John Wick serves quick, over-stylish CQC “gun-fu” (a term from J. Rothkopf) that marks Keanu Reeves’ audacious come-back to ‘real action’ movie. Although the plot is cliched; John Wick doesn’t care, ’cause he’s a slave of overkill.
“We are professional killers—civilized!” cried a crime-lord.
“Do I look civilized?” John Wick answered.
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John Wick‘s plot is, basically, as simple as this: a hitman, John Wick indeed, retired from his business to marry a woman. Five years later, his wife died. A bunch of punk steals his vintage ’69 Mustang and kills his dog in ‘not-so-right’ time. Infuriated, John seeks for vengeance. He immediately learns that the punk is the son of a crime-lord he used to work with; and… there will be blood.
Keanu Reeves marks his audacious come-back to a real one-man action movie (after Speed—around 20 years ago; and The Matrix—over a decade ago) with an intense performance and, surprisingly, a brutal B-movie joyride. John Wick highlights a feast of festive close quarters combat—with series of well-choreographed vast fight scenes, top-notch “gun fu” bravura, along with suspenseful soundtracks. Reeves’ former stunt-double for The Matrix, Chad Stahelski, directs this movie with a very dynamic/kinetic/jaw-breaking choreography that rushes through your veins along with shots of adrenaline. There’s no brain involved to nourish the plot (except those scattered brain resulted from head-shots); and there’s no morality involved to go deeper in characterizations; all we know is kill and John Wick is a slave of over-kill.
Despite the slim plot (that somehow reminds me to The Raid: Redemption on its first viewing) that, somehow, makes a little sense along with some genre-cliche, John Wick presents a roller-coaster ride with tight pacing and effective editing. In such a simple plot, the antagonists fueled by Game of Thrones crime-lords (Michael Nyqvist and Alfie Allen) are not as threatening as John Wick; yet, brief-but-substantial performance from Willem Dafoe, John Leguizamo, Ian McShane, and David Patrick Kelly with his “food delivery” squad is just enough to mend the flaw.
With lots of inside jokes and unveiled secrets from John Wick’s dark past, I think a further development on his story—to make a new franchise—is more than just possible. As long as John Wick has the guts, I believe he knows how to entertain action aficionados; and as long as you love Rambo-esque action flicks, you’ll get thrilled by John Wick.
John Wick (2014)
Action, Thriller Directed by: David Leitch, Chad Stahelski Written by: Derek Kolstad Starred by: Keanu Reeves, Michael Nyqvist, Alfie Allen, Willem Dafoe, John Leguizamo, Ian McShane, David Patrick Kelly Rated R for strong and bloody violence throughout, language and brief drug use