John Wick 4 - Art is in the style

John Wick 4 is exactly the stylised and coerographed action movie promised by its predecessors, nothing less but nothing more either, which leaves a slight disappointment.

It is no coincidence that it is very strongly hinted that the final film of the saga is the fourth: aside from the hint dropped through the use of Vivaldi's four seasons in 2 and Parabellum, it is rather common for asian martial arts sagas to conclude at their fourth film. A notable recent example is Wilson Yip's Ip Man saga (which made Donnie Yen worldwide famous). In a similar tendency, the fourth doesn't reinvent anything, but reaffirms what has come before: this is why, essentially, John Wick 4 brings no new storyline concepts to the table; John does not destroy the system of the organised criminal underworld, as had the ending of Parabellum suggested, the rules system remains, the invisible set of leaders stay in the shadow. There's something of Sisyphus in the ending of John Wick, a character who goes through incredible hardships only to return where he started, but looking for a deeper meaning will undeniably ruin the viewing experience. The lack of depth however, does not justify entirely the length. As beautiful as are the action scenes, they sometimes end up tediously overstretched and lenghty for no other reason than display of talents.

The John Wick saga is most definitely not to be remembered for an incredibly clever storyline or a tight screenplay: it is an action movie that has built extensively on its style to become a more elevated film. Doubtless, John Wick 4 has some of the best action sequences ever seen in western cinema, some of the most interesting showdowns between actors known for their martial arts - Donnie Yen, Keanu Reeves and so on - and has manged to slip into its thread a number of elevated cinematic references in a way very few films of the genre ever managed. The fourth chapter excels at what the John Wick saga has been doing. The beautifully neon-lit-sequences have no pairs to what we have seen in the first two films, and compete heavily with Parabellum.

The John Wick saga's legacy is ultimately in the form and not in the content, in elevating the action cinema to an artistic form.


Popular Posts