John Wick: Chapter 4

John Wick: Chapter 4 ★★½

“Chapter 3” was such a low point that it made even “Chapter 2” seem worse. For some reason though, when early buzz for “Chapter 4“ seemed enthusiastic, I got my hopes up. I guess I shouldn’t have, because despite this being an improvement on its immediate predecessor, there’s not a lot of new stuff here. Aside from his visionary fight choreography, Stahelski has a shockingly limited imagination. Here is more or less a complete inventory of everything he's capable of dreaming up: nonsensically elaborate made-up protocols and ceremonies, cheesy-as-f**k nightclubs, physically underpowered Euro-boys as primary antagonists, and doggie companions as proxies for “good” guys. These elements have been present in all of the “Wick” installments and most of them, for me, got tiresome very early on, so you can imagine how tedious they feel in the fourth installment. Even the action, which is obviously what Stahelski focuses on more than anything else by far, is more or less repetitive here until the third act. When the fisticuffs come alive with genuine invention, it’s hard to deny that it’s impressive. But the incoherent plot and leaden, self-serious, seemingly interminable dialog takes away a ton of the fun from something that already should be much more enjoyable than it is.

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