Stirling Observer

Wrestling with Carrell’s dark turn


There aren’t many franchises that have maintained their quality across the board like John Wick.

Like the similarly flavoured Tom Cruise-led Mission: Impossible, Keanu Reeves’ titular destructiv­e assassin gets better with age, and for his fourth outing he uncovers a typically dangerous path to earning his freedom from the High Table.

If you are on board with the Wick world then Chapter 4 doesn’t disappoint. Everything that made the first three flicks so special is back – and better and badder than before.

No-one has played to Reeves’ strengths more effectivel­y than franchise helmer Chad Stahelski and the pair’s collaborat­ive approach to building the Wick universe pays off with callbacks to earlier movies and an upping of the stakes as everyone John comes into contact with faces potential death.

It goes without saying that the action is tremendous, and Stahelski lends many of the set pieces a real air of class: a maze-like sweeping aerial building face-off; a water-covered nightclub that matches Blade’s impossibly cool opening; neon-lit, sword-heavy confrontat­ions in Japan; and an ascent so challengin­g it makes The Exorcist staircase look like a walk in the park.

Like the movie itself, some of the sequences go on a bit too long. A tighter, half-hour less, edit could have made Chapter 4 the best Wick flick yet.

A fittingly dramatic farewell is given to the late Lance Reddick (Charon) and Ian Mcshane (Winston), and Laurence Fishburne’s (Bowery King) relationsh­ip with Reeves continues to be a delight.

Bill Skarsgård (Marquis) is an arrogant, conniving b ****** that you’re desperate to see get his comeuppanc­e, while Donnie Yen (Caine) makes for a perfect addition to the Wick universe and I’m always happy to see Highlander’s Clancy Brown (Harbinger).

The film heads in unexpected directions and by the end you’re left wondering if this really is the end of the road for John.

However, with another impressive box office and so much gas still in the tank, surely the suit still fits for Reeves?

●What are your thoughts on the John Wick franchise? Do you have a favourite in the series? Email ian.bunting@reachplc. com with your comments – and any movie or TV show recommenda­tions you have for your fellow readers.

Biopic master Bennett Miller (Capote, Moneyball) opts for an understate­d style as he brings the true story of the rivalry between wrestling brothers Mark (Channing Tatum) and David Schultz (Mark Ruffalo) to life.

Steve Carell undergoes a remarkable transforma­tion to play eccentric, Norman Bates-like millionair­e John du Pont, who comes between the siblings.

A little slow but attention-grabbing from the off, Foxcatcher is more psychologi­cal drama than sports movie – it gets under the skin by shining the spotlight on some of the very worst parts of humanity.

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