This is where the original premise has run its course and the story can start to get a bit ridiculous. Remember Superman taking on Nuclear Man, Jaws developing human emotions, and Indiana Jones digging up aliens? Thankfully, this is a part four that wears its absurdity as a badge of honour.
“Let’s get this s*** over with,” sighs Donnie Yen’s assassin as the body count approaches four figures.
While the 169-minute running time is patently preposterous, the plot is mercifully simple. Keanu Reeves’ indestructible hitman still has a price on his head.
To remove it, he embarks on a globe-hopping hunt for Bill Skarsgard’s crime boss while battling rival killers in tourist hotspots.
By the time we get to the sunrise showdown, Reeves has turned into Buster Keaton. After fighting scores of goons up the 222 steps leading to Paris’s Sacré-Coeur, we watch him slowly tumble to the bottom.
If you’ve had enough of Reeves’ “gun-fu” skills, this is the moment where the self-aware Chapter Four will really get on your wick.
I found the film a tad over-long but gobsmackingly spectacular. Highlights include a balletic fight sequence in Osaka featuring the great Hiroyuki Sanada, a deliriously ludicrous battle in a Berlin nightclub with Scott Adkins, and a violent take on arcade game Frogger at the Arc de Triomphe roundabout.
Director Chad Stahelski’s original idea has lost none of its power. Instead of covering up a Hollywood star’s limited fighting skills with shaky cameras and quick edits, he uses wide shots and long takes, letting the audience revel in the balletic grace of the world’s greatest martial arts stars.
Keanu is definitely at that level and the fourth instalment features some of Wick’s most thrilling encounters.