John Wick: Chapter 4: Everything you need to know as Keanu Reeves' assassin returns
John Wick is back and he's still mad as hell
Keanu Reeves returns to cinemas on this week as deadly assassin John Wick in John Wick: Chapter 4, the latest instalment in his hyper-violent action franchise.
Nine years ago, cinema-goers were enthralled by a stylish neo-noir that called back to John Woo and Hong Kong’s golden age of high-octane cinema. Despite a simple premise centred around a roaring rampage of revenge, 2014’s John Wick was hailed as a badly-needed shot of adrenaline for the action genre and kickstarted the career renaissance for one of Hollywood’s most beloved actors, Keanu Reeves.
Read more: Who would win in a fight between John Wick and Neo?
The massive success of John Wick opened up a gun-fu franchise not many saw coming, with two more sequels — John Wick: Chapter 2 and John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum — introducing us to a shadowy cabal of assassins hell-bent on hunting Wick down. Only a few days after Parabellum hit theatres worldwide, Lionsgate broke the exciting news that another sequel was in development.
Need to get up to speed beforehand? Here's everything we know about John Wick: Chapter 4…
John Wick: Chapter 4 release date
John Wick: Chapter 4 is scheduled to hit cinemas worldwide on Friday, 24 March. Wick’s fourth outing was initially set for a May 2021 release, but the COVID pandemic and Reeves’ commitments with another project — The Matrix Resurrections — pushed the premiere date back a year.
However, the planned Memorial Day weekend release for 2022, which would’ve pitted the highly anticipated film against Top Gun: Maverick, was nixed in favour of a 2023 release.
John Wick 4 Reviews
Reviews have started to pour in for John Wick's latest outing and the overall consensus is positive, with many praising the film's lush and gratuitous fight sequences and defending its nearly three-hour run time.
Movie review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes currently rates the film with a solid 95% critics score, a whole 6% up from Wick's last bullet-spewing adventure.
Looking for a bit more review detail? Here's what the industry has been saying so far...
Entertainment Weekly: John Wick: Chapter 4 review: Something Wick-ed this way comes (again) (5 min read)
Variety: ‘John Wick: Chapter 4’ Review: Keanu Reeves in a Three-Hour Action Epic That’s Like a Spaghetti Western Meets John Woo in Times Square (6 min read)
Total Film: John Wick Chapter 4 review: "Burns oh-so-brightly" (2 min read)
Cinema Blend: John Wick: Chapter 4 Review: Keanu Reeves’ Action Epic Earns Every Second Of Its Nearly Three Hour Runtime (5 min read)
Indiewire: ‘John Wick: Chapter 4’ Review: The Best Action Blockbuster Since ‘Fury Road’ (5 min read)
John Wick 4 first reactions
Before official reviews for John Wick: Chapter 4 became available, the film was previewed to a handful of press outlets which teased their tantalizingly brief first reactions across social media.
The Wrap's Scott Mendelsohn boldly proclaimed John Wick 4 to be "one of the greatest Hollywood action movies ever made" calling it "a towering artistic achievement".
AwardsAce critic Erick Weber agreed calling it "one of the greatest action movies ever made."
Film critic Courtney Howard called it "the wildest time you’ll have at the movies this year. A pure adrenaline rush."
While many responses note the film's lengthy three-hour runtime, most agreed that the film earns it.
Fandom's Eric Goldman calls it "notably long", but added that it is "filled with fantastic John Wick action sequences that truly transcend into that place where it feels like you are watching a masterful, carnage-filled ballet in all the right ways."
Is John Wick: Chapter 4 dedicated to Lance Reddick?
In mid-March, we received the tragic news that series star and The Wire actor Lance Reddick had sadly passed away suddenly at just 60 years of age.
Reddick joined the Wick franchise in its first outing in 2014 playing Charon, the concierge for a chain of hotels known as the Continental which act as neutral ground for members of the crime world.
His appearance in John Wick: Chapter 4 marks his final on-screen appearance.
Shortly after this tragic news broke, Reeves and Stahelshi confirmed that Wick’s new adventure would be dedicated to Reddick’s memory. In a joint statement delivered to Variety, they said:
“We are deeply saddened and heartbroken at the loss of our beloved friend and colleague Lance Reddick. He was the consummate professional and a joy to work with. Our love and prayers are with his wife Stephanie, his children, family and friends. We dedicate the film to his loving memory. We will miss him dearly.”
Meanwhile, members of the film's cast shared their continued grief surrounding Reddick's untimely passing.
