Wednesday, March 22, 2023

‘Wick’ as crazy as ever. No, crazier


      John Wick: Chapter 4 is one wild movie, a two-hour and 49-minute stream of action that makes a virtue of excess.
     If you’re familiar with WickWorld, you know that action means violence, executed with guns, knives, nunchucks and anything else that can be weaponized — cars and motorcycles included.
     Director Chad Stahelski ably threads a plot through the real draw, a slew of action set pieces.
     You either like this sort or thing or you don’t. If you do, Chapter 4 delivers. Sure, Stahelski pushes the violence to the point at which logic evaporates. But style, invention and skill keep the bloody bounty from curdling into exploitation. 
     Considering how much physical effort Reeves expends during Wick's globe-hopping endeavors, it’s a wonder the actor still is able to walk —much less ignite the engine that drives Wick's fighting fury.
      About those set pieces:
      A dizzyingly impressive battle sprawls its way through a Berlin nightclub where Wick confronts Killa (Scott Adkins), a hulk of a man with golden teeth who looks as if he might have been resurrected from an early Bond movie. 
       In another set piece, drivers race against the flow of traffic at an Arc de Triomphe roundabout. It’s funny and, yes, crazy,  a near-cartoonish blur of motion punctuated by staccato bursts of gun fire
       A climactic sequence takes on Sisyphean dimensions as antagonists fight on the steps leading to Paris's Sacre Coeur.
       The story? Oh yeah, that.
       A fiendish villain called the Marquis (Bill Skarsgard) hires hitmen to put Wick out of commission. 
       These include Tracker (Shamier Anderson),  an assassin who travels with his beloved but brutal German shepherd, and Caine (Donny Yen),  a blind warrior brought into the game when the Marquis threatens his daughter.
       Hiroyuki Sanada operates a swank Osaka hotel that provides safe-house refuge for assassins who serve a mysterious organization known as The Table.
       The cast roster also includes  returnees Laurence Fishburne, as the Bowery king, and Ian McShane, as the sly operator of New York City's safe house. 
      Is the movie too long? Of course it is,  but then again it’s too much of everything. 
       That's the Wick way. Again evoking memories of bygone Hong Kong action movies, Chapter 4 brings commitment to its ceaseless battling and avoids the worst label you can apply to any sequel. This is no pandering cash grab.  
       Stahelski ups the ante with each successive set piece, thus proving you can give audiences what they want without cheating or insulting them in the bargain.

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