John Wick: Chaper 4 Parent Guide
The tightly choreographed, kinetic violence is pretty much the entire film.
Parent Movie Review
Ever since he chose to pursue revenge, legendary assassin John Wick (Keanu Reeves) has known that the consequences would catch up with him eventually. He is still hotly pursued by the High Table and its agents, and doubly so after tracking down and killing the Elder (Said Taghmaoui). The Table now empowers the young and vicious Marquis Vincent de Gramont (Bill Skarsgard) to bring Wick down by any means necessary – including the destruction of the Continental Hotel in New York for the failure of its manager, Winston (Ian McShane), to kill Wick the last time they crossed paths. Even with the help of his few remaining friends, John Wick is being pushed further and further towards the brink, but there’s a way out must - if he’s fast enough.
Under the old law of the High Table, any dispute can be settled by single combat between the complainants. But for John to be able to challenge the Marquis, he has to be a member of one of the crime families that make up the High Table – a privilege he previously sacrificed to escape the excommunication order against him. If he’s to have any hope of getting out of this alive, he must find a way back to his family - the Ruska Roma mob. Meanwhile, he needs to dodge every assassin trying to claim the $20 million price tag on his head. The Marquis, unwilling to leave the job to amateurs, calls up Caine (Donnie Yen), a terrifyingly effective blind killer, and one of John Wick’s oldest friends. The Marquis demands that Caine kill Wick, or the Marquis will kill Caine’s daughter. John is going to have to move faster and hit harder than ever before.
Let’s begin with the elephant in the room. How can this high-speed action thriller survive a punishing 3-hour runtime? Mostly by structuring its action scenes a lot more deliberately than the last film. Sure, some of them still drag on a little, but not quite as badly as Chapter Three. The film has a much stronger sense of purpose, so all of the big dramatic shootouts/beat-em-ups feel like they’re going somewhere specific. It helps that they are, as usual, fantastically choreographed. Obviously, Keanu is an experienced pro at this point, but adding a legend like Donnie Yen to the mix certainly doesn’t hurt the quality of the carnage.
About the carnage: there’s a lot of it. True to form, the stuntmen have been creative in finding new ways to give each other long term spinal damage, and there are more big falls and some pretty nasty car hits that go a long way in selling the impact of the combat. Since most of the characters are wearing some form of body armor at this point, ingenuity is required to find ways for them to actually hurt each other – hits to the neck and, unfortunately, the groin seem to do the trick. I don’t think I’ve seen this many men take such devastating hits to the groin since I stopped watching America’s Funniest Home Videos. Never before have so many taken so much to so little. Not least because there’s a dog which has been trained to target specific anatomical regions with commands like “nuts”. If you’re feeling a trifle delicate about your manhood these days, this might not be an ideal filmgoing experience. If, on the other hand, you’re okay with onscreen violence, the film has very little other negative content. Conversation is pretty limited, so there isn’t all that much profanity, and there’s minimal social drinking. No drug use, no sexual content. This is a one trick pony, content-wise, but that pony kicks. Hard.
I’ve always had a fondness for the controlled chaos of a John Wick movie, and I’m glad to see the franchise has rebalanced a little after the last film. I’m not sure how many more of these movies they’re planning to make, but if they keep at it, I sincerely hope they’ll find something to cut. These three hour runtimes are not only unnecessary, they’re more than a little unpleasant for my bladder. Maybe we could trim some of the approximately three thousand slow-pan shots of the New York skyline at twilight. Just a suggestion.Directed by Chad Stahelski. Starring Keanu Reeves, Donnie Yen, Bill Skarsgård. Running time: 169 minutes. Theatrical release March 24, 2023. Updated March 23, 2023
John Wick: Chaper 4
Rating & Content Info
Why is John Wick: Chaper 4 rated R? John Wick: Chaper 4 is rated R by the MPAA for pervasive strong violence and some language
Violence: Countless individuals are shot, stabbed, mauled, beaten, bitten (I should clarify that they’re bitten by a dog, not each other), strangled, hit with cars, blown up, and set on fire. Several characters are also killed in long falls.
Sexual Content: None.
Profanity: There are eight sexual expletives and three scatological profanities, as well as rare uses of mild curses or terms of deity.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Adult characters are briefly seen drinking small amounts of alcohol.
Page last updated March 23, 2023
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This film continues the John Wick series, preceded by John Wick Chapter One, John Wick Chapter Two, and John Wick Chapter Three: Parabellum. Other films with a focus on dynamic combat include Bullet Train, Gunpowder Milkshake, Kate, Atomic Blonde, and The Protégé. Action and espionage fans may also enjoy the somewhat shakier fistfights in The Bourne Identity, The Bourne Supremacy, andThe Bourne Ultimatum.