John Wick 4: the review

John Wick 4 is a 2023 film directed by Chad Stahelski.

Let’s imagine the multiverse, and an Earth 2 where John’s approach to the franchise wickafter the partly unexpected success of the first withering chapter (2014), where the protagonist, a retired killer, set up a massacre because some idiot from the Russian mafia killed his dog, it went like this:

2017: John wick 2. They kill his cat and he makes double havoc of the enemies, but armed with a katana.

2019: John wick 3. They kill the canary and he makes triple havoc of the enemies, but armed with a machine gun with rotating barrels.

2023: John wick 4. He travels through time creating a paradox and some caveman kills his baby dinosaur. He makes quadruple havoc of the enemies, armed with a club.

2025: John wick 5. Travel through space and adopt an alien pet tender. Obviously some overbearing extraterrestrial kills him. He wreaks havoc on enemies quintuple, armed with a laser blaster.

Then the crossovers begin, and he fights with Machete.

We don’t necessarily want to say that reality has taken a wrong turn, but certainly the series, as it started, soon leaned on far more conventional parameters. Starting with the rather lackluster sequel with Riccardo Scamarcio as the villain, to then continue between ups and downs with a rather inspired third episode (in particular the scene of the horse used as an improper weapon, which underlines the common and perhaps not so casual comparison of ours with the ‘Black Knight’ of Proiettiana memory, which we must not… bother) up to this fourth episode with a monumental and mammoth approach. Let’s talk, to understand each other, of almost three hours. A Molossian, one might say, given how much John loves dogs, who behaves on the one hand as if they were two films shot ‘back to back’, but packaged and served in a single solution (see also the ending, no spoilers, which opens to the announced spin-off Dancer with Ana De Armas), on the other as the interminable ‘walkthrough’ of a multi-genre video game that is certainly spectacular, but which inevitably lacks the advantage of interactivity.

Director Chad Stahelskibased on a screenplay by Shay Hatten and Michael Finch, brings them all into play: from fighting games to Mortal Kombat complete with a final ‘fatality’ to the top-down shooter, lingering over shots and sequences as if there were no tomorrow to smugly underline that that’s exactly what it is about: “you watch, I play”. Not very funny, on balance, although the workmanship of the fights choreographed as if they were ballets is to be appreciated – some reach the threshold of twenty minutes – and even the slightly ktisch taste of the computer-retouched scenarios to simulate the High Dynamic Range of the most modern videogame productions. THEFurthermore, there is the problem of suspension of disbelief. The pact is clear, all right, but as long as you can shoot under the Arc de Triomphe or on the steps of theSacré-Cœur without someone going to the authorities? How many meetings and secret duels can be held at dawn on the place du Trocadero without running into any early tourists?

If I tookThe good, the bad and the uglycross it withZatoichiand with agreek mythyou’d probably get something likeJohn wick – said the director – But you must have the courage to put caution aside and do more. Then, in the fourth chapter, there are more stories that intersect. Sounds more epic.In fact, compared to what has been seen previously, it is an even more ensemble film, also placing a lot of emphasis on the characters of the blind warrior Caine (Donnie Yen) and by Watanabe (Hiroyuki Sanada) who somehow support the protagonist in the fight against the Marquis de Gramont (Bill Skarsgard). Nothing original, but they have enough charisma to be able to sustain their respective spin-offs. In such an excited film, then, it’s nice to recognize the face of Clancy Brown, the Kurgan of Highlanders.

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