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Saturday, April 1, 2023

John Wick: Chapter 4 2023 * * * Stars


"Yeah, I'm thinking I'm back". So says Keanu Reeves and he's definitely back for a 4th time in 2023's John Wick: Chapter 4. This "wick", well it still burns brightly even though it might signal the coda end to this immensely popular franchise (hint, hint).

Anyway, bearded hitman Wick now has upwards of a $40 million dollar bounty on his head. That's because he offed the Elder of the High Table (oops). Yup, if you've seen the previous John Wick installments, you know what's coming. Reeves gets his kill on with vested suit and a certain level of badassery in tote. "Whoa" is he.

So yeah, Keanu doesn't say much in "Chapter 4" but the screen presence is still off the charts. I mean he'll always be the Canadian Harrison Ford to me. The dude, well he's a physical actor by trade, all bruised and battered and one tough SOB. It's almost laughably implausible that the Wick-meister survives massive falls and two stair tumbling-s. Ouch.

Mr. "Cool Breeze" aside, the more you watch all the John Wick flicks, the more you realize it's not about revenge anymore. With "Chapter 4", you're seeing mainly Japanese cinema at this point, with samurai sword fighting and Kurosawa stuff and all that slice and dice jazz. I mean we're talking birds in flight violence, bone-crunching poetry, and nunchucks ("don't forget the nunchucks"). Like cinematic, habanero hot sauce, it just hurts so good. 

John Wick: Chapter 4's director is Chad Stahelski (duh). He has only done four pics and they're all Wicks. Besides introducing a few new characters (two of which being a sightless assassin and a bloodthirsty canine), Stahelski fashions John Wick as a guy who has to fight because there's nothing else he knows how to do. It's almost fascinating and goofy at the same time. I mean does Wick eat? Doesn't seem like it. Does Wick sleep? Probably not. Does Wick use the bathroom? They might attack him while he's in there. Finally, does Wick take time to read a book or sip hot cocoa at Starbucks? Get real people. "Chapter 4" is all about Reeves kicking butt and it has just enough action takes for the fly-by, 169-minute running time. I'll pay $10.50 for that noise.  

Written by Jesse Burleson

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