Keanu Reeves as John Wick in 'John Wick: Chapter 4.'

Keanu Reeves as John Wick in 'John Wick: Chapter 4.' Photo Credit: Murray Close.

Opening in theaters on March 24th is the fourth (and perhaps final) installment of the ‘John Wick’ franchise entitled ‘John Wick: Chapter 4,’ which is once again directed by Chad Stahelski.

John Wick: Chapter 4

"No way back, one way out."
R2 hr 50 minMar 13th, 2023
Showtimes & Tickets

What is the Plot of ‘John Wick: Chapter 4?’

Following the events of ‘John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum,’ John Wick (Keanu Reeves) seeks to kill the leader of the High Table, and Winston Scott (Ian McShane) must face the consequences of his actions. The new leader of the High Table, Marquis Vincent de Gramont (Bill Skarsgård), wants Wick dead and hires hundreds of assassins to kill him, including a tracker named Mr. Nobody (Shamier Anderson), and Caine (Donnie Yen), a blind assassin who is old friends with Wick.

Aided by another old friend, Shimazu Koji (Hiroyuki Sanada), the manager of the Osaka Continental Hotel, as well as the Bowery King (Laurence Fishburne), Wick agrees to Winston’s dangerous plan to earn him his freedom, which involves Wick rejoining the Ruska Roma, assassinating German High Table member Killa (Scott Adkins), and challenging Marquis Vincent de Gramont to a duel to the death. But first John Wick will need to survive until sunrise if he wants a chance at getting his life back.

Who is in the Cast of ‘John Wick: Chapter 4?’

‘John Wick: Chapter 4’ once again stars Keanu Reeves (‘Speed,’ ‘Point Break’) as John Wick, Ian McShane (‘Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides’) as Winston Scott, Laurence Fishburne (‘The Matrix’) as the Bowery King, and the late Lance Reddick (‘Bosch’) as Charon.

The sequel also features new cast members Donnie Yen (‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’) as Caine, Bill Skarsgård (‘Deadpool 2’) as Marquis Vincent de Gramont, Hiroyuki Sanada (‘Avengers: Endgame’) as Shimazu Koji, Shamier Anderson (‘Stowaway’) as Mr. Nobody, Clancy Brown ('Highlander’) as the Harbinger, Scott Adkins (‘The Expendables 2’) as Killa, and Rina Sawayama as Akira, the concierge of the Osaka Continental Hotel.

Keanu Reeves as John Wick in 'John Wick: Chapter 4.'

Keanu Reeves as John Wick in 'John Wick: Chapter 4.' Photo Credit: Murray Close.

Initial Thoughts

With over-the-top action, more character development, and a satisfying conclusion, ‘John Wick: Chapter 4’ is the best of the ‘John Wick’ sequels and is on par with the original film. Keanu Reeves excels in his signature role, and Donnie Yen is finally given a part in an American film worthy of his great talents.

The Story, the Action and the Direction

2014’s ‘John Wick’ was a revolutionary film for the action genre and helped to rejuvenate Keanu Reeves' career (more on that later). What felt like a perfect stand-alone action movie was eventually transformed into a huge franchise, thanks to the success of its sequels and upcoming spinoffs. While ‘John Wick: Chapter 2’ was a strong sequel that expanded the “Wick Universe,” ‘John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum,’ while a good movie in its own right, was ultimately not as satisfying a conclusion to the series as expected as it basically ended with a “To Be Continued.”

‘John Wick: Chapter 4’ is absolutely a satisfying ending to the title character’s story (at least for now) and one that fans of the series truly deserve. With the exception of the introduction of Halle Berry’s great character Sofia Al-Azwar in ‘Parabellum,’ who unfortunately does not appear in ‘Chapter 4,’ the third movie does not seem that relevant anymore, as most of the new film follows the same story beats: Wick and Winston atoning for their actions in ‘Chapter 2.’ While I think a trilogy would have made the series stronger in the long run, I understand the studio wanting to stretch it out given its success, and I guess ‘Parabellum’ needed to set up the upcoming spinoff ‘Ballerina.’

