4 out of 5 stars
John Wick: Chapter 4
I criticized the third John Wick movie for being too much of a good thing. John Wick: Chapter 4 pushes so far past the notion of “too much” as to render it pointless. Everything’s bigger here, as evidenced by the nearly 3-hour runtime (trimmed down from nearly four hours). The movie fully diverges from reality until you feel like you’re glimpsing an alternate universe. Which raises numerous questions. In a world apparently governed by an all-powerful crime syndicate that enjoys rarefied privilege and is obsessed with ritual and tradition, how do politics function? Religion? Law enforcement? (Come to think of it, Wick’s interaction with Jimmy the Cop in the first movie suddenly makes more sense now.) It’s an exhausting movie, but also a frequently beautiful one, such as when Wick is bathed in vibrant color in Osaka, Japan or strides into the gorgeously candlelit Saint-Eustache cathedral. (Cinematographer Dan Laustsen is the film’s MVP.) And of course, it’s a blast to see Keanu Reeves in motion, whether he’s wielding nunchaku, blasting away goons in an intricate overhead tracking shot, or sharing the screen with legends like Donnie Yen and Hiroyuki Sanada.