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John Wick: Chapter 4 Already Has One Of The Year's Best Comedy Scenes

In the coming days, as "John Wick: Chapter 4" continues to receive its very well-deserved flowers, the focus is bound to wind up on the action of it all. Yes, director Chad Stahelski has once again delivered a nearly disorienting amount of fight scenes that lack any meaningful competition from most recent action films — that much should go without saying at this point. When it comes to killing, the Boogeyman is still in a league of his own.

But just for a moment, we need to put all of that gleeful violence aside — well, almost all of it, anyway. We even need to briefly discard Donnie Yen's unmatched performance as Caine, as well as Rina Sawayama's impressive feature film debut. And yes, we're going to need to also ignore Bill Skarsgård's Oscar-worthy wardrobe.

What really deserves special attention here is not action, character, style, or any of the many aspects of cinema that the "John Wick" franchise has always nailed, but its willingness to fully embrace something it only flirted with in the past. Because as much as "John Wick: Chapter 4" is the franchise at its most violent, heartfelt, and reflective, it's also the franchise at its funniest.

John Wick has always had a weird sense of humor

To put it very simply, the theory behind "John Wick: Chapter 4's" surprisingly slapstick sense of humor seems to be "if we're already going to see Keanu Reeves get hit by one car, we might as well see him get hit by 12." It's as though the creative team is staring down the thin line between suspension of disbelief and absolute nonsense and choosing specific moments to veer entirely over, all with strangely effective deadpan execution.

"Chapter 3 — Parabellum" saw flashes of this style during its final showdown in the Continental's glass room, in which Zero's students kick John into not one, not two, but six consecutive identical glass cases — then a seventh just moments later. As amusing as it is, this scene is merely an apéritif compared to the plat principal offered by "Chapter 4's" climactic Parisian onslaught.

Chapter 4's step scene is ridiculous in the best way

After enduring unimaginable punishment on the way to his duel with the Marquis de Gramont, John Wick is confronted with the infamously steep stairway to Sacre Coeur — as well as an army of assassins. He miraculously fights his way to the top only for Chidi (Marko Zaror) to kick him down all 300 steps, forcing him to start the journey all over again. His brutal descent is presented through a nearly unbroken shot. Just as you think John's corpse of a body is about to slow down, he somehow finds the momentum to keep tumbling like the groceries you dropped on your way to your fifth-story walk-up.

It is an unabashedly and uproariously funny scene that is sure to have theaters in stitches — the sort of tongue-in-cheek humor that manages to see its subject in a less serious light with memorable style but without resorting to blatant lamp-shading or self-referential snark. Shocking as it may be to describe a "John Wick" scene as delightfully silly, the Sacre Coeur sequence should bear this badge with honor. If nothing else, it proves the series is capable of stretching itself in fresh ways even a decade after its inception.