One of the most interesting films to be released in cinemas this year may well be John Wick: Chapter 4. When someone looks at the synopsis of this film they could be forgiven for wondering how a plot so thin could entertain an audience for close to three hours. Yet, after they have watched the film they will be left thinking they have seen one of the best action films of 2023.

John Wick: Chapter 4 picks up where the last film finishes off. John Wick (Keanu Reeves – Point Break) is on the run now ex-communicated from the Order that he once worked for. Despite recent events he still has Winston (Ian McShane – Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides), Bowery King (Laurence Fishburne – The Matrix) and Charon (Lance Reddick – White House Down) on his side but it seems everyone else in New York has turned on him.

After taking out the Head of the High Table John seeks refuge with his good friend Shimazi Koji (Hiroyuki Sanada – The Wolverine) at the Osaka Continental while in New York a Marquis (Bill Skarsgard – It) turns up determined to not only bring John to justice but to bring anyone associated with him down as well.

The Marquis instantly closes down the New York Continental and removes Winston and Charon from their posts. He then hires a friend of John’s, a blind assassin named Caine (Donnie Yen – Rogue One: A Star Wars Story), to kill him – under the threat that his daughter will be killed if he doesn’t.

As Caine turns up in Osaka to do the Marquis’ dirty work he is joined by a mysterious Tracker (Shamier Anderson – Race) who has been lured by the big money on offer to join in the hunt for John. With now an entire army after him John must work out a way to defeat them or find another path towards freeing himself from the price on his head.

Directed by Chad Stahleski (John Wick) John Wick: Chapter 4 takes the action and marital arts genre into a whole new stratosphere. The influence of Asian cinema is obvious and rather than distance themselves from that the filmmakers instead embrace it and the result are some brilliant fight sequences during the Osaka battle while the inclusion of Caine and Shimazi into film only further enhance the franchise. In fact Caine is perhaps one of the most interesting and intriguing characters that we have ever seen in the world of John Wick.

Many of the fight sequences, especially the ones in Paris, are completely unbelievable but as an audience you find yourself simply not caring about that aspect. You know it is impossible for John to survive being hit by four or five cars yet you find yourself sighing with relief when he picks himself up to battle the next assailant. Stahleski and his team of writers have created such a brilliant world in which John lives that now fans of the franchise don’t want to be removed from it and are willing to accept just about any scenario.

While there are a lot of fight sequences in the film and a death toll so high that you soon lose count the film does manage to keep the suspense running throughout using more tools than just the violence. There are number of dramatic sequences throughout this film where the acting must come to the fore. The scenes between the Marquis, Charon and Winston will have the audience waiting on every word and the finale of the film will have everyone sitting on the edge of their seat. In fact to be honest this film is like a rollercoaster so there will be very few times where audiences are sitting comfortably in their seats.

The dramatic nature of this film means that the film’s actors can’t just coast by with their stunt skills either. Despite potentially being one of the most vile people to appear in the franchise the character of the Marquis is brought to life brilliantly by Bills Skarsgard while the portrayal of a blind assassin by Donnie Yen is one of the best performances the John Wick universe has ever seen. Ian McShane also shines while Keanu Reeves once again shows why he can once be considered one of Hollywood’s most bankable stars.

John Wick: Chapter 4 really is a visual spectacular. With amazing fight sequences and a storyline that never signposts or becomes predictable this film is a film that deserves more credit than most will give it.

4/5 Stars