Platoon and Natural Born Killers director Oliver Stone has slammed the action featured in John Wick: Chapter 4, citing his distaste for its excessive use of video game-like violence. An often controversial figure in Hollywood circles, the multiple Academy Award-winning director, producer, and screenwriter has spent much of his career focusing on contentious American political issues. A former infantry soldier who served during the Vietnam War, many of his own wartime experiences would go on to inform his films Platoon, Born of the Fourth of July and Heaven & Earth.


During a recent interview with Variety, Stone expressed his frustration with many of cinema’s pop-culture-driven franchises, zeroing in on the recent John Wick 4 as an example. Calling the film “disgusting beyond belief,” the veteran filmmaker went on to deride the Keanu Reeves-led action movies as being out of touch with reality. Check out his comments below:

“I saw ‘John Wick 4’ on the plane. Talk about volume. I think the film is disgusting beyond belief. Disgusting. I don’t know what people are thinking. Maybe I was watching ‘G.I. Joe’ when I was a kid. But [Keanu Reeves] kills, what, three, four hundred people in the fucking movie. And as a combat veteran, I gotta tell you, not one of them is believable. I realize it’s a movie, but it’s become a video game more than a movie.

“It’s lost touch with reality. The audience perhaps likes the video game. But I get bored by it. How many cars can crash? How many stunts can you do? What’s the difference between ‘Fast and Furious’ and some other film? It’s just one thing after another. Whether it’s a super-human Marvel character or just a human being like John Wick, it doesn’t make any difference. It’s not believable.”

Are Oliver Stone’s John Wick Criticisms Unfair Or Hard-Hitting Truths?

Keanu Reeves in John Wick Chapter 4 on the ground pointing a gun

First rising to prominence during a golden era of independent U.S. filmmaking, Stone’s distaste for the current studio-driven landscape and its addiction to big-budget franchises is not unique. With the 76-year-old director’s comments echoing those previously espoused by many of his contemporaries such as Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola, the evidence would suggest that there is a growing disconnect between Hollywood’s old guard and the kinds of movies that currently predominate the industry.

While it may be easy to dismiss the discontented mutterings of Stone as the by-product of differing generational opinions, it is hard to ignore the increasing desire from studios to turn everything into a long-running franchise. Even with John Wick: Chapter 4 seemingly putting an end to its titular hero, Lionsgate was quick to announce that John Wick 5 was in active development alongside its various spinoff projects. While it is not yet clear whether Reeves himself will appear in the new sequel, the mere possibility of it lends a lot of credence to Stone’s accusations of the films being unbelievable.

Yet, while Stone may have some legitimate grievances around the value of films being made to simply extend an established franchise, his critique of John Wick: Chapter 4’s “disgusting” use of violence is also somewhat hypocritical. As the man who turned Quentin Tarantino’s Natural Born Killers script into one of the most controversial and violent films of the 1990s, Stone himself is no stranger to being accused of glorifying acts of graphic violence. While his words may not have any tangible impact on the future of the John Wick franchise, they do raise some points worthy of further thought and discussion.

Source: Variety


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