It’s hard to believe that it has already been nine years since Keanu Reeves took on the titular character and stormed through multiple chapters as the hitman who took on everyone. Yet, here we are, the fourth (and possibly final) film with director Chad Stahelski and the movie at its longest, a full 169 minutes of our anti-hero evading constant assassination attempts led by the Marquis Vincent de Gramont (Bill Skarsgård), a French nobleman who is part of the High Table. As he seeks revenge, allies Winston (Ian McShane) and the Bowery King (Lawrence Fishburne) continue to aid Wick as he gets closer to his mission, but it becomes much more dangerous.
The story is simple enough, like building blocks. There is no turning back for Wick, and the action balloons to its maximum. The extent to which Wick endures gets somewhat cartoonish because he happens to be a mack truck. Yet falling from balconies, being hit by cars, and rolling down a hill of steps does not bother us. This is not like the Bourne series, where there’s a degree of realism. Wick instead features grandiose moments on the Palais de Chaillot and at Sacré-Cœur. Although, at some point, I did expect the late Graham Chapman of Monty Python to come out and say, “This is too silly.”
Shamier Anderson as the Tracker, also called “Mr. Nobody,” is a refreshing addition to the story. He is not outlandish, but a mysterious man with his bloodhound that wants his cut of Wick, but is patient to wait for the right amount. In time, he becomes part of John’s slate of friends when the Marquis is shown to be a man not trusted. But the Marquis is one with many resources, and Skarsgård has his devilish manners in trying to kill John Wick. It is sadly a bittersweet end for concierge Charon, played by Lance Reddick, after his unexpected passing, who bids adieu to Winston towards the beginning.
The final product is big, is fulfilling, and may indeed close the chapter of John Wick, the man. Of course, the upcoming Ballerina will spin off from the same universe. While that film goes in a different direction, the path for this hitman has concluded. The cinematography keeps the film feeling like a pop-noirish music video rollercoaster, and the editing is sharp. If this is the end of the line, and it certainly feels like it, then the saga of the “Baba Yaga” will be all worth the four films in this inglorious franchise.
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