John Wick: Chapter 4 review – enjoyably pulpy slaughterfest
You expect that the stunts and fight choreography of a John Wick film will be top tier. The director, former kickboxer Chad Stahelski, got his start in the movie industry as a stuntman after all, serving as Keanu Reeves’s stunt double in The Matrix. Extravagantly showy stunt work is a given, and it’s the main reason to watch these enjoyably pulpy slaughterfests – certainly more so than the plot, which reprises the basic structure of past films, with Wick (Keanu Reeves) slicing his way through the countless henchmen of his former employers, the High Table. But even by the standards of the past Wick outings, this is remarkable. Human bodies are hurled into moving vehicles; Reeves’s double tumbles down the entire length of the Sacré-Coeur stairs. And, just to remind us that we are in the hands of an action master, Stahelski delivers one extended, mind-bogglingly complicated fight sequence in what appears to be a single shot, the camera floating overhead.
Stahelski reteams with key crew, including production designer Kevin Kavanaugh, who retains his fondness for neon tube structures and colour coding. But there’s fresh blood in the cast, most notably a deliciously insouciant Donnie Yen, as blind assassin Caine, and Scott Adkins, who is enormous fun as Killa, a murderous plus-sized German equipped with metal teeth, all the better for chewing the scenery.