John Wick (2014)
Starring: Keanu Reeves, Michael Nyqvist, Alfie Allen, Willem Dafoe, Dean Winters, Adrianne Palicki
Directed By: David Leitch, Chad Stahelski
Written By: Derek Kolstad
Rating: R (US) Running Time: 1 hr 41 min
Two weeks ago, from out of nowhere, the name John Wick appeared on my movie radar. Keanu Reeves in a slick action-packed revenge movie? Count me in! The trailer promised well shot action, cool moves and R rated violence, and I’m here to confirm, John Wick delivers on all counts.
The plot is simple enough. A young, stupid son of an important Russian mobster, Iosef Tarasov (Alfie Allen), takes a liking to John Wick’s beautiful 69′ Mustang. When John declines Iosef’s offer to buy the car, the young fool decides to just steal it, and kill the last remaining semblance of hope John had in the world after the death of his beloved wife. The fuse, wick, get it? Is lit! And John, as he exhumes his arsenal, so resurrects his past life as an unstoppable killing machine.
Action in Hollywood movies of late, has been pretty disappointing in my opinion. All too often each sequence gets shot too closely with hand-held cameras, and is then edited to become incomprehensible. John Wick benefits from having two former stunt men as directors and a lead star, who all seem to understand how good action movies work. They understand the audience want to watch the action, not be part of it. In that respect, an inventive well choreographed action scene is not unlike a great dance performance. A series of well-timed steps and movements to a good beat. Get that right, and all that’s left to do is pull the camera back, tell your editor to chill out, and let your skilled performers do their work.
John Wick applies this methodology perfectly, and it’s loaded with great action, cool visuals and a really killer soundtrack. It also sets up a fun world for these killers to exist in. One with a code of conduct, hallowed ground, and even its own currency. Keanu Reeves as an actor is a mixed bag of tricks, but when paired with the right content, he’s brilliant, and certainly seems to have found his stride in this awesome tale of revenge.
This movie earns its R rating due to the very graphic violence. Bullets fly, blood spills and people die in this fast-paced revenge movie. If you’re up for some well choreographed action, slick visuals and cool muscle cars, then I think you’ll enjoy this film.
A movie theater sized screen is going to give you the best experience with this film. At home, a HD viewing on your TV will work. I wouldn’t recommend you watch this on anything smaller, because Jonathan Sela’s cinematography deserves better than that.
The entire action sequence in the Red Circle nightclub is awesome. Several floors of action, different lighting and color palettes, and great music as the carnage moves from room to room. Loved it!