The Greatest Modern Action Franchise Tops Itself [SXSW 2023]

The Greatest Modern Action Franchise Tops Itself [SXSW 2023]

And everyone wants to kill themselves in “John Wick: Chapter 4,” a movie whose three-act structure is built around three massive action scenes that change scope, enemies, weapons, and environments so quickly that boredom sets in. seems like an impossibility. As you’d expect, it’s a lot of fun watching Keanu Reeves share the screen with Hong Kong action superstar Donnie Yen, and their scenes (whether they’re arguing with each other or just talking) are a highlight of The movie. An equally pleasant surprise is Shamier Anderson, playing a new character who is destined to become a fan favorite (and the faithful dog who almost walks away with the movie).

And while some returning characters don’t do as much as you’d expect (Lance Reddick and Laurence Fishburne only pop in to say hello, and Ian McShane’s Winston is mostly on the sidelines), the film leans toward Reeves and the new come with pleasure. , throwing them into action sequences destined to make stunt coordinators the world over lose sleep as they wonder “How did they pull that off?”

The final hour of the film is essentially one big action scene, and one that’s staged with such skillful bravura and visual humor that it exposes much of American action direction as lazy hypocrisy. Stahelski, a former stunt performer and coordinator himself, knows how important it is to showcase these talented people and make sure the audience can appreciate and follow their every move. That “every action” also involves staging choices that seem unfair to every other action movie you’ll see this year strongly suggests that he’s Hollywood’s best director of gunfights, combat fist fights, sword duels, and car chases that work in the moment.