John Wick: Chapter 4 brings the Keanu Reeves-fronted action franchise to a fittingly bloody conclusion, but does John get to walk into the sunset? In the original John Wick, the titular character was retired from his past life as a nigh unstoppable assassin, until a home invasion saw his beloved puppy killed and set him on a bloodthirsty revenge mission. There’s an alternate universe where the film went straight to DVD, but it became a word-of-mouth smash. Reeves soon returned for two sequels, with each successive entry outgrossing the last. For a new generation, it’s John Wick – not The Matrix’s Neo – that has become Reeves’ defining role.
The Marquis has no intention of playing fair either, and Chapter 4’s finale is a non-stop barrage of car chases, gun battles and fistfights as every assassin in Paris is called upon to collect on Wick’s $40 million bounty before he can reach the Sacré-Cœur. With some surprise help from Mr. Nobody and Donnie Yen’s Caine, John just about reaches the church on time. He and Caine duel across three rounds using single shot pistols, and both wound each other badly. Seemingly on the verge of death, the Marquis swoops in to deliver the kill shot on John, assuming the latter’s gun is empty.
“It shows the cyclical and cruel nature of this world, that once you get in there, it is impossible to get out,” Hatten said. “I think that’s why we empathize with John so much. No matter how many people he kills, you recognize, well, he didn’t really have a choice. He fell into this life, and now he’s just trying to get out and honor the memory of his wife. But it’s a really challenging thing to do.”
While all of this plays into the themes of the series, including revenge and the idea that the High Table sits above even the most legendary assassins that serve under it, it’s also just an exciting little cap to the movie’s story — or maybe a tease of what’s to come for the series’ future.
Who is the dog in John Wick: Chapter 4?
The new dog in John Wick: Chapter 4 is a Belgian Malinois. The animal doesn’t have a name, with production notes simply calling the canine “faithful accomplice.”
The dog is accomplice to a character called ‘The Tracker,’ who is also known as Mr. Nobody, and played by Canadian actor Shamier Anderson.
Five dogs played the role at different points in the movie, with Anderson explaining: “I had to be with the dogs every day. Each one had a different personality, energy, and skill set. One dog did the tugging, another fetched. Not only did I get acquainted with them, I worked to understand their energy and build a believable relationship.”
The fourth entry wraps up Wick’s arc in a satisfying way and offers arguably the most impressive setpieces of the entire John Wick movie franchise. That said, it feels like it offers wiggle room to bring the character back. It’s entirely possible Wick passed out from his many wounds during his last scene, and decided it would be better if the world thought he was dead than risk further reprisals by the High Table or other assassins. For now, audiences can assume John truly is dead – but there’s enough ambiguity that a fifth outing isn’t entirely out of the question.
Shamier Anderson’s Mr. Nobody is a fun new addition to the saga, and spends Chapter 4 chasing after Wick – but without ever trying to kill him. That’s because he’s waiting until Wick’s ever-increasing bounty reaches a certain threshold, and uses his borderline supernatural gift for tracking the assassin down to broker a sweet deal with the Marquis. Anderson’s killer doesn’t ultimately cash in, however, as during the final act Wick saves Mr. Nobody’s loyal dog from certain death. When it comes time to kill Wick, the tracker can’t take the shot and instead sits back to see how the Caine / Wick duel unfolds.
Director Chad Stahelski mines humor from Caine’s reluctance and the over-the-top nature of the carnage, dragging out the violent sequences so long as to wear down resistance. The film again benefits from the quality of actors in the supporting roles, particularly Ian McShane’s world-weary Winston, who as always seems to steal every scene in which he appears.
The problem is that with such a large canvas and so many elaborate action pieces – including an extended fight across the heavily trafficked streets of Paris – Wick can’t help repeating his signature fighting moves over and over and over again (punch, shoot, repeat), until the effect becomes more numbing than thrilling.
The mere fact that the franchise has reached the “Chapter 4” stage underscores the equity associated with the name and Reeves’ affiliation with this sort of muscular vehicle, so heavily tilted toward action that it’s a good thing the star isn’t getting paid by the word.
At one point, Caine prefaces a skirmish with Wick by saying, “Let’s get this s**t over with,” which draws chuckles in the moment.
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