Because I closed my last post with a John Wick reference, it only makes sense that my first review back is, well, John Wick.
My Keanu Theory
Before I start, I have to go into my Keanu theory. After watching a good portion of Keanu Reeves’ filmography, I’ve realized that he shouldn’t touch anything outside of sci-fi and action. Think of it in these terms: His action movies (Speed, The Matrix, Constantine, etc.) are all gold; however, his attempts at dramas and rom coms (The Replacements, The Lake House, and Sweet November)…crap.
But if there’s one role this ageless wonder’s trademark stoicism is catered towards, it’s action—glorious, gratuitous action.
With John Wick, we get to see Keanu Reeves back in the role he belongs in—brutally battering his foes while displaying the range of emotions of a 9 mm pistol. And that’s perfectly fine, better than fine—it’s awesome.
The movie’s plot is pretty simple: John Wick (Keanu Reeves), aka the Chuck Norris of assassins, is reluctantly plucked out of retirement after a bumbling mob boss’s son, Iosef (Alfie Allen), breaks into Wick’s house, kills his dog (an adorable puppy that’s kind of an allegory for the last bit of Wick’s humanity), and steels his car.
Wick, who swore to quit shooting people for good, makes some calls, garners support for his impending revenge mission, and—in spectacular shit-just-got-real fashion—sledge hammers the concrete of his garage to reveal his super assassin grab bag: guns, bullets, and gold coins; the only currency of consequence in the assassin underworld.
Wick then begins mowing his way through the seedy underbelly of the contract-killing world, all while using an apparent blend of Jiu Jitsu and face-shooting that looks really, really awesome.
Clawing his way to the top of the criminal totem poll with occasional help from his sniper buddy (Willem Dafoe), Wick eventually takes care of the mob bosses son. But the mountain of bodies—77 kills, to be exact—apparently wasn’t enough for Wick. Everyone must pay. And when you’re the father of the newly dead guy that killed his dog, or know someone who killed his dog, or have the loosest of affiliations with anyone that maybe, possibly could have been involved in the untimely death of that poor, innocent dog, well, you might as well prepare your last words…Wick’s coming for you with a straight face and a loaded gun.
We all knew an epic showdown between Wick and Viggo the mob boss (Micheal Nyqvist) had to take place. And, ehhh, it kinda did. If there’s one qualm I have with the movie, it’s that the Wick/Viggo clash was a bit anticlimactic. But that’s a tiny gripe in an otherwise awesome, action-packed movie.
John Wick knows exactly what it is—a movie made for the sole purpose of putting over-the-top action on the big screen and nothing more. No convoluted plots. No wonky CGI. No distracting love interests—just action and lots of it.
The high point of the action (and of the movie, in my opinion) has to be the juxtaposition of euphoria and death that takes place when Wick systematically demolishes Iosef’s security detail in the serene setting of a rave-like spa, all to an ambient and calming soundtrack.
There was a lot to like about this movie. The choreography was fluid and unique. The action and violence was brutal and constant. The plot was simple, but not too simple. It painted a new and refreshing portrait of the criminal underworld—the gold currency was an especially nice touch. The innate comedy of the film also worked well—I mean, the events of the movie pretty much took place because some bad guys killed a worse guy’s dog.
With all of these things at play and almost nonstop action, John Wick nearly broke my rating system, scoring an unprecedented 6,000 out of 5 fists. In my opinion, this movie takes its rightful place in the top three of revenge films, next to Man on Fire and the aptly named Payback.
And get this, the studio behind the film recently announced there will be a sequel. *Giggles in giddy anticipation*