You know you're in good hands when a film begins with Laurence Fishburne being used to explicitly shout out Lawrence of Arabia (I see what you did there, movie).
John Wick: Chapter 4 is more John Wick. It is likely exactly what you're expecting it to be, but if you're like me and you had high hopes for this fourth installment, you're likely to be pleased by what the film delivers, even if it doesn't entirely blow expectations away. The title character is once again put up against plenty of people who want him dead. The story is designed in a way to get him to travel to various locales, all of which are well-utilized in the action scenes. And when it comes time for those action scenes themselves, they're largely spectacular.
Things manage to escalate even more from the gleefully over-the-top Chapter 3, but I will say, the opening half-hour to 45 minutes of this proves to be surprisingly restrained. The momentum never slows down too much, but to some extent, it takes its time to get all the pieces in place. After that's done, things don't let up much at all, and I was glad to see the non-stop energy and fighting of the third film's opening act replicated here, except this time it plays out during the final act, and in a new location.
There were other key details I really liked. One action scene is shot in a way that looks like a live-action version of Hotline Miami, and the results are pretty great. There's also some really good music used throughout, including Justice's Genesis (not the only on-the-nose music choice, given they're a French House duo and the scene it plays during takes place in Paris, but it fits the heightened style of the movie).
You do feel the length at some points, and I don't think it's the best-paced recent blockbuster with a three-ish hour-long runtime. Still, it delivers stylish action, a high-stakes, kind of goofy, but engaging and simple story, and Keanu Reeves and a talented supporting cast all doing their thing. The creativity and stuntwork found in the action sequences are great, and it all adds up to what might be the best entry in the whole series (beating out Chapter 3 by a hair for me).
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