Top 5 Reasons Why John Wick 4 Is Rated R

by Barbara

The John Wick franchise, known for its high-octane action and relentless pace, continues its tradition of pushing boundaries with its fourth installment. John Wick 4, like its predecessors, has garnered an R rating from the Motion Picture Association (MPA). This rating signals to audiences that the film contains content that may be inappropriate for children under 17 without parental guidance. In this article, we delve into the top five reasons why John Wick 4 earned its R rating, exploring the elements of violence, language, substance use, and other mature themes that contribute to this classification.

1. Intense and Graphic Violence

One of the primary reasons John Wick 4 is rated R is its pervasive and graphic violence. The franchise is synonymous with meticulously choreographed action sequences that showcase a wide array of combat styles and weaponry. The fourth film in the series takes this to new heights, with scenes that are both visually stunning and brutally intense.


Realistic and Stylized Combat

The action sequences in John Wick 4 are a blend of realism and stylization. The film features numerous hand-to-hand combat scenes, where the choreography is both intricate and believable. The use of martial arts, combined with Keanu Reeves’ commitment to performing his own stunts, results in fights that are visceral and impactful. The depiction of bone-crunching punches, swift knife attacks, and acrobatic maneuvers contribute to the film’s graphic nature.


Extensive Use of Firearms

Firearms play a significant role in the John Wick series, and the fourth installment is no exception. The film showcases a variety of guns, from pistols to automatic rifles, in meticulously crafted shootouts. The gunplay is characterized by high body counts, precise headshots, and close-quarter combat, resulting in a display of blood and gore that leaves a lasting impression on viewers.


Creative and Brutal Kill Sequences

John Wick 4 is known for its inventive and often brutal kill sequences. The film’s director, Chad Stahelski, along with the stunt and effects teams, devises creative ways for John Wick to eliminate his adversaries. These sequences include using everyday objects as lethal weapons, performing stunts in unusual locations, and employing environmental elements to enhance the action. This creativity, while visually engaging, also amplifies the film’s graphic violence.

2. Strong Language

Another factor contributing to the R rating of John Wick 4 is the frequent use of strong language throughout the film. The dialogue includes a significant number of profanities, which are used to emphasize the intensity and emotion of the characters.

Authentic Character Interactions

The use of strong language in John Wick 4 adds authenticity to the interactions between characters. In a world where violence and high stakes are the norms, characters express themselves in ways that reflect their desperation, anger, and frustration. This linguistic choice helps to create a more immersive and believable narrative, despite its mature nature.

Enhancing Emotional Impact

The strategic use of profanity enhances the emotional impact of key scenes. Whether it’s during a heated confrontation, a moment of betrayal, or a desperate fight for survival, the language choices heighten the tension and convey the raw emotions of the characters. This linguistic intensity is a hallmark of the franchise and contributes to its gritty, no-holds-barred atmosphere.

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3. Mature Themes and Dark Tone

John Wick 4 delves into mature themes that are integral to the story and the character’s journey. The dark tone of the film is consistent with the franchise’s exploration of the criminal underworld and the personal struggles of its protagonist.

Exploration of Revenge and Consequences

At its core, the John Wick series is a tale of revenge. The fourth installment continues to explore the consequences of John Wick’s quest for vengeance. The film delves into themes of loss, justice, and the cyclical nature of violence, portraying a world where every action has a repercussion. These mature themes are central to the narrative and contribute to the film’s R rating.

Depiction of the Criminal Underworld

The setting of John Wick 4 is entrenched in the criminal underworld, a society governed by its own rules and codes of conduct. The film provides a detailed and often unflinching look at this shadowy world, complete with its power struggles, betrayals, and moral ambiguities. The portrayal of this environment, with its inherent dangers and ethical complexities, adds to the mature tone of the movie.

Personal Struggles and Psychological Depth

John Wick’s personal journey is marked by significant psychological depth. The character grapples with his past, his identity, and the relentless pursuit of his enemies. This exploration of inner turmoil and existential questions adds a layer of complexity to the film, making it more than just an action-packed spectacle. The psychological and emotional depth of the character’s struggles aligns with the mature themes that warrant an R rating.

4. Substance Use and Abuse

The depiction of substance use and abuse is another contributing factor to the R rating of John Wick 4. The film includes scenes where characters engage in the consumption of alcohol and drugs, reflecting the darker aspects of their lives and the world they inhabit.

Alcohol Consumption

Alcohol consumption is depicted in various scenes throughout the film. Characters are shown drinking in social settings, often in bars or nightclubs, which are common backdrops in the John Wick universe. The portrayal of alcohol use is realistic and is used to emphasize the lifestyle and coping mechanisms of the characters within the criminal underworld.

Drug Use

While less prevalent than alcohol, drug use is also depicted in John Wick 4. The inclusion of drug use scenes adds to the film’s gritty and unfiltered portrayal of the criminal world. These scenes are not glorified but rather presented as a part of the harsh realities faced by some characters. The realistic depiction of drug use and its consequences aligns with the film’s mature themes and contributes to its R rating.

5. Nudity and Sexual Content

Although not as prominent as violence or language, nudity and sexual content are present in John Wick 4, further justifying its R rating. These elements are used sparingly but effectively to enhance the narrative and develop the film’s atmosphere.

Contextual Nudity

The film includes scenes of nudity that are contextually relevant to the story. These scenes are typically set in environments such as bathhouses, nightclubs, or private residences, where nudity is a natural part of the setting. The portrayal of nudity in John Wick 4 is not gratuitous but serves to build the world and add realism to the narrative.

Sexual Content

Sexual content in John Wick 4 is minimal but present. The film includes scenes that imply sexual relationships and encounters, contributing to the mature tone of the movie. These scenes are handled with a degree of subtlety, focusing more on the implications rather than explicit details. This approach maintains the film’s mature atmosphere without overshadowing the primary action-driven plot.


John Wick 4 is a film that remains true to the franchise’s legacy of delivering intense, action-packed entertainment with a mature edge. Its R rating is a result of several factors, including graphic violence, strong language, mature themes, substance use, and instances of nudity and sexual content. These elements combine to create a cinematic experience that is both exhilarating and thought-provoking, appealing to audiences who appreciate the raw and unfiltered nature of John Wick’s world.

The detailed exploration of these mature elements not only highlights the reasons behind the film’s rating but also underscores the depth and complexity of the narrative. John Wick 4 is more than just an action movie; it’s a film that delves into the human condition, exploring themes of revenge, consequence, and survival in a brutal and unforgiving world. This multifaceted approach ensures that the film resonates with viewers on multiple levels, making it a standout entry in the John Wick saga.

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