New ‘John Wick’ is saga’s biggest film yet

Written By Jake Dabkowski, Editor-In-Chief

John Wick is back, and I’m not talking about the Fortnite item shop. After a four-year absence, the Keanu Reeves-led action franchise is on the big screens, and this time with its biggest, and badest entry yet.

The film, which stars Reeves as the titular John Wick, follows him as he attempts to take on The High Table, the leaders of the assassination world. The film deals heavily with themes surrounding the hollowness of vengeance, and the self-consuming cycle of violence that comes with it.

Reeves has little to say in this film, or more so Wick as a character has very few things left that he needs to say. He exists to kill – a drive that, the film points out, is somewhat meaningless. But at the same time, his character can earn a nuanced redemption.

The cast beyond Reeves in this is fantastic, with the standout being Donnie Yen as Caine, a blind assassin who has a history with Wick – and is after him. Caine is basically the John Wick universe version of Daredevil, which is probably the coolest thing any movie has ever done.

The action in this is on a level that no other action movie has been able to accomplish. Aside from the fact that the film is a visual tour de force, the way that the action is edited is the peak of the medium.

Bad action sequences rely on heavy amounts of quick cuts to hide the disconnect in how they are put together. Good action sequences go for as long as they can. That’s not to say that there’s no editing in these fights, there is a lot, but the cuts are placed in ways that feel natural to the viewer.

Beyond the editing, there is an insane amount of care and technique to the choreography, both with the performers and the camera work. One sequence has the camera take a birds-eye view of the fight, in a Hotline Miami-esque extravaganza of a gunfight. This sequence was so incredible to watch that it felt like my eyeballs were popping out of my sockets.

One aspect of this movie that deserves more praise than I could shower on it in this review is the lighting. The way that the actors and sets are lit reeks of so much passion and thoughtful nuance, simultaneously making the sequences pop and carefully developing the themes and motivations present. Whether the neon lighting of Osaka or a sunrise in Paris, the lighting always delivers.

That lighting works perfectly to complement the cinematography – in general, it is clear that there was proper communication between all parties involved in making this film and director Chad Stahelski did his job right.

It makes sense that Stahelski would excel at directing action, he first met Reeves while working as his stunt double on the Matrix. Stahelski directed all four films in the series, but with Chapter 4 his work goes from “fantastic action movie” to “all-time great movie.”

Although the action and production are the focal points, it is ultimately the nuance and themes that take the movie above and beyond. The world of John Wick has been meticulously and carefully developed throughout the course of these movies, and with Chapter 4, we finally get a deeper peek behind the curtain and a firm understanding of why these movies exist.