Saturday, February 6, 2016

Movie Review: John Wick (2014)

Movie: John Wick (2014)

Director(s): Chad Stahelski and David Leitch (uncredited)

Writer: Derek Kolstad

Cast: Keanu Reeves, Michael Nyqvist, Alfie Allen, Willem Dafoe, Dean Winters, Bridget Moynahan, John Leguizamo, Ian McShane, Lance Reddick, & Adrianne Palicki

One-Line Plot Synopsis: Retired hitman John Wick (Reeves) comes out of retirement to seek revenge on some gangsters who've wronged him.

I'll be honest, I've watched this movie probably five times already and I still haven't written the review for it.  This is one of those rare unexpected hits that comes out of nowhere.  So much so, that John Wick 2 is already in the works and filming as you read this.  That's how well this movie did.  I'm pretty sure it's still being shown on HBO, so if you haven't had a chance to check it out yet, I'd highly recommend it.

Keanu Reeves certainly likes to work and I'm obviously not going to be a fan of every single one of his movies because there's just so many more chances for everything not to work out on a movie, casting, direction, editing, and everything else.  But if you just make a list of the best Keanu Reeves movies, it can go toe-to-toe with just about anyone in Hollywood in terms of entertainment and re-watchability.

Point Break
The Matrix (and kind of the sequels, at least the first one)
Bill & Ted
The Replacements
The Gift
My Own Private Idaho
The Devil's Advocate
Chain Reaction
The Watcher
Constantine - Hey, I like it.
A Scanner Darkly - Hey, I don't like it, but some people love it.

Even if you think a movie in particular may not be "the best" movie, you can't deny them on the basis of pure entertainment value.  Couple that with the fact that Keanu is widely regarded as one of the most down to earth and genuinely good dudes in the movie industry, and I don't mind spending a couple hours watching any movie that he comes out with.

The movie John Wick is the story of an retired assassin who's wife has recently passed away but whom gets pulled back into using his old talents to take revenge on some gangsters who've wronged him.  The lead bad guy of those gangster...none other than Theon Greyjoy himself, Alfie Allen (fun fact, he's the real life brother of singer Lily Allen).

Finally, someone is going after Theon, I mean Reek, for his transgressions against the Stark family.

The real star of this film is the fight choreography.  Just like the special effects were in The Matrix, they're head and shoulders above the usual attempts you see in most action movies.  Plus, even though John Wick is a top level hitman, the scenarios and fight sequences are incredibly realistic.  Plus, whenever he is done fighting with someone, he caps it off with a head shot, which makes very sure that they aren't going to recover and come back after him.  You know, like how you'd basically do in a video game.

A nice little thing that helped elevate this movie to a higher level is that it's filled out with very good actors in smaller parts of the film.  Willem Defoe, Ian McShane, Bridget Moynahan, Adrainne Palicki, Dean Winters, John Leguizamo all make small appearances that keep the film on a higher playing field than it might otherwise have been.

I really enjoyed this flick and if you like good action movies and Keanu Reeves, than I'm sure you will too.

Rating: 9/10

P.S. I see you Tyra Collette.