First official reviews land for John Wick: Chapter 4, the longest runtime in franchise
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The first official reviews have landed for John Wick: Chapter 4, which was won itself a pretty impressive Rotten Tomatoes score ahead of its theatrical release later this month.
The film is the fourth instalment of the hugely popular John Wick franchise, which stars Keanu Reeves as our titular anti-hero, a tortured former hitman who was raised as an assassin by the Tarasov Russian Mafia after being orphaned as a child.
The new flick – which also stars the likes of Donnie Yen, Laurence Fishburne, Rina Sawayama, Bill Skarsgård and Hiroyuki Sanada - will follow Wick as he takes on a new villain, with a synopsis saying: "John Wick uncovers a path to defeating the High Table, but before he can earn his freedom, Wick must face off against a new enemy with powerful alliances across the globe and forces that turn old friends into new foes."
Reeves forewarned us that the film was one of the hardest films he's ever had to make - a feat that seems to have been translated to screen, as it will also be the longest in the John Wick series at two hours and 49 minutes.
But it seems like all that work has paid off, based on what the critics have to say.
The film has racked up an 87 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes, with the majority of reviewers singing its praises – yes, even with that lengthy run time.
Lena Wilson from The Wrap said the franchise is ‘back and better than ever’, saying: “The wild world of assassins is more esoteric, the cinematography and choreography more stunning.
“Though the film stretches to an audacious 169 minutes - just under three hours - if you surrender yourself to the gorgeous silliness of the Wickiverse, it goes by in a fist-flying flash.”
CinemaBlend’s Eric Eisenberg agrees, writing in his review: “Two hours and 49 minutes may sound like an exhausting amount of John Wick, but John Wick: Chapter 4 earns every second of its epic runtime, and there’s a strong argument to be made that it’s the best of the sequels.”
Leah Greenblatt of Entertainment Weekly, meanwhile, admits the drawn-out movie is by far the ‘most relentless’ John Wick film to date, but adds: “It is also patently ridiculous and mostly very fun: the platonic ideal of a globe-hopping meatbag action thriller taken to its gloriously illogical extreme.”
Variety reviewer Owen Gleiberman also feels the film is arguably 'too long', but says it is conceived as a 'knowingly overstuffed gift' to John Wick fans.
"On that level it succeeds," Gleiberman says. "The marquis keeps trying to assassinate Wick before the morning of the duel, and this results in several delectable fight sequences.
"One is set in the middle of the speeding centrifugal traffic that surrounds the Arc de Triomphe, one is shot thrillingly from an overhead doll’s-house view, and then there’s the spectacular climax, which unfolds on the Rue Foyatier in Montmartre, the 222-step stairway that leads to the Basilica.
"With Wick spinning into action (and, at one point, rolling down the entire flight), it becomes an exhilarating stairway to hell, one that winds up delivering John Wick to the gratifying karmic destination he has spent this series earning."
John Wick: Chapter 4 is released in cinemas on 23 March.