“John Wick: Chapter 4” (Lionsgate)
By OSV News
Close to three hour-long festival of fatality in which the hitman of the title (Keanu Reeves) continues his struggle to break free of the ultra-powerful behind-the-scenes criminal empire that once claimed his allegiance. Testing his mettle this time out are a foppish French nobleman (Bill Skarsgård), a nameless bounty hunter (Shamier Anderson) and innumerable doomed extras. He gets unstinting aid from an old ally (Hiroyuki Sanada) but other former friends (Donnie Yen and Ian McShane) find their loyalties conflicted.
In adding to a series that got its start in 2014, franchise director Chad Stahelski helms a visually interesting but morally befuddled thriller whose deliberately over-the-top mayhem makes a visceral appeal to viewers while simultaneously winking at them. The film’s incidental treatment of religion is also unpleasantly ambiguous and sometimes barely skirts sacrilege.
Excessive nasty violence with much gore, brief irreverent humor, at least one mild oath, several rough terms, considerable crude language. The OSV News classification is O — morally offensive. The Motion Picture Association rating is R — restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.