Film Journal 2023: John Wick Chapter 4
Directed by Chad Stahelski
Where to watch: now playing in theaters
Where this stands in terms of the larger franchise will be subjective opinion of course, but I do think it’s fair to say that the fourth entry in the series reflects a natural progression in the story. There’s the global setting, and it picks up after the cliff hanger in the third with Wick facing seemingly insurmountable and baffling odds. It also widens the scope of the story while personalizing the stakes.
The real star of course is the set pieces, which continue to push boundaries when it comes to their sheer practicality, ingenuity and commitment to detail. It hits the ground running and never lets up, leaving little doubt that this remains one of the strongest and most relatable action franchises out there right now. It makes dang sure you get your money’s worth when it comes to the big screen spectacle and entertainment of it all.
There’s only so many ways one can reimagine the revenge theme that remains the driving force of this franchise, which is why the world building goes a long ways in giving this legs. This one actually pushes the pause button in that regard, dialing things back to focus on simple one to one relationships. But the narrative fabric of the second and third installments is still there, which means there’s more world to explore. As a character says to John at one point in the film, you can’t possibly kill everyone- it will never end. This is the endless cycle of retribution. Reminds me of the words spoken to Cain in the early chapters of Genesis. And in fact, the Easter story just might have something to say about that too.