Ultimately, I’m thankful I didn’t see John Wick Chapter 4 in theaters.
Not that it isn’t any good. I can’t imagine anybody who loved the first three films - myself included - not enjoying this one. The John Wick franchise is the closest we have to a sure thing, which is important for those forced to refinance their homes in order to enjoy a single night at the movies. This series keeps getting bigger in scale, scope and body count, but the song remains the same.
However, Chapter 4 is nearly three hours long. At my age, going that long without visiting the restroom just ain’t in the cards.
That being said, watching modern cinema's greatest anti-hero still trying like hell to escape the High Table remains damned entertaining. A big reason for that is, starting with the first sequel, the John Wick saga is essentially a single film. But unlike other two-parters that feel more like cash grabs, every Wick entry still provides a sense of closure and works well enough as a stand-alone film. At the same time, each one adds something new to the mayhem we’ve never seen before.
Mayhem is definitely the operative word here. John Wick Chapter 4 not only piles on the action, nearly every sequence is bigger in scale…and generally a hell of a lot longer. One arguable strike against the film would be that some of these fights - while spectacular - go on a little too long. Like enduring a particularly lengthy video game level, exhilaration occasionally turns to exhaustion, or the urge to hit the pause button for a much needed potty break.
Still, many of the outrageous set-pieces must be seen to be believed, such as an extended car chase/gunfight in Paris, and especially a nearly unbroken, overhead sequence where Wick (Keanu Reeves) dispatches dozens of would-be assassins with a machine gun and incendiary ammo. At no point is the choreography, editing and stuntwork any less than brilliant…implausible as it might be at times.
Elsewhere, Ian McShane, Laurence Fishburne and the late Lance Reddick make welcome returns in their prospective roles, but ultimately, Reeves remains the driving force. While he’s never displayed a monumental amount of range in any of his films, he personifies Wick so effectively that it’s impossible to imagine the character being played by anyone else. Who knew that this would end up being his signature franchise?
Of course, the film looks and sounds amazing in 4K. This disc also includes several short featurettes with plenty of cast & crew interviews. However, I must confess that, for me, the best bonus feature was my own remote control. With its epic running time, John Wick Chapter 4 is a lot easier to enjoy with an empty bladder.
4K, BLU-RAY & DIGITAL COPIES
FEATURETTES - “Chad & Keanu: Through Wick and Thin”; “Train Like a Killer”; “Making a Killing”; “The Psychology of a Killer”; “The Blind Leading the Fight”; “Suit Up/Shoot Up”; “Packing a Punch”; “One Killer Shot”; “Killing at the Speed of Traffic”; “A Shot in the Dark”; “In Honor of the Dead.”
“THE CONTINENTAL” - A three minute sneak peek at the upcoming spin-off series.