Keanu Reeves’ iconic assassin’s latest adventure now mesmerizes on the ultra-high definition disc format in the exhausting action-thriller John Wick: Chapter 4 (Lionsgate Home Entertainment, rated R, 2.39:1 aspect ratio, 169 minutes, $42.99).
The famed killing machine’s tale picks up with him continuing to take revenge on the High Table, the leading council of the criminal underground.
After Wick kills another of its elders, the powerful Marquis (Bill Skarsgård) takes revenge by destroying the New York Continental hotel, a sanctioned boutique hideout for assassins, and revoke all protection and privileges (excommunicado) of Wick’s friend, its manager Winston Scott (Ian McShane).
Wick continues on a rampage, refusing to stop the carnage and must navigate a gantlet of those contracted to kill him to ultimately duel Marquis to get his life back.
The violent encounters continue to be a dazzling hallmark of the franchise.
Specifically, this time out, a finely choreographed murderous ballet of head shots, knifings, body slams, hatchets to the skull, arrows pinning body appendages mixed with close-quarters combat and lethal bone-breaking action.
Sequences that will cause head shaking and fingernail biting include a frenzied martial arts weapon-themed fight culminating with Wick demonstrating his prowess with nunchucks, a round of human body pingpong using vehicles, and a video game-style gunbattle shot in an over-the-top perspective filled with exploding shotgun bullets.
The cast and crew greatly help an often beaten and bruised Mr. Reeves carry the spectacle. Worth noting are the exhilarating combat prowess of Donnie Yen playing the blind assassin Caine, Wick stunt double Vincent Bouillon fighting on an endless staircase and assassin Mr. Nobody’s unnamed Belgian Malinois who often steals scenes.
Suffice it to report, the dynamic duo of director Chad Stahelski and Mr. Reeves have delivered yet another extreme masterpiece.
4K in action: Within a whopping almost three hours of mind-numbing action and excessive violence, the movie’s presentation in the UHD format and high dynamic range enhancements never disappoints.
Viewers will first appreciate the panoramic moments that capture the New York City skyline, an open Moroccan desert valley with riders in pursuit on horseback, a Paris sunrise behind the Eiffel Tower, the neon-lit streets of Osaka, and Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate.
Sprawling interiors to admire include a corridor of the Louvre Museum, the Great Stables at the Palace of Versailles, the Palais Garnier’s grand salon and Berlin’s Kraftwerk Club complete with waterfalls.
Cinematographer Dan Laustsen and Mr. Stahelski relish the violence with intricate blood-splatter effects throughout, worthy to examine in any shot of the pistol shots spraying on walls, white tunics, relics and about any surface.
Random moments to also appreciate include Wick in the shadow of the neon-red lit building beside cherry trees, an outdoor mausoleum reflecting its marble floor all surrounded by snow or a dizzying vehicle chase around Paris’ Arc de Triomphe.
Best extras: The 4K disc includes all of the digital goodies led by 11 featurettes offering more than 60 minutes on the production and the franchise.
The best of the segments cover Mr. Reeves’ intense training including a breakdown of his using nunchucks, the increasing scale and complexity of the firefight locations, the relationship of the assassins, Mr. Yen’s Caine character, the frenzied car sequence and the director’s influences in crafting the Wick world.