John Wick: Chapter 4 - Keanu Reeves film lands franchise's best reviews
John Wick is back - and Keanu Reeves' ex-hitman seems to be improving with age, with his return for a fourth instalment earning the action thriller franchise its best reviews so far.
Rotten Tomatoes, which awards scores based on critics' views, awarded John Wick: Chapter 4 a very positive 94%.
The second and third films both scored 89%, while 2014's original got 86%.
The Hollywood Reporter said Chapter 4 "outdoes its formidable predecessors in nearly every respect".
The film, which comes out on Friday, sees Wick being pursued by global criminal organisation the High Table.
It was called "an all-action blockbuster that really gives its all" by NME's Jesse Hassenger, while the Evening Standard's Charlotte O'Sullivan called it "preposterously enjoyable".
"JW4 is going to be huge and, for me, it's easily the most satisfying entry of the lot," she added.
Rolling Stone's David Fear said no-one could have predicted in 2014 that Wick would "revolutionize American action movies", calling the film series "deliriously pleasurable".
It has "established itself as the most reliable film franchise this side of Mission: Impossible", he added.
The Hollywood Reporter's Frank Scheck called the new chapter "pure, over-the-top action spectacle", adding: "Bigger, badder, bolder, longer, and featuring nearly more spectacular set pieces than one movie can comfortably handle, this epic action film practically redefines the stakes.
"Reeves commits so thoroughly to the role's insane physical demands that he should get an award, if not for acting, then merely surviving."
'Cool and kind'
The actor was also praised by the Los Angeles Times' Justin Chang, who said: "Reeves somehow barrels through the picture with equal parts rampaging force and Zen-like cool.
"Never one to upstage his fellow actors, he succeeds, as few movie stars could, at both drawing and deflecting the camera's attention."
Reeves, who has previous starred in hits like the Matrix films, Point Break and Speed, recently told ABC News it was "cool" and "kind" for some people to be describing the latest film as one of the greatest action movies of all time.
However, the film's release comes just days after the death of co-star Lance Reddick, who played hotel manager Charon in the franchise.
Reeves told Deadline on the red carpet at the film's US premiere on Monday: "Lance was a beautiful person, [a] special artist, a man of grace and dignity, and such a passion for his craft.
"And to have the chance to work with him over 10 years and four films is something that is very special to me and it sucks he's not here."
In his review, USA Today's Brian Truitt wrote: "The late Lance Reddick, who made everything he was in better, provides wise words yet again as Winston's right-hand concierge Charon."
Despite the film's excellent Rotten Tomatoes rating, not all critics liked it.
The Guardian's Charles Bramesco called it an "overlong and overstuffed action sequel."
"In the side-quest-clogged narrative as in the virtuosic fight sequences that far overstay their welcome, a viewer starts to feel the difference between maximalism and merely having a lot of stuff, somewhere around the third hour and mostly in our glutes."
Empire's Alex Godfrey said it was "relentlessly violent", adding: "It's all a bit much. Yes, it's a love letter to action cinema, but so much so that action cinema might want to take out a restraining order."
But he did add: "Reeves basically operates with one register (mythologically gruff). But then again, that's what this series is, and even with that narrow remit, Reeves is ceaselessly charismatic."
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