Tuesday, November 11, 2014

John Wick

Year: 2014
Directors: David Leitch and Chad Stahelski
Cast: Keanu Reeves, Michael Nyqvist, Alfie Allen, Willem Dafoe, Adrianne Palicki, Ian McShane, Lance Reddick, John Leguizamo

Plot: A retired hitman is out for revenge after the son of his former employer steals his car and kills his dog.

Review: If you liked The Replacement Killers and Bullet To The Head, you'll surely love John Wick. This is the kind of role that Jason Statham is famous for, and it works just as well in the hands of Keanu Reeves.

Reeves plays the titular character, a retired hitman who has just lost his wife to illness, and receives a puppy from her as a final gift. Some Russian thugs then rough him up, steals his car and kills the puppy. Iosef, the leader of the thugs only realises later that John used to work for his father Viggo, and he's really good at what he does. Worse still, he's not a man to be messed with.

I simply admire the world that directors Chad Stahelski and David Leitch puts their anti-hero in. In John's world, violence is usually the best solution. Most of them dress in neat black suits, and best of all, there's actually a hotel where hitmen can stay in as long as they don't conduct business on the premises. It's almost dream like when we see it, but it's really slick so we don't care too much about how little sense it makes. The action sequences are also well executed, with some really good camera angles and aerial shots of the city to go with it. Visually, John Wick the film is a feast to behold. The action also goes side by side with a lot of thumping rock music, elevating the adrenaline rush even more.

People have said that this is Reeves' best role since Neo, and I can't disagree with that. His acting might still be inconsistent, but nobody watches him for his acting skills anyway. Reeves still knows how to kick ass and take names, which is what counts here. The supporting cast are all awesome, from Ian McShane to Willem Dafoe, to Alfie Allen and Adrianne Palicki, they all deliver in their roles. Lance Reddick cuts an interesting character as the hotel manager, and even John Leguizamo makes a welcome yet brief appearance as a chop shop owner. Michael Nyqvist chews the scenery as Viggo, the main villain of the film, and even occasionally makes fun of himself in several scenes. In fact, there are quite a few scenes that will make you chuckle, thanks to the script allowing the cast to lighten an otherwise serious revenge film.

The film could use a stronger dose of logic overall, like where are the cops when a battle goes down? The final showdown at the end was a bit over the top too. At times, John Wick the film seems a bit self indulgent, but it's too entertaining to consider it a problem.

I had a great time with John Wick, I dare say it's one of the best hitman action movies I've seen in a while. (8/10)

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