(director: Chad Stahelski; screenwriters: Shay Hatten/Michael Finch; cinematographer: Dan Lausten; editor: Nathan Orloff; music: Tyler Bates/Joel J. Richard; cast: Keanu Reeves (John Wick), Laurence Fishburne (Bowery King), George Georgiou (The Elder), Lance Reddick (Charon), Clancy Brown (Harbinger), Donnie Yen (Caine), Bill Skarsgard (Marquis), Hiroyuki Sanada (Schimazu), Shamier Anderson (Tracker), Rina Sawayama (Akira), Scott Adkins (Killa), Ian McShane (Winston), Marko Zaror (Chidi), Natalia Tena (Katia); Runtime: 169; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Basil Iwanyk/Erica Lee/Chad Stahelski; Lionsgate; 2023)

“This pulp one was more entertaining than the others in the series.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

The John Wick franchise director of all its films is the unfazed filmmaker Chad Stahelski (“John Wick”/”John Wick: Chapter 2”), who helps arguably make the over-the-top Chapter 4 film the best in the bloody hitman’s series. It has some top-notch stunt work and action choreography, but at an overlong 169 minutes it could have used some trimming. Like the other flicks, it still emphasizes spectacle over substance.

In this episode, John Wick (Keanu Reeves) goes from hunted to hunter. At its start, Wick proclaims “I’m going to kill them all,”

The resilient hitman must deal with a large bounty placed on him by
the sadistic Marquis (Bill Skarsgard) on behalf of the criminal global collective, which is known as the High Table and is a Wick’s foe.

In Paris, a blind hitman and former Wick associate (Donnie Yen), and a rogue bounty hunter (Shamier Anderson) with a canine sidekick, are after Wick on orders from the crime collective. Also under attack are Wick’s allies such as the manager (Ian McShane) and concierge (Lance Reddick) at the safe-haven Continental Hotel, and the elusive Bowery King (Laurence Fishburne), who runs an underground intelligence network.

By now Reeves is much into his role and welcomes its physicality, sparse dialogue and limits in scope.

It’s not exactly my type of thriller-too bloody and pointless, but this pulp one was more entertaining than the others in the series. It’s further energized by a pulsating electric-rock score.