Director and former stunt coordinator Chad Stahelski, who upped the game for action movies with the first ‘John Wick’ ups his action game again with this film, which truly contains some amazing fight sequences. And it’s not just the scenes with what Reeves has called “Gun-Fu,” the movie also has “Car-Fun,” as well as “Sword-Fu” moments. The scenes are shot incredibly well and fluid, and allows the audience to follow the wild action without missing a beat. Particularly impressive is a massive gun and sword fight that takes place at the Osaka Continental Hotel, as well as the final set-piece, a 10-minute-plus long fight sequence that takes place on a steep set of outdoor stairs.

Ian McShane as Winston, Keanu Reeves as John Wick, and director Chad Stahelski on the set of 'John Wick: Chapter 4.'

(L to R) Ian McShane as Winston, Keanu Reeves as John Wick, and director Chad Stahelski on the set of 'John Wick: Chapter 4.' Photo Credit: Murray Close.

Related Article: Keanu Reeves to Appear in ‘John Wick’ Spin-Off ‘Ballerina’

Keanu’s Performance

Keanu Reeves is one of our most beloved, and at times, underrated actors. Reeves has starred in countless modern classics like ‘Point Break,’ ‘Speed,’ and of course ‘The Matrix,’ but it seems like he didn’t finally receive the respect he deserved for his impressive career until he starred in the surprise hit ‘John Wick,’ which completely changed everything for the actor. Keanu is now a national treasure, and his dedication to the role of John Wick, as demonstrated in his training videos on YouTube, shows just how much this role has meant to him, and just how talented an actor he really is.

John Wick was never your typical action character, as his origin story began with the death of his wife (to an illness, not assassination) and his motivation was to avenge the death of the dog she gave him before she died. From inception, this gave the character more depth and made him more emotionally vulnerable than most action heroes. Reeves’ deep emotional connection as an actor is part of what makes him so good as this character and that is only elevated by the new movie. While in some ways he will always be remembered for playing Neo in ‘The Matrix’ series, it’s safe to say John Wick is now Reeves’ signature character. With ‘Chapter 4’ the actor not only brings his character to a satisfying conclusion, but also seems to be at the apex of his talents and career.

Donnie Yen as Caine in 'John Wick: Chapter 4.'

Donnie Yen as Caine in 'John Wick: Chapter 4.' Photo Credit: Murray Close.

Donnie Yen’s Caine

Best known for his work on the ‘Ip Man’ series, actor and martial artist Donnie Yen has only appeared in a few American films such as ‘Rogue One’ and ‘XXX: Return of Xander Cage,’ and he has not really been given a chance to show off his talents until now. In ‘Chapter 4,’ Donnie Yen is truly brilliant as Wick’s old friend and adversary Caine, and absolutely shines in the role. He creates a fully formed character as the blind assassin, and is completely believable in the role. His action sequences are some of the best in the film, and he brings a lot of humor to the part, and has great onscreen chemistry with Reeves. There are some hints in the movie that Caine may continue on in future installments or spinoffs, and I for one would love to see Yen return to the role.

Ian McShane as Winston and Bill Skarsgård as Marquis in 'John Wick: Chapter 4.'

(L to R) Ian McShane as Winston and Bill Skarsgård as Marquis in 'John Wick: Chapter 4.' Photo Credit: Murray Close.

The Villains

While not necessarily a villain, like Caine, Shamier Anderson’s Mr. Nobody is an adversary to Wick and one of the great new characters this film introduces. He is mysterious at first, and we’re not quite sure who’s side he is really on, which makes him more interesting to follow throughout the film. His physicality and skills are a match for Wick, but their mutual love of dogs is key to them possibly calling a truce before film’s end. I was not that familiar with Anderson’s work previous to this movie, but was impressed with his portrayal of the character and would love to see him appear in the franchise again.

Although he is really only in one sequence, action star Scott Adkins steals his scene as Killa, a physically massive German High Table member that poses a threat to Wick. The actor is heavily made-up and physically imposing, while his martial arts skills are well on display, regardless of the character’s size. Character actor Clancy Brown is always good when he appears in small but pivotal roles, and has another strong one here as the Harbinger, who works for the High Table.

But the true villain of the movie is the Marquis Vincent de Gramont, played by Bill Skarsgård. The actor does his best with the material, but like Alfie Allen’s Tarasov in the first movie, and Riccardo Scamarcio’s Santino D'Antonio in the second, the character comes off as a spoiled brat, and without the power of the High Table, one on one, is no threat for Wick, which does play out in the final scenes of the movie. He’s your standard “Bond Villain” behind the scenes pulling the strings, and I would have liked a main villain that could really be a physical threat for our hero, but perhaps that is why they cast Yen and Adkins in their roles.

