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