John Wick: Reviewing a Violently Entertaining Movie
Fear the Boogeyman…
Keanu Reeves has finally come back from wherever he’s been hiding these last couple years and brings with him his best movie since the Matrix (and of course I’m talking about the first one, not those other two that still make no sense). Slipping back into the type of action role that made him famous, Keanu channels his inner bad-ass and makes one of the more violently spectacular and stylishly entertaining action movies to hit theaters in recent memory. John Wick is a straight forward shoot-em up/kung-fu flick that reminds you how much fun watching an old school action movie can be.
John Wick (Keanu Reeves) is a man who has just lost his wife. After a brief, yet surprisingly heartfelt, montage of recent events, John receives a final gift from his wife meant to help him deal with his grief, a dog. Unfortunately its a gift that will never fulfill it’s intended purpose after John crosses paths with a dog killing Russian gangster (Game of Throne’s Alfie Allen), who’s dad happens to be a Russian mob boss (Michael Nyqvist) that realizes his son has just awoken a monster. We learn that everyone fears John Wick, or as the Russians call him, the Boogeyman. It’s soon revealed that he’s a contract killer, or more accurately THE contract killer, and he’s just had his grieving process interrupted. The Russian mob has inadvertently given Wick what every hitman needs to help move on from a personal tragedy, a new target. From there the body counts just pile up as John goes on a revenge and grief fueled murder rampage, eliminating said targets with an efficiency and brutality that would make the Terminator proud.
Not just limited to Keanu Reeves’ awesome turn as the titular character, John Wick also gives us a great supporting cast. Ian McShane’s character runs the Continental (a cool assassin hangout that provides safe-haven to all its guests); Willem Dafoe, plays a fellow assassin who has a soft spot for John; the before mentioned Michael Nyqvist almost steals every scene he’s in as the primary bad guy in a world full of bad guys, and Adrianne Palicki is sexy cool as a femme fatale that will do anything to collect the bounty on Wick’s head. It’s a great ensemble cast that really help bring John Wick to life.
Make no mistake though, Keanu Reeves is the engine that really makes this movie go. He’s perfectly cast as a man of action and few words, and he brings his cool factor to a character that has mastered the art of the slow-mo entrance. The smooth fighting styles that Keanu undoubtedly learned from his work on the Matrix are also on full display here. Every fight scene is brilliantly choreographed, and exciting to watch. Keanu effortlessly flows from one enemy to the next, and every move he does, or shot he takes, looks fluid and believable.
One of the most surprisingly great things about John Wick though is how cool its world of assassins is. Director Chad Stahelski and screenwriter David Kolstad don’t just take a killer and set him loose on the real world, no they opted to instead create a fictional world of assassins that honestly seems to have come straight out of a comic book. They take the time to fully flesh out an interesting universe of killers that comes with it’s own set of rules, support staff to clean up messes, and even it’s own unique currency. It’s something I wasn’t expecting and it’s one of the things that really help set the movie apart from similar films. I really hope this movie does well, I’d really like to take another trip into this world of assassins.
John Wick is one of those rare movies that gives you something better than what you expected, and leaves you wanting more. Fueled by a killer comeback performance from Keanu Reeves, John Wick is a fun, exciting, action-packed revenge thriller that might just surprise you how much you end up enjoying it.
I give John Wick 8.5 outta 10 reasons why you never mess with a hitman’s dog