“We’re all still in shock," explained Fishburne. “We lost our brother, and in a really sort of very shocking way... Life is... hard sometimes.”
Reeves said that it "f***ing sucks he’s not here," adding: “Lance was a beautiful person. And to have the chance to work with him over 10 years and four films is something that is very special to me.”
John Wick: Chapter 4 plot
John Wick: Chapter 4 will follow Reeves’ brooding hitman continuing his quest for vengeance against the High Table — a worldwide council of crime lords who had placed a large bounty on the titular character’s head.
However, the beleaguered Wick must confront a new adversary and the dawning realisation that old friends may become deadly foes.
Is there a trailer for John Wick: Chapter 4?
Set to a haunting remix of Terry Flowers’ “Seasons in the Sun”, the trailer for John Wick: Chapter 4 was unveiled to huge fanfare in November 2022, and promises more of the same jaw-dropping set-pieces and savage ultra-violence that we’ve come to expect and appreciate from the franchise.
Watch it above.
John Wick: Chapter 4 cast
When we last saw Keanu Reeves as Wick, he was seemingly double-crossed by old accomplice Winston (Deadwood’s Ian McShane), who unloaded three shots that felled the beleaguered gunman off a roof.
Wick would ultimately survive and subsequently form an alliance with the Bowery King (The Matrix’s Laurence Fishburne), who is also intent on taking down the High Table.
McShane, Fishburne, and the late Lance Reddick — who played stoic Continental concierge Charon — all return, and are joined by a who’s who of action stars in Ip Man’s Donnie Yen, Hiroyuki Sanada of Mortal Kombat fame, and renowned martial artist Scott Adkins (Undisputed II).
Rogue One star Donnie Yen recently revealed that he had input into the film after giving feedback to the filmmakers about the cliched way his character — Caine — had been written.
“The name was Shang or Chang,” Yen told GQ. “Why does he always have to be called Shang or Chang? Why can’t he have a normal name? Why do you have to be so generic?”
“Why is everything so generic? This is a John Wick movie. Everybody’s supposed to be cool and fashionable. Why can’t he look cool and fashionable?”
IT’s Bill Skarsgård joins the cast as “The Marquis”, a member of the High Table forced to clean up the carnage of the previous three films, and electro-pop sensation Rina Sawayama also joins the fray in her acting debut.
John Wick: Chapter 4 filmmakers
After helming the previous three films, Chad Stahelski returns to direct the fourth chapter, reuniting with Parabellum screenwriter Shay Hatten and working with another in Predators’ Michael Finch.
Given the all-encompassing influence the High Court holds on a global scale, expect to see Wick do battle in a myriad of locations ranging from Berlin and Osaka to Paris and southern Jordan.
In an interview with Empire, Stahelski further amped up fans’ expectations for Chapter 4, summing it up as “if you took The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, crossed it with Zatoichi, and threw in a Greek myth.”
Future plans for the John Wick-iverse
In addition to Chapter 4, the Wick Cinematic Universe is set for further expansion and exploration as Lionsgate confirmed that a spin-off is currently being worked on.
Ballerina, which began filming in Prague in November 2022, stars Blonde’s Ana de Armas as a ballet dancer seeking retribution following her family’s murder. Anjelica Huston (The Addams Family), who portrayed the head of the Ruska Roma crime family in Parabellum, will reprise her role alongside McShane, Reddick, and Reeves.
Furthermore, there will be a prequel TV series which focuses on the origins of the hotel that served as a haven for hitmen. Set in the ‘70s, The Continental will follow a younger Winston — played by Ambulance’s Colin Woodell — and will stream on Amazon Prime sometime in 2023.
John Wick: Chapter 4 run time
Earlier this year, it was confirmed that John Wick: Chapter 4 had a run-time of a whopping 169 minutes, making it the longest Wick outing so far by a long stretch.
While many were left wondering how Wick could manage to dish out enough punches to fill almost three hours without getting tired, the film’s director was quick to defend this creative choice.
"I don't think we've ever concerned ourselves, we just watch the movie. I think it's the length that we feel is the best version of the movie,” Stahelski told Digital Spy. “We've tried longer, we've tried much shorter. That's what we feel is a good movie.”
Clearly, he was quick to dismiss any worrying thoughts about the length of Wick’s newest punch-a-thon, joking: "If that's the critique, we'll take it!”
John Wick: Chapter 4 will arrive in cinemas on 24 March, 2023, with previews in selected cinemas from 23, March 2023.