Written by The Kendog   
Thursday, 30 October 2014 17:54









Howdy folks! It’s The Kendog!



Haven’t seen Keanu Reeves in a while. Aside from the underrated MAN OF TAI CHI, available for streaming on Netflix, Reeves has been, to say the least, under the radar. I know he has his detractors and no one is ever gonna confused Reeves for Sir Laurence Olivier, but as an action star he is, in my humble opinion, extremely underrated. So it’s with great pleasure that I report Reeves has returned to form with the incredible JOHN WICK, one of the most entertaining shoot-em ups I’ve seen in ages.




The setup is extremely simple. John Wick (Reeves) a former hit man for the Russian mob, has just lost his wife to cancer. As he tries to cope, he gets one last gift from his beloved in the form of a cute little puppy. Unfortunately the bonding process is interrupted when the son of the city’s biggest gangster takes an interested in Wick’s exquisite Mustang. The son, Iosef (a suitably slimy Alfie Allen from GAME OF THRONES), takes a crew and busts up Wick, his house, and kills his dog.

Not a good move.

You see, John Wick is not just an assassin: he’s the boogeyman of assassins and now he has someone to direct his anger at. Wick enters the life again, taking his skills and his guns on a mission to destroy the people who destroyed his life.





The plot of JOHN WICK is streamlined and easy to follow. There are no third act twist, no red herrings to worry about. All you have is a bullet train of a movie that is as smooth and efficient as some of the best action movies ever made. The directors, David Leitch and Chad Stahelski, have an extensive background in stunt work, and when it comes to choreographing action, these two are truly in their element. From the first shootout at Wick’s house to the finale on a city pier, the action is almost like nothing I’ve ever seen.   When Reeve’s goes to work with his guns it’s like watching a terrific martial arts battle with firearms.





The script by Derek Kolstad revels in the world it creates, in the details of that world. There’s the Continental Hotel, a hotel for assassins run by the always terrific Ian McShane, that takes payment in gold coins and has only one rule: don’t do business on hotel grounds. The cops aren’t often a factor in movies like this, but at least JOHN WICK acknowledges this with one of the funniest scenes involving Wick and a cop I’ve ever seen. You’ll know it if you see it.






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The performances in JOHN WICK are uniformly good, with Reeves doing some excellent work as the grieving hit man. Once the action starts, Reeves is in his element, but I was most impressed with his emotional range at the beginning of the film. When he gets the dog and holds it for the first time, his pain feels real and earned, which is crucial when attempting to separate this film from other generic action films.






Reeves gets really good support from noted character actors like McShane, Willem Defoe, Michael Nyqvist, John Leguizamo, and Adrienne Palicki. Allen is fun as the spoiled son who starts the ball rolling, and the underrated Daniel Bernhardt (best known probably as the lead agent in the second Matrix movie) does a great job as Nyqvist’s principal heavy.  





JOHN WICK doesn’t reinvent the wheel for action movies from a narrative standpoint, but from an action choreography standpoint this film is a revelation. The smooth, efficient camerawork and inventive set pieces are a refreshing tonic for the current crop of action flicks relying solely on shaky camera work and quick-cut editing. I, for one, welcome the return of Keanu Reeves and look forward to the next film from David Leitch and Chad Stahelski with great enthusiasm. See this film at the IMAX for maximum impact. You can get tickets here!   SO SAYETH THE KENDOG!




JOHN WICK is Rated R for strong and bloody violence throughout, language and brief drug use.


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