John Wick is out for revenge again. This time, the whole High Table is in his line of sight.
The John Wick series is not for everyone. They are very violent and repetitive films. After a trilogy, the title character, played by Keanu Reeves, still remains a mystery. We know that he adored his wife Helen, who died of cancer, and that he loved dogs and cars. At the start of the first chapter, Wick is a retired assassin, but after killing 299 people in three films, it’s safe to say he’s back in action.
Chapter 4 adds around a hundred kills to the count – in addition to those killed by other characters. Without glorifying violence, the inventiveness behind each death must be underlined. Even after dozens of shooting scenes and fights with every weapon imaginable, the fluidity of the choreography and the elegance of the stunts impress us. It is also surprising to what extent this fourth installment continues to evolve in this regard.
Director Chad Stahelski, a former stuntman, composes shots that are veritable tableaus, favoring an overview that allows you to discern every detail of the meticulously orchestrated ballet. This is her third consecutive collaboration with cinematographer Dan Laustsen. Together they skilfully play with light and symmetry. The duo also exploits very well the places where it turns. After New York (Montreal for some scenes), Rome and Casablanca, John Wick travels this time to Osaka, Berlin and Paris. The City of Light shines in the final act, especially the Arc de Triomphe.
The music – a mixture of electro and heavy rock – which certainly contributes to the particular atmosphere of the John Wick films, is again the work of Tyler Bater and Joel J. Richard.
The screenplay, by Shay Hatten and Michael Finch, remains thin, but is probably the most interesting so far. Less linear, it develops new aspects of this shady world and gives more importance to other characters.
As in the previous chapters, the action is a rolling fire, certainly, but it is not just a pile of corpses. Once again, fascinating secondary characters are added to the universe that has been built over the films. In addition to the return of the excellent Ian McShane (Winston), Laurence Fishburne (Bowery King) and Lance Reddick (Charon), who has just left us at only 60 years old, Bill Skarsgård (the Marquis de Gramont), Hiroyuki Sanada (Shimzau ), Shamier Anderson (Tracker) and Donnie Yen (Caine) integrate the narrative. The latter delivers a performance that can only be described as incredibly cool. Star of Hong Kong action movies, he amazes us as much by his look as by his talents in martial arts.
John Wick is a man of few words – “Yeah” is often enough – and, while his acting has its limits, Keanu Reeves is perfect in the role. However, after four films starring him, we realize that the secret world of hitmen in which he evolves could be explored further. Ballerina, by Len Wiseman, will offer another perspective, that of Rooney, seen in Chapter 3 – Parabellum, who will be played by Ana de Armas. Wick should put on his three-piece suit for the occasion, but this fourth chapter would also be a nice way to finally retire.