Film Review – John Wick (2014)

John Wick - postTitle – John Wick (2014)

Director – Chad Stahelski (feature debut)

Cast – Keanu Reeves, Michael Nyqvist, Alfie Allen, Willem Dafoe, Adrianne Palicki, Bridget Moynahan

Plot – You don’t want to mess with ex-hitman John Wick (Reeves), but nobody sent the memo to arrogant Russian criminal Yosef (Allen) who steals his car and kills his beloved puppy setting John off on a path of brutal revenge.

 “People keep asking if I’m back and I haven’t really had an answer, but yeah, I’m thinking I’m back”

Review by Eddie on 4/03/2015

While John Wick can quite literally be described as an endless parade of bullets and headshots (seriously, Mr. Wick just loves a good old fashioned headshot!) Chad Stahelski’s stylish, loud, brash and unwaveringly violent opus of revenge is a highly watchable stock standard tale of a scorned man on a warpath that we’ve seen before, yet never seen quite like this.

Front and center to this incredible body-dropping journey is dog lover and suit wearer John Wick, played by the thankfully watchable Keanu Reeves (almost like 47 Ronin was a bad dream). John is clearly a man who at one stage in his life utilized his skills of killing for a price and as per usual got out once love came his way. John is a man that even the “bogeyman” fears and a man who doesn’t take kindly to having his puppy brutally murdered by a bunch of Russian thugs. The story of John Wick is slight and could’ve easily been written by a teenage boy whilst playing the latest Call of Duty but there’s a market for these throwaway action flicks and up and coming director Stahelski clearly knows this.

Directing the film like it’s been injected with a drip feed of Red Bull, Stahelski barely stops to breathe in amongst the processions of finely tuned and impeccably crafted gun fights. From a home invasion firefight, a nightclub massacre and rain soaked battle at a port, Wick finds himself literally fighting across New York in increasingly OTT yet sufficiently satisfying gun battles. Stahelski cares little for trying to be realistic and the films tone is almost comical in its treatment of hotels for hitmen and “waste disposal” crews and you get the feeling this film was aiming to be more John Woo than James Bond, which gives it an added sprinkling of charisma even though we all know Keanu Reeves isn’t exactly the poster boy of emotional embodiment.

If you don’t like a liberal dosing of blood and a body count to match then John Wick is going to be a living, breathing nightmare for you, but for those looking for a well-oiled and at times almost fanciful rendition of the revenge tale then John Wick is going to be a new favourite of yours. A welcome return to form in many ways for Keanu Reeves and a calling card for director Stahelski, John Wick is under no illusions to what it is and neither should the viewer be when judging it. With a sequel already in the pipeline, it’s pretty clear that John Wick did its job and hopefully can do it once more in the years to come.

3 pencils out of 5

28 responses to “Film Review – John Wick (2014)

  1. I just watched this last Friday night, and I have to say I really quite enjoyed it. It wasn’t as over the top as a John Woo affair, but it had all the right choreographed fight scenes and some massive amounts of bullet to the brain scenes. Underneath it all you got the feeling that John Wick might’ve turned out to be a decent bloke had he been left alone. He killed who he needed to kill and that was it.

    Willem Dafoe was a nice surprise as well, and I didn’t even recognize Michael Nyqvist. Reeves is beaten down for his acting abilities so much(and maybe he deserves it) that seeing him in this was a nice surprise. I give the man credit…he seems to do what he wants and doesn’t take every crumb and shat upon script that comes his way(I’m looking at you, Nic Cage.)

    I give it 4 empty shell casings out of 5.

    • Mate some great thoughts right there and great to hear from you! I agree with you that Wick was actually a pretty decent dude, I really dug when he admitted that yeh he was actually back in business ha.

      I hope the confirmed sequel is not a complete bust as I do wonder where they will go next with this character.

      • Apologies for the silence. I really appreciate your reviews and should show so in more commenting.

        A confirmed sequel? Hmm….well, as he stated he was back in business. I loved that he got himself another pup at the end. If they get a decent script with him getting back in the hitman game it could be quite good.

      • All good buddy, glad we can provide you with a few movie insights and hopefully share the love of a few films that are lesser known overseas. I think the lads that directed this one have been tapped for a new Ninja Turtles movie or something in that vein as well.

      • Ninja Turtles, huh? That could be interesting I suppose.

        The Reeves project I’m waiting on is the new Bill and Ted movie. A film showing them as grown up, middle-aged men will be something to behold.

        Has ‘It Follows’ made its way to you guys yet? That’s one I’m really excited about.

      • Oh yeh dude ha I actually forgot that is happening! Lets hope it’s not a fail like the newest Dumb and Dumber.

        It Follows looks pretty fantastic, I reckon that one is right in line with Jordan’s tastes. To be honest though my feelings are that it will be a direct to DVD release here, Aus struggles with those niche horror flicks.

      • Lets hope for not another Dumb and Dumberer fiasco.

        I’m hoping It Follows makes its way to a theater near me. If anything, I’ll own the S/T on vinyl. Ha

  2. I just couldn’t get behind this movie throughout it, probably for the fact that The Raid has ruined how I view all other action movies. Not only that but I just wanted more out of Keanu, the movie was an alright time but I was just expecting too much I guess.

  3. Hi Eddie – great review as usual. I loved this one, Stahelski and co just got the tone exactly right, and if there is a sequel (as it seems there will be) then I hope Stahelski and co-director David Leith and Reeves are back together to continue the good work…

  4. Good review Eddie. Had fun with this movie, of course. But most of all, I was happy to see Reeves back in his full-on, ass-kicking form.

  5. How is it that Keanu is so damned likeable when his skills are, frankly, minimal? He can be shocking, yet I will always want to watch him! Always.

    I enjoyed this movie, even after the heartbreaking dog scene. Thanks for another great review!

  6. I got to watch this film with a bunch of people who take martial arts. They were impressed with the real-to-life martial arts moves that were incorporated into the film, which made it enjoyable for me. Overall, it is what it is. 3 out of 5 is about right. I think the biggest benefit was limiting Keanu Reeves’ dialog. When he does speak, I was usually cringing…

    • Yeh it sounds like ole Keanu did a lot of his own stunt work which is cool. I agree with his limited dialogue ha, that is what he needs to be given in all his roles.

  7. Great work Eddie! I must say that I absolutely loved this movie – it had everything I wanted from an action. It looked great, had a fantastic soundtrack, the choreography was phenomenal and Reeves was just so worth watching. I had FUN, and that is the most important. A sequel…? I actually don’t know how I feel about this…

  8. Pingback: Film Review – John Wick: Chapter 2 (2017) | Jordan and Eddie (The Movie Guys)·

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