I’m thinking he’s back. (CREDIT: Murray Close)

Starring: Keanu Reeves, Donnie Yen, Bill Skarsgård, Ian McShane, Laurence Fishburne, Hiroyuki Sanada, Shamier Anderson, Lance Reddick, Rina Sawayama, Scott Adkins

Director: Chad Stahelski

Running Time: 169 Minutes

Rating: R for The Usual Hail of Bullets and Blades

Release Date: March 24, 2023

What’s It About?: John Wick is finally getting out of the game, somehow someway. Keanu Reeves’ superhuman assassin has had everything he loves ripped away, and now he’s excommunicated from his deadly vocation and thereby marked for the grave. Although, if memory serves correctly, I’m pretty sure this latest excommunication is just adding to a pile of excommunications. I guess we’ve reached Double Secret Probation Excommunication at this point. Anyway, for this go-round, John is completely in go-for-broke mode. He’s going to escape the clutches of the High Table, the ruling council that controls everything, or die trying. Meanwhile, Bill Skarsgård is on hand as the Marquis Vincent de Gramont, the dandiest of dastardly villains who likes to keep all his pretty pawns in place. Will John’s friends help him out, or will they too be forced to kill him? Either way, the bullets (and all the other cleverly improvised killing devices) will be flying.

What Made an Impression?: The John Wick series has a legion of fans thanks to its boundless swagger and pizazz. But it’s never quite won me over, due in no small part to its overwhelming acoustics. Furthermore, as the mythology expanded with each successive entry, I found myself caring less and less about the codes and rituals of this assassin culture. In the wake of Chapter 4, I wouldn’t say I’m a convert, but I can at least appreciate it as an achievement of singular craftsmanship and vision.

The running time is nearly three hours, which represents a gradual ballooning over the course of the franchise, as the first one clocked in at a mere 1 hour and 40 minutes. But it never feels bloated; quite the opposite, in fact. There’s a lot to accomplish and plenty of globe-hopping, but the mission is lean and focused. And the minutiae of the mythology is toned way down, so if you missed the first three, or forgot all the details, you can dive right in and still get the gist. And for those of you hardcore Wick-ians, there’s plenty new to love here, especially Donnie Yen as a blind assassin with unparalleled acrobatic lethality. It’s a colorful world of killers out there, and they’re all digging into the delectable feast.

John Wick: Chapter 4 is Recommended If You Like: This clip from a Japanese game show

Grade: 3.5 out of 5 Bounties