A few preliminary notes, which we will attack via bullet point because there is no time for paragraphs:
- This is the trailer for the fourth movie in the John Wick franchise
- The summary of this installment, as per Lionsgate, goes something like this: “With the price on his head ever increasing, Wick takes his fight against the High Table global as he seeks out the most powerful players in the underworld, from New York to Paris to Osaka to Berlin”
- It is beyond thrilling to me that a movie franchise that started with Theon Greyjoy from Game of Thrones killing a dog has morphed over the last decade into a worldwide revenge tour against a mysterious organization of assassins that has featured multiple shootouts on horseback and in various discotheques
Below, please join me for a breakdown of this new trailer, which is 149 seconds long and still somehow better than a substantial portion of the full-length movies I’ve seen this year. To be fair, very few of those movies featured Keanu Reeves and Ian McShane having an outdoor rooftop meeting with Bill Skarsgard as a flock of Parisian pigeons flutters away in the background. This is a problem I have had with movies for a while now. I am glad someone finally addressed it.
Grab your black suit and katana. We are diving in.
The action opens in a church with Keanu lighting candles to honor the wife he lost early in the first movie. It’s easy to forget that’s where this all started. He was a legendary assassin who got out of the game to be with his soulmate, she got very sick and gave him a puppy to keep him company when she passed away, Theon and some goons came into his house and stomped the puppy because he was kind of rude to them at a gas station, and now we’re here, hundreds of bodies later, in this church, with Donnie Yen telling John Wick he is going to die.
I wouldn’t change a single thing. Also, I am really nice to people at gas stations now. Not that I was rude before, but still. Can’t be too careful.
Speaking of new cast members in this installment, look at freaking Bill Skarsgard. Look at him. Imagine walking into a meeting with someone and they are just clad in an immaculate creamy white suit with their legs crossed on an immaculate creamy white couch and some sort of goateed goon standing 10 feet away. I would be so excited. And terrified. But mostly excited. The only way it could be better is if he had been introduced with his back to the camera as he stared out the window into a driving rainstorm.
It does look pretty sunny there, though. Maybe the couch was his backup plan. I’m really in no place to question anything going on here as I type this in pajama pants and a fleece pullover with a coffee stain on the sleeve. I would be a terrible villain.
Oh, I forgot to tell you that Bill Skarsgard’s character is named “The Marquis de Gramont,” which is:
- An absolute delight to hear Ian McShane say out loud
- A name you can only get away with if you can pull off that suit
High degree of difficulty here. Proud of everyone involved.
Very few action movies in the history of film have staged action sequences as well as these suckers, and I am pleased to report that this appears to still be the case. Keanu Reeves drifting through the streets of Paris firing a handgun out of a muscle car that appears to have recently had its driver’s side door ripped off. This is cinema to me.
I hope one of those other cars contains a couple from like Iowa who is in Paris for their honeymoon. I might just pretend that’s happening. A little treat for me.
What I like here is that this shot means we now have two consecutive movies where John Wick engages in a shootout/chase where he is on horseback while wearing a full suit, after the thing in the third one where he was galloping through the streets of New York.
I don’t really have anything to add here. I just like it. I hope he rides a zebra in the next one.
Three things I need to note about this shot:
- It dawns on me that my daily schedule does not feature enough rooftop meetings at immaculate desks with powerful underworld figures
- While these appear to be pigeons fluttering away in the background instead of doves, someone involved in this movie needs to write a royalty check to John Woo immediately
- I would like to look as cool as Ian McShane looks in this shot for one single second of my pathetic life
I really respect the commitment this franchise has shown to giving most of the main characters a loyal dog who growls at and/or attacks anyone who opposes its owner. I hope Halle Berry and her dogs show up again at some point. I kind of hope one of the dogs just starts taking in one of these, if not out loud for the people in the movie to hear, then at least in an internal monologue voiceover for the audience. Let Tracy Morgan do the voice. This is not a good idea by any reasonable set of criteria but I stand by it.
This screencap alone got me so excited for this movie that a little kind of guttural squeak slipped out of my mouth before I realized what was happening. I’m glad no one else was in the room. It sounded like I got punched in the stomach but was happy about it? I don’t know. I’m not proud of it but here we are.
The main things I’ve learned from these movies, in no real order:
- Do not mess with anyone’s dog
- Any ballerina you meet could also be an assassin
- Most assassins love to go to neon techno discos to blow off steam
Which has been useful. Probably. At the very least, I have yet to be murdered at a discotheque by a ballerina whose dog I killed. Which is something. You can’t argue with results.
WHIPPING SOME DUDE IN THE HEAD WITH SOME NUNCHUCKS
These movies don’t get enough credit for being really funny in little surprise spurts. The “I get it” John gives Sofia after she freaks out because someone shot her dog. The thing where the dude who spent half the third movie trying to kill him was revealed to be a massive fanboy. And now… this. I full-on giggled. Out loud. About 40 seconds after I did that weird gruntsqueal. If anyone has my living room bugged, they are going to think I lost my entire mind earlier today.
Everything is fine.
A few more notes:
- I am vibrating with excitement at the idea of Keanu Reeves and Donnie Yen having a damn swordfight to the death to see if John Wick gets to extricate himself from the High Table a second time
- I don’t know if this scene can possibly look as cool as the scene in the third movie where he fought some dudes in a glass room lined with skulls inside a New York skyscraper but it sure looks like it’s trying
- I have no clue how I can be expected to wait FOUR MONTHS for this movie to hit theaters in March
… more movies should feature scenes in their trailer where the subtitle simply reads “[swords clattering]” like this. That’s how you know the movie will be good. Which this one appears to be.
We are zeroing in on the end of this franchise. That much is becoming clear. Let’s appreciate this while it’s still around. Never take Keanu for granted. Especially when he is on a horse or has a sword. Or both. It’s way too soon to rule that one out.