Director: Chad Stahelski
Notable Cast: Keanu Reeves, Donnie Yen, Bill Skarsgard, Ian McShane, Laurence Fishburne, Lance Reddick, Clancy Brown, Hiroyuki Sanada, Shamier Anderson, Rina Sawayama, Scott Adkins, Marko Zaror
At one point leading into the final portion of John Wick: Chapter 4, Clancy Brown’s Harbinger warns the big bad of the film, The Marquis - played with a seething and conniving performance by Bill Skarsgard, that a man’s ambition should never exceed his worth. The moment is one to indicate that, despite the villain’s endless amount of resources and skilled killers, The Marquis is still over his head in trying to kill John Wick. Yet it’s also the same warning that echoed my worries for this fourth entry.
Would the ambitions of the John Wick franchise eventually exceed its worth?
With John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum, one could see the ambitions for building the globe trotting world start to stretch to the point of excess. Not that the film is inherently bad, nay, but it is one where some of the choices for plot and narrative felt the strain.
With John Wick: Chapter 4, the series addresses those (including an opening sequence that neatly ties an open thread with a bullet point of finality) and then proceeds to grow the series in scope while going back to the thematic and narrative points about the character that made this franchise explode with audiences. It’s a cinematic magic trick of epic proportions. It balances its emotional parallels for the character while simultaneously giving the viewer the biggest and most ambitious entry yet. If the ambitions were exceeding the worth, Chapter 4 grows the worth to match those ambitions. The results are glorious and punctuated with the viciousness of a napalm loaded shotgun blast.