most recent John Wick installment is a man simply known as “The Tracker.”  Armed with lethal skills, The Tracker is a persistently dominant threat throughout the film.  However, he stood out mainly due to his equally skilled sidekick: a Belgian Malinois.  Although The Tracker himself is quickly established as a formidable, intriguing character, his canine ally steals the show in many well choreographed fight scenes and humorouss moments.

Beyond the brutally beautiful fight scenes, John Wick 4 focuses on many thought-provoking themes, such as authority, revenge, honor, and brotherhood.  These deeper meanings have allowed the John Wick franchise to prosper as both a gory, carnage-filled adventure, as well as a philosophical masterpiece that will spur discussion for years to come.  

From a cinematic standpoint, John Wick 4 also excels in cinematography more so than many modern action movies.  From a Japanese hotel’s rooftop to a rave in Germany to the Arc De Triomphe in Paris, lighting and creative camera angles allow this movie to literally and figuratively shine.  Slow-motion shots, overhead angles, and an electrifying score, are all used to great effect, allowing the movie to feel kinetic and thrilling.  The lack of stereotypical action movie jump cuts allows the combat in John Wick to move fluidly and clearly from scene to scene.

Unfortunately, this incredible chapter to the John Wick series is the grand finale.  The ending is wonderfully made and satisfactory for all longtime viewers.  Overall,  John Wick 4 is a must-see movie, perhaps the strongest in the franchise.  A perfect tetralogy of action movies is a major feat in itself. It’s almost three hours of battling bliss, a fun ride that will surely emerge as the new gold standard of action movies.