Premise: Keanu Reeves plays John Wick, a former mob assassin who quit the business to be with his lady, but then she dies of some illness, and on her death-bed she gives him a dog to help him grieve. Then, through a chance encounter with some jerks who have mafia connections, some goobers rob Wick’s house and kill his dog. John Wick then decides to kill everybody else in the movie. Pretty simple plot. There’s literally nothing else to it, and it doesn’t have any twists or anything. It’s just a revenge movie about a dog. The second one this year actually.
-Pretty decent gun violence. Also some decent knifings; a couple stranglings. But mostly cool gun stuff. Somebody watched a lot of John Woo movies before they made this. I guess both of the directors (David Leitch and Chad Stahelski) were stunt coordinators on about 70 projects before making this their directorial debut. It shows, in a mostly good way.
-Surprisingly good world building, which I wasn’t even expecting to get at all from this film. But it created an interesting mafia underworld, where everything is gold coin operated, and they have rules and buildings that are off-limits to violence. It wasn’t mind-blowing or anything, but it provided the little extra kick to make this more than *just* a dumb action movie.
-Ya know, Keanu is pretty cool. He gets the short end of the stick a lot of times because he acts so laid back and says “Whoa” all the time, but I enjoy his work. Bill & Ted is pretty cool. Matrix is pretty cool. John Wick is pretty cool, too.
-To be honest, the five minutes of the movie where Keanu is just playing with a puppy were really engaging.
-Theon Greyjoy (no idea what the actor’s name is) plays a great punchable douche. I’m sure that’s not how he is in real life, so I give him credit for having that perfectly hateable face combined with a decent whiney acting talent. He’ll be playing the smarmy rich guy’s son character for the next five years. And one day, he’ll eventually be upgraded to the smarmy rich guy who *has* a son character. I’m sure it will bring a tear to his eye.
-There’s lots of decent minor roles given to people I recognize: Ian McShane, Willem Dafoe, John Leguizamo, Dennis Duffy from 30 Rock, Daniels from The Wire, Lester Freamon from The Wire, KEVIN NASH.
-Once the film gets its momentum, it never lets up.
-I liked that the John Wick character was unstoppable, but not indestructible. He got messed up, knocked down, shot and stabbed, etc. You’d be foolish to think he wouldn’t make it to the end, but at least there were moments of weakness.
-It has a comically stupid ending that I enjoyed.
-At fast paced as it was, at a certain point I kind of just wanted it to end. It’s probably 15 minutes too long. Also, I pounded down a large soda pretty early in the movie and had to pee by the end. We’ve discussed this before, and I never learn; I shouldn’t drink so much soda during the movies. My bladder can’t handle it.
-The villain does that James Bond villain thing where he captures Wick and he’s like “Ok, finish off John Wick” then leaves the room instead of seeing it through, and LO AND BEHOLD, John Wick gets out of it alive! Aren’t our movie villains above this kind of thing, yet? It’s 2014, Russian mafia guy!
-They say John Wick’s name like a hundred times in this screenplay. “That’s John Wick!” “Good evening, Mr. Wick.” “Don’t mess with John Wick.” “Oh, hi John Wick.” WE GET IT, his name is John Wick.
-I don’t really like it when filmmakers get cutesy with the subtitles. Personal preference.
-Much like Viggo Mortensen, I’ve now become aware of Keanu Reeves’ weird fingernails, and I DON’T LIKE THEM. Yes, I have issues not worthy of going into here…
Final Thoughts: It’s not bad at all. And most of my complaints are more nitpicking than anything. John Wick isn’t going to be anything memorable in the grand scheme of film, it won’t make that many people’s top films of the year lists, it will likely be in a Wal-Mart bargain bin in the next 3 years, and I have no plans to ever pay to watch it again… …THAT BEING SAID, it’s a perfectly fine action movie that’s worth watching if it’s your thing. I don’t regret watching it. Actually, I enjoyed it plenty. It’s just nothing that totally shook my world. Can’t we just admire dumb entertainment? JOHN WICK JOHN WICK JOHN WICK JOHN WICK JOHN WICK JOHN WICK.
8 out of 10