Review of John Wick

johnwick

Are you a dog or cat person? I suspect that when it comes to moviegoers most film audiences prefer canines. How else can you explain that when a person dies in a flick no one cares, but if a pooch gets harmed the entire cinema goes mental? The makers of John Wick have tapped into this passion for mutts to divert attention away from how barebones their movie’s plot is. Guy takes on evildoers who have done him wrong? Yawn, how cliché. Huh, what’s that? The bad guys killed a puppy? How heinous! Okay, now I am invested. I can’t wait to see those jerks get their just desserts… and suffer they will because anyone foolish enough to pick on John Wick’s “doggie” is in for a ruff-ruff time.

OVERVIEW

John Wick is a former assassin who gave up the life of a contract killer after he found love and got hitched. Unfortunately for him his missus has since succumbed to the ravages of cancer. John would be alone now were it not for his adorable pet beagle Daisy, who was gifted to him by his departed wife. Some time after the funeral John decides to take his vintage Mustang out for a spin. The vehicle is thirsty for gas, after a cruise through a local airfield, so he decides to stop at a nearby petrol station. There he encounters a Russian mobster who expresses a desire to purchase John’s flashy automobile. Mr Wick declines the offer, but sadly for him the Ruskie gangster just won’t take no for an answer.

When dusk hits the above mentioned Mafioso breaks into John’s house accompanied by a group of henchmen. They proceed to rob John’s car, beating the titular hero to a pulp in the process. During the attack Daisy, who valiantly tries to defend her master, is also slain – tipping John over the edge. After exhuming a stash of firearms John sets off to claim retribution. New York’s most prominent criminal syndicate stands between John and his target, but that doesn’t matter. John is a one-man army who could reputedly take down the Boogeyman. Come to think of it, I haven’t seen that worm-munching wrestler in years. I guess it really is true that the Boogeyman fell to Wick’s badassery.

VERDICT

My rating for John Wick is four stars. Despite being a by the numbers revenge caper it manages to entertain thanks to its thrilling action set pieces. The film is directed by a pair of stuntmen and man does it show. Unlike other blockbusters you can actually follow what is going on and admire the stunning martial arts choreography. The flow of combat is not interrupted with quick cuts or shaky cam, which is a huge relief. Watching stuff like the Hunger Games can induce seasickness, as the director throttles the camera in order to disguise his cast’s lack of fighting prowess. Thankfully those tricks are not required when your movie is fronted by Keanu Reeves. Anyone who has watched the Matrix trilogy is well aware that Keanu is no slouch when it comes to fisticuffs.

Despite a modest twenty million dollar budget John Wick courts the services of several big name stars. Willem Dafoe makes an appearance as a veteran sniper and Ian “Lovejoy” McShane plays an affluent chap who owns establishments frequented by members of the underworld. Out of all the actors I especially liked hotel concierge Lance Reddick, as he made me chuckle on several occasions with his deadpan replies. Really, apart from the anaemic plot, the only thing I can criticize John Wick on would have to be its anticlimactic finale. After giving us spectacular car chases and a bloody nightclub based gunfight the whole thing culminates with Keanu beating up a geriatric guy. Well technically his opponent is only a few years older than John Wick, but Keanu looks a lot younger in comparison. In the words of Bill & Ted, Keanu looks “excellent” for his age.

31 thoughts on “Review of John Wick

  1. This sounds interesting. I think that, sometimes, people skate films simply for having Keanu in them, but I don’t tend to share their default negativity towards him (heck, I even thought he did an OK job as Constantine). Another good example of his action capabilities: Man of Tai’Chi.
    High octane films are entertaining, so I have no issues with a bare bones plot either. This one may be woth me checking out.
    As a random side, back when it was new, my Dad was the spitting image of Lovejoy. He didn’t grow to swear as much as his Deadwood counterpart though.

    • Thanks for the comment Loverjoy Jr. I agree that Keanu gets unfairly picked on by some critics. His acting has come a long way and unlike other Hollywood celebs he sounds like a real nice guy. Apparently he has previously donated his paycheck to stuntmen, which is very generous.

      For me this movie was a bit like Taken. I wasn’t expecting much, but was pleasantly surprised by the old school action, which looks cool despite not being enhanced with camera tricks.

      • Plus, he was in Bill and Ted, so that’s got to go in his favour.
        Sometimes not having the camera enhancements can make something far more fun to watch. It’s like how practical special effects always look better than CG to me.

  2. Still have to watch the 2nd movie because this was a badass action flick and made dog lovers proud. Russia had to pay for what they did to John’s fateful companion. Also it’s a bad idea to screw over a guy who just wants peace by taking away the one friend who could have healed his deep wounds.

    • I saw the sequel advertised recently, which motivated me to check out the highly praised original. Yeah, those bad guys had to pay. Invading Ukraine I can overlook, but hurting a cute beagle is going too far!

  3. I’m a mog person xDD. Wow, looks like Keanu is back to his best despite his movies being very inconsistent at times. Might give this bad boy a chance as it looks interesting. Sounds a bit like Tony Jaa’ elephant king there. An elephant gets kidnapped over here some dog gets killed. So MC goes on a rampage.

  4. I thought this was a review of the new movie until I made it to the comments. Shows what I know about film.

    Sometimes, you don’t want or need a smart movie. Sometimes, you just want a simple plot that just justifies what you’re really there for. Nothing wrong with that.

    • Don’t feel bad, I only heard of this movie’s existence due to the good word of mouth it received. Maybe I should mention the release date in my movie reviews because most of the stuff I post about isn’t exactly brand new.

      • As an avid animal lover I couldn’t agree more. I’m that and someone who advocates for human rights, too. Animals are sentient creatures with a central nervous system who can feel a similar variety of emotions that we can, definitely the important ones. The slaps on the wrist that abusers receive are a slap in the face to common decency 😡

  5. I can’t believe I still haven’t watched any of the John Wick films… I don’t watch much TV, but I need to make time to watch this because I really love action movies.

  6. I didn’t expect to like this film as much as I did, but it was great. Very exciting! I really need to watch the sequel.

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