Home » John Wick 4 Review: the new extreme action starring Keanu Reeves

John Wick 4 Review: the new extreme action starring Keanu Reeves

John Wick 4 starring Keanu Reeves is a monumental action in ambition that squarely elevates the second installment of the saga.

John Wick 4 is a monumental action in ambition though a bit pachydermic in achievement, which brings the saga starring Keanu Reeves Toward a (momentary? final?) conclusion by literally raising to the square All the merits of the highly prized John Wick 2, a chapter from which practically the new film by Chad Stahelski takes up all his ideas, taking them to the highest possible degree on the scale of maximalism.

The scope toward which the film is aiming after all is made manifest in the very first few minutes, when the flame of a blown-out match detaches on the sunrise: if it reminds you of anything yes, it is An explicit reference to David Lean’s masterpiece Lawrence of Arabia. (This will not be the only wink to other epoch-making films, from Kill Bill a The Warriors), and in fact just like Babylon by Damien Chazelle this fourth (final?) installment of the saga really has no half-measures (starting with the length, which is close to three hours).

The feeling of delirium is extremely high and dizzying, and the action sequences never less than spacey and hilarious, but the radical strength of John Wick 4 also often comes at the expense of its effectiveness, and originality is almost never forthcoming.

John Wick 2 to the second

Already the second chapter of the saga-which remains the best, and this fourth confirms it-had The great idea of associating action movements with the state of the art, literally: “Rome city action” in the 2017 film, when John Wick’s art of killing met the forms of art history, the figurative to be displayed in museums and the architectural to be traversed. A theoretical action, of style, of forms, a manifesto.

John Wick 4 replicates that formula, expanding it, taking it to its extreme, probably maximum, definitive consequences for contemporary action, but also (in the long run) redundant: it is definitely a conscious choice (after John Wick 3 and before the covid, Lionsgate announced John Wick 4 AND John Wick 5, but because of the pandemic the plans changed and it is unclear at this point whether a fifth chapter will ever be made: certainly after this fourth one there is no point) but the visual language does not change one iota from the past, it is just more excessive, boldly emphasized, pumped-up, aestheticized.

John Wick 4 Review 1

In a sequence set in a disco with water walls (!) the characters kill each other (or rather, John Wick kills the various characters he faces) while the extras continue to dance undisturbed: because killing is an art, like dancing. But its living only by extremes (for this is definitely the most extreme chapter in the saga, and therefore by its very nature also the least successful), John Wick 4 pays for it in the structural impossibility of achieving that perfect and immortal balance that makes Mad Max: Fury Road Mad Max: Fury Road.

How much fun, though, Mr. Wick.

Undeniably, however, the fun comes in spades: the John Wick saga is perhaps the only Hollywood creation of the past decade that has the cues and ideas to rival the ideas and cues that come to the movies after having originated elsewhere, among video games and/or comic books.

John Wick is the cine-comic book that was born directly on the big screen: its whole world is comic book-like, yet it is a totally original IP, and this alternate reality in which everyone is a murderer and deadly fighter (civilians practically do not exist, buildings can explode without anyone worrying about it) is so cinematically powerful that it works precisely in its exaggerations.

The obvious influences that Asian cinema had on the birth of the saga here are paid homage through the presence of Hiroyuki Sanada (his character’s daughter is named Akira) and especially Donnie Yen, who not only confirms himself as the world’s greatest cinematic martial artist but also allows Stahelski to replicate a classic of Hong Kong action cinema. His character, Kane, is in fact a close friend of John Wick’s whom the rules of John Wick’s world force to turn into an enemy, a great cliché of the Hong Konger à la John Woo or Johnnie To in which the protagonist’s negative double is mirrored in the hero to the point of catharsis. And the final catharsis, after three hours of hilarious ravings, is very satisfying.

Certainly the first two episodes of the saga used the world around John Wick to tell us about the protagonist, even with great irony, and that is never the case here: after all, John Wick 4 has nothing more to tell, it is itself a statement. As with Damien Chazelle’s pachydermic colossal, however, it is impossible not to like him precisely because of his disproportionate ambition.

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Matteo Regoli

critica i film, poi gli chiede scusa si occupa di cinema, e ne è costantemente occupato è convinto che nello schermo, a contare davvero, siano le immagini porta avanti con poca costanza Fatti di Cinema, blog personale

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