Just when you thought he was out, the world’s favorite expert assassin is coming back for what is poised to be the most epic installment of the Keanu Reeves-led franchise yet – and not just because of its nearly three-hour runtime. JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 4 – which is hitting AMC Theatres on Friday, March 24 – sees the titular assassin seeking to defeat The High Table once and for all, meaning we can expect more ingeniously choreographed action sequences. However, whether or not they can measure up to the battles we have seen before is to be determined.
The JOHN WICK movies consistently find ways to one-up themselves with each new installment, especially when it comes to fight scenes. It is nearly impossible to handpick which of the first three films’ action sequences are the most shockingly brutal and beautifully executed. However, in honor of the latest chapter’s impending release, we gave it a go. The following are our choices.
John’s House (JOHN WICK)
There’s only been one occasion when John was fully defeated by his enemies. That was at the very beginning of JOHN WICK, when he didn’t know he had enemies. But the next time a 12-man team shows up at his house to kill him, John is ready. He skillfully navigates his way around his opponents, taking them all out just in time for local policeman Jimmy (Thomas Sadoski) to show up and make sure the former assassin isn’t being disturbed.
Red Circle Shootout (JOHN WICK)
After embarking on a hunt for Iosef Tarasov (Aflie Allen), the mobster punk who killed his dog, John fights his way through a crowded nightclub to acquire his target. Wick is temporarily unsuccessful, but he does manage to wipe out a considerable number of Tarasov’s foot soldiers in the process, leaving behind a big mess for the nightly cleaning crew to deal with.
Car Rescue (JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 2)
If the climax of the first JOHN WICK was slightly, well, anticlimactic, thanks to the underwhelming skill of Wick’s “final boss” foe, its sequel makes up for that in the very first scene. The antihero destroys a chop shop and every car in it — including his own — in order to retrieve the prized Mustang that set his return to action in motion.
Catacomb Shootout (JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 2)
John runs into a roadblock after trying to return to the quiet, dog-living life he left behind. Ambitious Italian crime lord Santino D’Antonio (Riccardo Scamarcio) calls in a debt John owes, forcing the killer to hunt down D’Antonio’s sister, Gianna (Claudia Gerini). Wick accomplishes the unsavory task, putting him in the crosshairs of Gianna’s bodyguard, Cassian (Common). More immediately, Santino’s own men chase Wick through the catacombs beneath Gianna’s coronation party, with the intention of tying up his “loose end” — permanently.
Cassian Confrontation (JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 2)
Though (spoiler!) he avoids being killed by Santino’s henchmen, John meets his match in Cassian, who he fights and fights and fights and fights until the two of them quite literally crash into the reception area of Rome’s Continental Hotel, a hub for assassins to recover, refuel and stock up in between jobs where — crucially — no “business,” especially killing, can be conducted.
Subway Showdown (JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 2)
After the two are forced to go their separate ways, John gets a $7 million contract placed on his head by Santino in the guise of avenging his sister. Cassian, however, is actually dedicated to that purpose, and the two men soon find themselves in a meandering, brutal battle that winds its way through train stations and fluorescent tunnels before culminating in a tense, painful knife fight on a subway car.
Hall Of Mirrors (JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 2)
Having disabled Cassian (and seemingly shot most of the people in New York), John heads toward Santino, to complete his business. Before he can finish up, however, he’s locked in a shootout with several gunmen in a literal hall of mirrors. It’s impossible to know what’s real and what’s a reflection. Eventually, Wick faces Santino’s bodyguard, the merciless Ares (Ruby Rose), one of the very few people our hero/assassin would call his equal. The pair square off in a bloody confrontation that not only makes up for the previous film’s final fight, but also sets in motion the events of PARABELLUM.
Throwing Knives (JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 3 – PARABELLUM)
John Wick is an artist with a firearm, but in the third installment of his franchise, he showed another side of his extraordinary expertise in weaponry (and no, we are not referring to pencils). Almost after his “excommunicado” status is officially made active, John is besieged by a group of assassins in perhaps the luckiest of places: an antique weapons shop. He takes advantage of the inventory masterfully, launching knives at his adversaries with breakneck speed and pinpoint accuracy, resulting in a magnificent introductory fight.
Escaping Casablanca (JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 3 – PARABELLUM)
With a price like what John Wick has on his head in PARABELLUM, there is no way that he can survive this seismic ordeal on his own, which is why he enlists the help of Sofia Al-Azwar (Halle Berry) – a retired assassin and director of the Continental Hotel’s Casablanca location. After a meeting with Sofia’s former boss, Berrada (Jerome Flynn), ends in bloodshed, she and John must fight their way out of his kasbah, with help from Sofia’s Belgian Malinois shepherds. As much as we dearly miss Daisy and love John’s current pet for his exceptional loyalty, these dogs really know how to fight and it shows in this thoroughly exciting sequence that also shows Academy Award Ⓡ winner in top action-star form again.
John Vs. Zero (JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 3 – PARABELLUM)
PARABELLUM also marked something of a comeback for Mark Decascos – best known at this time as “The Chairman” from “Iron Chef” in addition to a long history of showing his martial arts expertise on screen. His action star status immediately shot up to an all-time high with his performance as Zero, especially after his climactic final conflict with John Wick, who redefines swordplay in a most brutal and jolting fashion here. Their fight in the normally neutral Continental does not end well for Zero, but is undeniably satisfying in its unique, jolting choreography that may outdo every other sequence in this installment.