Laurence Fishburne as Bowery King in 'John Wick: Chapter 4.'

Laurence Fishburne as Bowery King in 'John Wick: Chapter 4.' Photo Credit: Murray Close.

The Supporting Cast

The ‘Matrix’ reunion is cut short again as Laurence Fishburne does return as the Bowery King but has limited screen time. However, it is always nice to see Fishburne and Reeves share the frame again, and his role is pivotal to Wick’s success. Actors Hiroyuki Sanada and Rina Sawayama are great additions to the franchise as Shimazu Koji and his daughter Akira, respectively, and it was fascinating to see the Osaka version of the Continental Hotel.

Tragically, actor Lance Reddick, who has played Charon, the concierge of the Continental Hotel in New York, in all four ‘Wick’ movies died this past week, just before the film’s release. Unfortunately, the actor’s role is limited in the new movie, but his performance now has new context as it will be one of his last. Reddick’s character was a staple of the series, always having great chemistry with McShane and Reeves, particularly in ‘Parabellum,’ and the actor will definitely be missed.

But in many ways it is Ian McShane’s Winston Scott who has the biggest upgrade in ‘Chapter 4.’ The character played an important but small role in the original, and that role has grown in each new installment. Winston’s power is threatened in this film, and like a scared animal backed into a corner, we learn what happens when you cross the character. It’s his plan that could help John regain his freedom, and in turn help himself return to power, but McShane allows the character to come across in a way that you feel he is motivated by his friendship and respect for Wick as much as he is by his own self-preservation. And again, his lovely moments with Reddick as Charon will take on more resonance now that the actor is gone.

Lance Reddick as Charon and Ian McShane as Winston Scott in 'John Wick: Chapter 4.'

(L to R) Lance Reddick as Charon and Ian McShane as Winston Scott in 'John Wick: Chapter 4.'

Is 'John Wick: Chapter 4' the last one, or will there be a 'John Wick 5?'

Without giving anything away, there definitely is a finality to ‘John Wick: Chapter 4,’ or at least a satisfying conclusion to the main character’s story arc. Regardless of the movie’s outcome, rest assured that the franchise will not end here. While there are plans for a ‘John Wick: Chapter 5,’ director Chad Stahelski and star Keanu Reeves have both said recently that they plan to take a break from the character and the franchise for a while.

But no matter what happens with the flagship ‘Wick’ series, the franchise and especially ‘Chapter 4’ have created such a big world with so many interesting characters that it will go on for the foreseeable future. Already in production is ‘Ballerina,’ based on characters introduced in ‘Parabellum,’ including Unity Phelan’s Rooney (now played by Oscar nominee Ana de Armas) and Anjelica Huston’s “The Director.” The movie is helmed by ‘Underworld’s Len Wiseman and will also feature Reeves, McShane and Reddick, reprising their roles, and it is said to be set between ‘Parabellum’ and ‘Chapter 4.’

There has also been talk of a spinoff featuring Halle Berry’s ‘Parabellum’ character, and a possible crossover with Bob Odenkirk’s ‘Nobody’ series. Not to mention the upcoming series adaption called ‘The Continental,’ which is an origin story for the Winston Scott character, featuring Colin Woodell playing a young Winston, as well as Oscar winner Mel Gibson.

Final Thoughts

In the end, ‘John Wick: Chapter 4’ is an action-packed and emotional rollercoaster with fantastic new characters and a satisfying conclusion to the title character’s arc. Keanu Reeves reminds us why we love him playing his beloved signature character, and Donnie Yen dazzles creating a new character you’ll want to see again, while director Chad Stahelski delivers the best sequel in the series.

‘John Wick: Chapter 4’ receives 9.5 out of 10 stars.

Keanu Reeves as John Wick in 'John Wick: Chapter 4.'

Keanu Reeves as John Wick in 'John Wick: Chapter 4.' Photo Credit: Murray Close.

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'John Wick: Chapter 4' is produced by Lionsgate, Thunder Road and 87Eleven, and scheduled for release on March 24th.