Thursday, October 30, 2014

Review of John Wick

If there’s one line to describe John Wick, it is this; John Wick is a kick-ass action movie.

That’s it. Those of you looking for Oscar winning performances or tear-jerking dramas, go someplace else but if you are looking for a slick polish action movie, then this Keanu Reeves film is one you need to watch.

Reeves stars as John Wick, a man who just lost his wife Helen to cancer. Knowing she was dying, his wife posthumously send a gift to him in the form of a puppy named Daisy, hoping the puppy would help Wick cope with his grief. Wick and Daisy connects but their relationship is cut short when a Russian gang member named Iosef (Alfie Allen) broke into Wick’s home, killed Daisy and stole Wick’s car.

After that, Iosef bought the car to a chop-shop but the shop owner Aureilo (John Leguizamo) refused to have anything to do with the car and even punched Iosef for bringing the vehicle into his shop. Iosef immediately reports the incident to his father Viggo Tarasov (Michael Nyqvist), the head of a major Russian crime syndicate in New York. Aureilo explained to Viggo what happened and Viggo beat and berate his son. He then explained to Iosef and his second-in-command Avi (Dean Winters) who John Wick was; one of the best assassin in the world, nicknamed the "Boogeyman".

From there, it’s one straight line of a vengeance movie as Wick faced off against Viggo, who in an effort to protect his son, put a $2 million bounty on Wick’s head.

As I said earlier, John Wick is an action movie and a very good one. The fights are stylish and the way Keanu Reeves handle the action scenes is something to behold. This is a welcome return to form for Reeves who has been threading water for the past couple years ever since the Matrix trilogy ended.

Also the way the movie expanded John Wick’s world was very well done. The revelation that Wick was part of an old assassin society based around an unassuming hotel named the Continental was marvellous. Although they weren’t in the movie much, directors by David Leitch and Chad Stahelski clearly show that the society has its own rules and code of conduct and anyone who runs afoul of them will have to suffer the consequences.

I also liked the performances of the actors in the movie. Reeves was great and so were the supporting actors. When Viggo first learned of what happened, all he said was, “Oh” and Nyqvist nailed the scene. Nyqvist with that one word managed to convey Viggo’s shock, surprise and rage. Never had so much been said on such a simple word.

However, not everyone was great. I know Adrianne Palicki has managed to gain a reputation as an action actress but I thought she was terrible as Ms. Perkins. She just didn’t seem comfortable at all as the movie femme fatale. I can’t help but think that another actress would have done a much better job at it.

I also thought the ending was poor. After all the kinetic shootouts and fights, the ending was kind of passé. A fist fight in the rain at the docks? I seem that a thousand times before and I didn’t need to see another one.

However on the whole, I thought John Wick was an excellent action movie. The action was cool and while the story was simple, it got the job done. Bring on the sequel! 

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