ACTION connoisseurs are hyped for John Wick: Chapter 4, which has just released in theatres. Our resident film buffs Tom Parry and Stefan Bradley went to check it out.

TP: When the two of us review a film together, we usually wait until we’ve exited the cinema and gathered our thoughts to chat about it. In this instance though, we immediately started talking about it as soon as the credits rolled, and I’m pleased to say, we were both immensely thrilled by what we saw.

SB: We are indeed! Chapter 4 sees its title character, former hitman and bounty hunter John Wick (Keanu Reeves) wreak vengeance on the very same people who wronged him in the previous three chapters, trotting the globe to seek help from his various associates. And that’s more or less all the plot you need to know.

TP: This is the longest film in the franchise, clocking in at two hours and forty-nine minutes, but don’t be discouraged – that runtime is absolutely justified.

SB: You do feel that length at times when the characters are talking to each other about rules and whatnot; but on the opposite end, the action sequences are also quite long, but they’re so gripping that you wish they went on forever.

TP: Having watched the previous three instalments, I’ve always been astonished at how, even though these movies are made by the same director and largely the same crew, they keep finding ways to make the action feel fresh and inventive, and Chapter 4 is no exception – it doesn’t feel like any other action film that has come before it.

SB: I’ve also seen all three previous movies – they’re consistently incredible action thrillers. I can safely say that Chapter 4 is the best instalment in the franchise. It’s one of the most intense action movies I’ve ever seen.

TP: I agree 100 per cent – this will go down as one of the greatest action films of all time. What’s more – and I know we’re only three months into the year – I get the feeling this is going to be my favourite film of 2023.

SB: Bold call! What did you make of the characters, Tom?

TP: I liked them all, both the protagonists and the antagonists. Weirdly, John Wick is one of the weaker characters here – I feel Keanu Reeves lacks the authenticity and gravitas he previously gave to the lead role.

SB: His arc is not as compelling as it was in the first and third films; but, Chapter 4 does introduce some other characters who bring a lot to the table and keep the movie fresh.

Donnie Yen as Mr Caine. Images: StudioCanal/Lionsgate Films

TP: One such example is Donnie Yen as Mr Caine. Yen is a legend of Hong Kong cinema, has appeared in numerous kung fu movies, but most would recognise him as Chirrut Îmwe from Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. He’s more or less playing the same character in Chapter 4 – a blind man who’s really good at martial arts – only this time he’s wearing a sharp suit and sunglasses, and dealing with a lot more blood. His action scenes are really fast-paced and exciting, but not so fast that you can’t tell what’s going on. I think they’re perfectly paced – you can decipher what’s happening on-screen and not be confused by it.

SB: Yes, especially when compared to the film we reviewed last week, Shazam! Fury of the Gods, which had bland and uninspired action sequences – to go from that to John Wick: Chapter 4 is almost like getting whiplash. The way they choreograph every scene is stunning.

TP: It’s important that we emphasise, you need to have watched the previous John Wick chapters to understand what’s going on, who these characters are, and the lore of their universe. For instance, Stefan and I know that John Wick wears bulletproof three-piece suits because we’ve seen the first three movies; but if newcomers see him being shot in those same suits in Chapter 4, they’re going to wonder why he’s not bleeding out.

SB: I also recommend watching the other John Wick movies before this one (all three are currently on Netflix); but I also think you could watch it without being versed in the lore and still find it entertaining. What did you make of the technical aspects of Chapter 4?

TP: As with its predecessors, nothing but solid. The sound mixing, sound editing, film editing, cinematography and lighting are all phenomenal. And the score is top-notch too – we’ve got composers Tyler Bates and Joel J. Richard returning with their techno and hard-rock compositions, and their efforts here are definitely their best yet.

SB: Couldn’t agree more. To summarise, John Wick: Chapter 4 is a fantastic cinema experience, and you should definitely go and see it on the big screen.

TP: If you are a fan of action movies, and you enjoyed the other John Wick movies, you have no excuse for missing this one. It is undoubtedly a must-see!

John Wick: Chapter 4 is rated MA15+ for strong action violence, and is currently screening at Sale Cinema.

John Wick: Chapter 4 has just released in theatres.