John Wick: Chapter 4 Review

The John Wick movie series has gifted the world with some of the greatest action put to film with stories and characters worth caring about. John Wick’s fourth big screen outing has hit theaters with John Wick: Chapter 4. Can lightning strike a fourth time with this franchise, or is its time running out? 

The Good

Like its predecessors, John Wick: Chapter 4 has insanely great action sequences throughout. Everything is expertly choreographed and riveting to watch. This includes the gunplay, the hand-to-hand combat, and battles with close-range weaponry. Each hit and kill feels real, and there are a lot of them. John Wick-style action will never not be entertaining to watch. On top of that, the action adds to the story rather than interrupt it. The action is part of the story and the story happens during the action sequences, which is something important that many other action flicks forget about.

Speaking of the story, this installment features an incredibly heartfelt one. John Wick has always been an emotionally-driven tale, but this one is even more so at times. More emotion is shared between the characters. Winston and John’s father-son-like relationship is felt throughout, as well as the friendship between Winston and Charon. There are characters introduced in this movie that are old friends of John, and their friendships feel real and are tested. Another excellent aspect of the story is that there are genuine surprises throughout. The plot being full of shocking moments makes everything even more exciting.

Throughout the John Wick movies, there are rival assassins John must take on in addition to the films’ big bads. This is seen with Zero, Ares, and Cassian, to name a few. They’re usually fun characters that further enhance the action and the overall stakes. The rival assassins in John Wick: Chapter 4, though, are especially intriguing. Caine and a character who only refers to himself as “Nobody” both feel fully fleshed out. Their arcs feel almost as important as John’s and are both worth caring about. There are times when they feel almost like protagonists themselves. Having the audience on their side as well as John’s leads to compelling scenes when they face off against each other.

Something else that John Wick is known for that shines just as brightly here is the dark humor scattered throughout. Yes, the series is filled with epic violence and tear-jerking moments, but there is still humor used and it’s usually quite fun when it’s shown. An assassin getting his head slammed against a drum countless times during a fight and John tumbling down a comical amount of stairs multiple times are absolutely hilarious moments. The humor is quite twisted, but it works for a movie that makes violence fun.

This latest installment furthers the fantastic world-building that was set up in the previous movies. We learn more about the rules of this assassin’s guild and its overall structure without the movie ever blatantly telling us. These movies do take place in the real world, but everything about this secretive assassin-filled world adds a sense of mythology that is simply captivating.

The Bad

With all the killing going on and dead bodies left in the street, one would think police would eventually step in. In this world, it’s somehow okay to ram cars off the road and have a pistol duel in a touristy location without repercussions. If there was ever a line of dialogue about how the High Table paid off governments or police or that they have some sort of deal with them, it would be enough to make sense. Until one of these movies gives that explanation, it’ll be a weird plot contrivance. 

There’s a particularly exhilarating action sequence that takes place in a nightclub. While John takes out countless goons, innocent bystanders dance away like nothing is happening. Some of them have minor surprised expressions but resume dancing as if bullets and severed heads weren’t flying past them. It’s definitely a cool set piece, but it feels like a moment of unintentional humor as no one really bats an eye at the casual mass murder.

The ending clearly wants to be bittersweet and final. However, with the film also feeling like it’s meant to set up the future of the franchise in a few ways, it doesn’t feel as final as they’d want. As a result, it doesn’t feel as tragic as they’d want, either. It’s emotional and heartfelt for sure, but it’s hard to not think “but what’s next” and to have that thought take away from that heartbreak.


All four of the John Wick movies are modern action staples that should be talked about forever like Die Hard, Speed, or Taken. This latest installment has the highest emotional stakes compared to its predecessors. The dark humor is tremendous, the characters are worth caring about, and the action is wildly entertaining. The series has been leading up to this and it’s all so satisfying. 

Rating: 9.5/10

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