John Wick Chapter 4

Pew pew pew. John Wick Chapter 4 is pretty much what you expect but a lot less than it could be.
Keanu Reeves, Donnie Yen, Bill Skarsgård, Laurence Fishburne, Ian McShane
Chad Stahelski
Action, Crime, Thriller
Release date
March 24, 2023
Overall Score
Rating Overview
Rating Summary
With an unfocused and confused plot, John Wick Chapter 4 doesn't quite have the spit and polish of its predecessors, and, like Keanu, it's starting to show its age.

John Wick Chapter 4 has been long rumored to be the final chapter in the Wick Saga. If it holds true, is it a fitting ending to the Baba Yaga?

John Wick Chapter 4

Unless you are a pretentious pr!@k, like many critics can be, reviewing John Wick movies can be a challenge because they are intentionally not particularly substantive. Put simply, they are some of the best examples of stylized violence in the business. If the audience isn’t saying “that’s awesome” after virtually every other scene, then the movie has failed.

John Wick 4 does not fail…completely…but it is showing signs that it might be time to retire the franchise. At 2h 49m, it’s about 49 minutes too long and tries too hard to world-build and expand the almost mythological quality of the universe, ostensibly in an effort to bolster the studio’s planned spin-off projects. As a result, we get too many unimportant and uninteresting tertiary characters added, which lessens the screen time for already established supporting characters, overlong fight scenes that can grow monotonous, and virtually the entire 3rd film is rendered meaningless.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge fantasy nerd, and I actually love that John Wick is a modern-day dungeon crawl in revenge-porn clothing, but it’s obvious that JW4 was originally designed as the final film and someone at the studio said, “but wait, there’s so much more money to be made.” So, one hour into the movie John’s entire motivation suddenly changes from wanting to kill the entire Table (the ruling body of the assassin’s guild) to wanting to kill one man and thereby once again be made free of the organization.

The only explanation given is that someone tells him that he can’t accomplish his preferred task and must switch goals. Mind you, he’d been doing just fine so up to that point.

This being said, I concede the fact that no one, myself included, is going to a John Wick movie because we are looking for high art. We want to see pulse-pounding action, cool guns, and creative fight scenes. John Wick 4 mostly delivers, however, its need to world build does slow the dopamine hits to a drip during the second act, and the fight choreography is drawn-out and not as tight as in previous installments.

There’s a video on Youtube that destroys the team-up fight with Rey and Kylo against the Snoke’s Praetorian Guards in The Last Jedi. Among other things, it shows how the stuntmen will do completely unnatural things to look busy when they should be attacking their target.

I admit that I needed to first see this video before I noticed the problems myself, but in John Wick 4, there are some easily seen and just egregious errors on the part of the stunt coordinators.

There’s one particular moment in the film’s first really big battle when John is facing off against two men at once, and he knocks one of them down and turns his attention to the other. Well, while his back is turned from the one he’d knocked down, the baddie in question gets back to his feet, takes a step forward, and appears to be readying for an attack. However, it clearly would have been the end of John because his back was completely exposed and John’s attention is 100% on the other attacker. So, the once-felled bad guy stops the half-step that he already took toward John and is suddenly stunned and wavering until John once again turns his attention toward him.

It’s incredibly noticeable and it’s not the only time that a fight or chase didn’t have the same fit and finish as other installments. Furthermore, trigger discipline is virtually nonexistent in this entry, which is a total shame because these movies are tailor-made for gun nuts, and it’s really distractingly bad.

On a related note, John’s kevlar suit now apparently renders him virtually invulnerable. He can now withstand bone-crushing falls and being hit by multiple cars traveling at high speeds. It serves to make him a less interesting character. In fact, his newfound nigh invulnerability in conjunction with his jarring 180° and arbitrary shift in motivation serves to make Donnie Yen’s blind ninja (aka Chirrut Îmwe from Rogue One) the only interesting character in the film.

Please don’t get me wrong, there is still a lot to like in John Wick Chapter 4. There’s a scene that takes place on some stairs for which the stuntman deserves whatever their version of an Oscar is. Moreover, The Matrix may have invented Gun-Fu, and Equilibrium may have tried to codify it, but John Wick perfected it. This entry continues that tradition.

My final thoughts on John Wick Chapter 4 is that, although it is far too long and chock full of convenience, it’s still a fun diversion that is worth the price of admission if you’re already a fan, but it’s also time to call it quits before we end up with Superman: A Quest For Peace. Unfortunately, it’s not good enough for our Worth it section.


  • There are some intersectional casting checkboxes being filled in.




James Carrick

James Carrick is a passionate film enthusiast with a degree in theater and philosophy. James approaches dramatic criticism from a philosophic foundation grounded in aesthetics and ethics, offering insight and analysis that reveals layers of cinematic narrative with a touch of irreverence and a dash of snark.


  • Chris

    June 1, 2023 at 1:57 pm

    This is a decent 4th movie in this series. Cut 30 minutes of the dumb wait-my-turn, poor choreographed, wave-after-wave of minions fighting out of it and it would have been a great 4th movie in the series.


  • Paul N

    June 16, 2023 at 1:41 pm

    It’s so much better than the garbage being shoved down everyone’s throats these days so I appreciate that.
    I very much appreciate the time you guys took to make this new platform, i tell everyone i know about it.


  • RandomWatcher

    July 7, 2023 at 7:08 am

    No jarring diversity castings on top of good action, no complaints here.

    You say no one watches John Wick for high art but one of the appealing things to me is the often artistically framed scenes. Either a stunning background to a fight or the cyberpunk lighting of a sauna/pool scene, it’s an addition to the action that I appreciate


  • Angry

    July 7, 2023 at 2:33 pm

    The Mr. Nobody character was only added to fill a Diversity check box. Thats it. Rubs me the wrong way. I hate the pandering. Oh and of course Winston and the Concierge absolutely HAVE to be gay now. Don’t forget to shove that down the audience throats. Keep sucking blackrock’s dk.


    • Matt

      October 7, 2023 at 6:38 am

      Totally agree check-box diversity casting takes you out of the film its annoying as hell. I wish they would stop doing this. Also the tiny girl fighting the huge guy and winning!! Sick of this also its total bs. But at least as far as I can remember no females talked down to the men or belittled them.


  • Donald Ackervold

    August 6, 2023 at 12:09 am

    5 out of 5

    In one word: exhausting; in many words: exhausting but well worth the nearly three-hour-long marathon that director Chad Stahelski and Keanu Reeves have meticulously constructed, although Donnie Yen steals the movie in every scene he appears in. The set pieces are artfully constructed, the editing flawless, and the cinematography striking. The best of the Wick films, although some might prefer the one-word review above.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Posts