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Keanu Reeves returns in ‘John Wick: Chapter 4,’ a thrilling and adrenaline-soaked experience



The formula works

There’s little doubt that Keanu Reeves and director Chad Stahelski know what audiences expect in a “John Wick” film. With each subsequent film, box office revenue has risen. There’s little reason to expect a different outcome with “John Wick: Chapter 4” when it debuts on area screens across the country.

A threadbare plot accentuated by stylized violence and a tonally perfect performance by Reeves have contributed to Wick’s assassin tale of vicious, escapist fun. “Chapter Four” follows the template, but almost wears out its welcome with a runtime of 2 hours 49 minutes. It could use a trim of 20 to 25 minutes to make it more palatable.

New elements

To some, however, that’s 20 to 25 minutes of extra fun. Stahelski and his team of writers — Shay Hatten, Michael Finch and Derek Kolstad — at least make the effort to add new elements that pay off handsomely. Enter Donnie Yen as Caine, a friend and reluctant foe of Wick. Needless to say, Wick needs all the friends he can get, but a master of martial arts working to hunt him down certainly isn’t something he needs.

The Marquis (Bill Skarsgard), the individual presumably given control of Wick’s fate, works for the High Table, the organization with which Wick is at war and has made his life miserable for so long.

It would be sufficient if the Marquis and Caine by proxy were the only problems Wick faced, but he’s a wanted man and the High Table doesn’t care who takes him out. And Tracker (Shamier Anderson) is on the trail seeking to claim the bounty on Wick’s head.

An adrenaline-soaked experience

All of these elements mix to create a generally adrenaline-soaked experience. The writers certainly know how to write for Reeves’ earnest, deadpan delivery. Secondary characters such as Ian McShane’s Manager and Yen’s Caine, who can be positively hilarious at times, receive their moment to shine.

Stahelski highlights the humor of “John Wick: 4,” but he also deserves praise for the engrossing fight choreography.

A film worth watching

Fans of this series won’t be disappointed with what’s been assembled here. Reeves and Stahelski have said it will be a few years before a fifth film is produced, so perhaps that padded running time isn’t a detriment after all.

However, it should be appreciated for another, more solemn fact. It’s one of the last films from veteran character actor Lance Reddick, who died unexpectedly March 17.

George M. Thomas dabbles in movies and television for the Beacon Journal. Reach him at

Movie details

Movie: “John Wick 4”



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