The John Wick movies are one of the few films I will drag myself out to a mid-day Saturday screening for. It is worth seeing in the theaters. It is a very fun film with all the action you could want. Maybe even too much, depending on how you feel about run time or how realistic you like your action films. I do recommend it, but there are some things about it that bugged me.
My major problem with the story is probably a result of the film being delayed from the unspecified virus of unknown origin and then the change of plans from making the series five movies long, down to just four. As long as it is, and it is long, it has a suitably long story arc.
The last time we saw John, he was going to join Laurence Fishburne’s Bowery King for a war on the High Table and Winston. That goes right out the window pretty quickly. John travels to the desert to ask the Head Grandpooba for his freedom, which isn’t given. And so John blows him away.
As a result, Winston’s hotel is blown up as punishment for not being 100% sure that he had killed John Wick properly. Wick is hiding out in Japan at another hotel. This one gets raided and the manager, a friend of John, is killed. This pushes Wick to come back and meet Winston so they can come up with a way to get John off the hook and free from being hunted, released from any obligations to the High Table, while Winston gets his hotel back.
Huh? We went from John wanting total revenge on everyone, killing the High Table and all their mooks, to just John wanting “out” again? That seems out of character to me, especially how fast he gets over Winston shooting him off the side of a building.
John does waste three members of the High Table in the film, but it’s sort of incidental. Not the completely focused goal of revenge, as we saw in the first film.
Moving on… The use of weapons in the movie takes all sorts of liberties with reality and is as frequently retarded as in the last movie. The most egregious is the use of the gimmick Dragon’s Breath shotgun rounds. Yes, those are a real thing that has been around since the 80s. Yes, they do shoot flame out about 100 yards.
No, they are not lethal, nor will they set you on fire. If memory serves it’s simply ignited magnesium powder. I have used them in the past. The only danger would be getting some of it in your eyes. It sure looked cool on film though.
The use of the gimmick shotgun rounds is a key factor in one of the best parts of the film, an overhead shot long take. If you have played the video game Hotline Miami then you know what it looks like.
As usual, the use of handguns and their lethality is so off-the-scale dumb that I won’t even go into it because it will make me too angry.
The bulletproof suits have reached the point of absurdity in the John Wick films. I ignore it, because there is no way you could have 300 guys shooting at you and not take at least a couple of hits. I never liked the concept of them in the films to start with and they have not grown on me. They must also protect you from getting hit many times by cars and falling from multiple stories.
The world-building and lore of the franchise has gotten too unwieldy, in my opinion. It really shows some cracks by this point. You feel like nobody in the Wick universe is just a regular honest Joe. Police seem to not exist. You can just 9-11 a building in downtown NYC without even putting up a road cone, and no amount of bloodshed in a dance club will even so much as get a second take from the disco goers.
The rules and history of this giant mafia conglomerate big enough to make Israel jealous gets more and more complex by installments. High Table rules and regs are like Batman’s belt – there is a convenient bylaw anytime you need to pull one out, apparently.
The Osaka hotel scenes are some of the best in the film. Not only do they have amazing shots and framing but the colors are peak John Wick film lighting. The Japanese sword and bow fighting make it super awesome.
Donnie Yen is in the film as an old pal of John’s sent to kill him. A blind sword fighter with Daredevil levels of skill, he steals the show in my opinion. Every scene with him elevated the movie. It’s worth seeing just for his scenes alone.
While the film is loooong it doesn’t feel too long. Only one time did it start to feel tedious to me, and that is around the ending when John is trying to make it to his ultimate goal.
Other than my nitpicks, I don’t disagree with Wrenage’s review. John Wick kills a battalion of mooks in the film. You do get your money’s worth. Hell, other than realism, I don’t think there is anything in the movie that you wouldn’t want a little bit of from the action genre.
I won’t spoil the ending for you as badly as I want to.
I give it a high rating, despite my issues above, just for the pure audacity of the non-stop, balls-to-the-wall action. I don’t rate it as the best of the series but it is a vast improvement over part 3. I’d have to rate them in order of my favorite to least favorite as 2, 1, 4 with 3 coming in dead last.
I encourage you to go see it, and pay real Yankee greenbacks for it. Or whatever leaf, beads, or coconut shell your lame country uses for money. Don’t let the run time put you off. It’s so much fun you hardly notice the run time.
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I really liked the first one. Second one was OK too. The third one with all the mystical Gypsy supernatural shit was just lame. I may actually pay some fossilised dingo turds (what we use for currency here in Australia) to see it in a cinema when it gets released here.
Hmmmm…..,have a free movie pass from friend,will use to see John 4(I loved all me dogs but damn this guy takes it to the next level!),will drop me thoughts after a viewing.
I will admit skimmed past review as want to see it with fresh eyes/hope it brings a needed smile on me face.