Title: John Wick
Cast: Keanu Reeves, Michael Nyqvist, Alfie Allen, Willem Dafoe
Seen on: April 07, 2015
When a Russian mobster beats up his own son for stealing a car from a man and killing his puppy-the one his now dead wide gave him as a last present to him, you know this man is terrifying. This man is John Wick, and he is not happy. At all. And John Wick doesn’t stop until he gets what he wants: revenge.
Keanu Reeves is, as always, infinitely cool and quietly threatening which works well for the retired-but-dragged-back-into-it John Wick. A man of few words, but a lot of actions. Which works well in turn for Keanu Reeves; not the best emotive actor, so some of the more emotional and dialogue heavier scenes fall a bit flat, but he does a really good menacing hit-man. Really good.
The film is basically one big stunt. The story is simple-retired hit-man goes after the kid that killed the last thing he had of his wife-but it doesn’t need much more. I’d rather see a well-executed simple story than a confusing intricate plot-driven train wreck. And the story really is just a tool to get from one stunt (fight) to another. And the fights are impressive; not only are they clean enough to follow what is happening, they are realistic. The characters get hurt, don’t just walk away from these fights with nothing but a few bruises. No, John Wick needs stitches, a sling for his arm and shoulder, painkillers.
The supporting cast is pretty cool too: Michael Nyqvist as the Russian mobster with a healthy awe for John Wick. Alfie Allen as his son, stupid enough to take on John Wick. Willam Dafoe as unlikely friend, Adrienne Palicki as hit-woman Ms. Perkins (fantastic fight sequence between her and John Wick!), Dean Winters as the long-suffering assistant to the Russian mobster, and Lance Reddick as the hotel manager with the best one-liners in the film.
The best exchange comes early on in the film though, after the first fight at John Wick’s house. Local cop Jimmy comes to the door just as John Wick kills the last man come to kill him, and this conversation happens:
Jimmy: Evening, John.
John Wick: Evening, Jimmy. Noise complaint?
Jimmy: Noise complaint.
Jimmy pauses, glances inside at the dead bodies in the hallway.
Jimmy: You uh working again?
John Wick: No, just sorting some stuff out.
Jimmy: Oh well, I’ll leave you be than. Good night, John.
John Wick: Good night, Jimmy.
This film isn’t just gritty and cool and stylish, it is really funny at times. The humour gives the film the levity it needs to not take itself too seriously and that is what makes it so awesome. Just accept Keanu Reeves will never be the most emotive actor in the world and you will love this film. It’s good.
I will leave you with the most heartbreaking thing in this film. Go see it and you will know why.