John Wick: Chapter 4: Release date, cast, plot as rave first reactions land
John Wick is back and he's still mad as hell
This spring Keanu Reeves will return 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 in 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.
Here’s what we know about John Wick: Chapter 4 so far…
John Wick: Chapter 4 release date
John Wick: Chapter 4 is scheduled to hit cinemas worldwide on the 24 March, 2023. 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 first reactions
The film world has seen John Wick 4 at preview screenings ahead of its cinema release and many critics and journalists have been sharing their opinions about it online.
Although 'first reactions' are not official reviews (those will come closer to release) — and should always be taken with a pinch of free salted popcorn — the response to the fourquel has been encouragingly positive so far.
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 agree the film earns it. Fandom's Eric Goldman calls it "notably long", but adds 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."
John Wick: Chapter 4 plot
John Wick: Chapter 4 will follow Reeves’ brooding hitman continue 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 Lance Reddick — who played stoic Continental concierge Charon — will 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 is 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
At a runtime of around 150 minutes, John Wick: Chapter 4 is set to be the longest instalment in the series. And while it’s highly unlikely that Wick will get the happy ending he craves after such an enormous body count, expect an imminent Chapter 5 to finally close out a hellacious saga that’s delighted us all for the past nine years.
John Wick: Chapter 4 will arrive in cinemas on 24 March, 2023