Baba Yaga is back! This franchise starring Keanu Reeves started in 2014 with John Wick. The premise was lean. John (Reeves) had lost his wife Helen (Moynahan) to cancer, and he was struggling to keep going. We then see a delivery arrive at his home. In preparing to pass away, Helen (Moynahan) had a dog sent to John. He needed something to care for. John’s home was broken into, and his dog was killed. Baba Yaga (one of his many nicknames) was now thrust back into his former life. He was an assassin and a VERY good one. We then were given two more films (Chapter 2 and Chapter 3) of these franchises. The plots got thicker, and Wick continue to take on the underbelly of the “High Table.” I don’t want to say this lightly, but these films are some of the best action films I’ve ever seen. Some of the set pieces are literally jaw-dropping. The expectations for Chapter 4 were incredibly high for me. Would they live up to the hype and standards set in previous entries? It’s Keanu Reeves! Neo from The Matrix and countless other classics. The cast is there, but as sequels usually go, would this falter?
Onto the film.
We open in New York City (I will attempt to keep spoilers to a minimum as this film opens immediately after the last.) We met John Wick (Reeves) training. He isn’t finished taking on the enemies that came back into his life in part 1. The number of assassins against him is now worldwide. His friends are few and far between. One of which is “The Bowery King” (Fishburne) Who you will remember from The Matrix with Keanu. Such a great duo always. Wick (Reeves) is planning his next move and surprise surprise another bounty is put on his head. It’s now at 20 MILLION! As Mr. Nobody (Anderson) says in the film. He’s one bullet away from being a very rich man. Life changing money.
Baba Yaga kills an important person (I won’t name who) and this leads a senior member Marquis Vincent de Gramont (Skarsgård) to send EVERYONE to take him out.
I won’t give more of the plot away, but I will say this plays out like an epic story. This was genre blended not like anything I had seen before. It felt we were in a samurai film (in Osaka) in a Western at times. The supporting cast lead by Donnie Yen as Caine (a blind assassin) was a welcome edition. The story weaves in and out of different genres and the action is nonstop. I’ve watched this movie twice already and there sequence that feels like a full 30 minutes that’s one big fight. John Wick gets put through the absolute ringer. There is another segment that is filmed overtop of the action, akin to a dropdown camera and its another technique I’ve not seen used regularly, but it was VERY WELL DONE!
I haven’t been this impressed with a film in a long time. See this film. Even if you haven’t watched the first three chapters, this does a nice job of catching the audience up immediately. The score of this film feels like its own character as well, there’s a segment where a DJ plays music to lead the assassins. VERY INTERESTING. If Indiana Jones wasn’t coming out in a few months, I would risk saying this may end up being the best film of the year. The action shots alone are worth a movie ticket. Keanu Reeves is always worth a movie ticket. Summer blockbusters are starting early and as I said earlier BABA YAGA IS BACK! 5 Stars out of 5. Well done to the cast and crew and especially the cinematographers