Outside of the extensive violence and mob wars, viewers are able to see cities like Paris and Berlin from the underbelly in the John Wick, Chapter 4 movie. It was my first viewing of the Wick franchise with Keanu Reeves, but seeing Paris at night with the grisly happenings outside of Sacre Coeur in the wee hours of the morning along with the radio dee-jay stationed in the Eiffel Tower, revealed the dark side of the City of Lights. We could only see her painted lips as she continually announced John Wick’s movements as he battled the forces of the High Table, a crime organization.
At one point in the movie, we viewed high-fashioned partygoers in an elite venue in Berlin who continued to dance in spite of the kicks, punches and fights until it became too much for them. Eventually, they raced and scattered to their expensive cars and let the fighters have the place.
Of course, John Wick seemed to be invincible as he kicked and chopped his way through multiple scenes which reminded me of the 70’s song, Kung-Fu Fighting (Carl Douglas). Wick, Shimazu (Hiroyuki Sanada), a Japanese hotel owner, his daughter and his many henchmen took me back to the Bruce Lee days. They used swords, machetes and other weapons as they operated as killing machines trying to protect Shimazu’s Osaka hotel.
The sightless Caine (Donnie Yee) almost stole the show as he navigated the terrain with a determined resolve to battle the High Table for he and his violinist daughter’s freedoms. When John appeared to be on his last leg, Caine constantly said “Get up, John,” as they tried to make it up the 300 steps to the Sacre Coeur for an appointed duel. Even the audience laughed when John kept tumbling back down the stairs while fighting, realizing that he’d have to reclimb the stairs all over again to keep his appointment.
The arch-nemesis and the Marquis of the High Table, a fanciful-dressed, mean, cowardly narcissist, (Bill Skarsgard) was so despicable that the theater audience applauded when he finally got his comeuppance. Along with him, there were both good and bad but memorable characters such Bowery King (Laurence Fishburne), Tracker (Shamier Anderson) with his ‘support animal’ and the late Lance Reddick as Charon as the hotel concierge.
One take away for me, other than the vicarious visits to New York City; Paris, France; Osaka, Japan and Berlin, Germany were the thought-provoking words of Winston (Ian McShane), another a hotel owner. He said repeatedly (in essence), “How you do things is how you do things.” I reflected later and thought of people who operate in a well-planned manner; those who do things sloppily for others to clean up and those who have no memory of their atrocities as a way of taking no responsibility for their actions.
This almost three-hour movie is a great way to see picturesque world class cities though it is quite bloody and gory. It’s worth the ticket to escape the real happenings of 2023 and a way to discover what happens to the incomparable, black-clad John Wick.
March 31, 2023