John Wick (2014)


Dave’s 3-Word Review:
I know Gun-Fu

You can hate Keanu Reeves all you want, dear reader, but I’m a fan of his. Sure, he has some really stupid and really cheesy roles out there, but I haven’t really seen anything that I’ve hated, per se. Recently, he’s been slowly going back to his glory days of The Matrix, as I’ve seen him in more and more fighting-type films. John Wick is clearly where it’s all at though, as many people have said this was his best film since his days as Mr. Anderson – a.k.a. Neo. I don’t know if I really agree, but I will say this – John Wick is just gnarly fun.

This film stars Keanu Reeves as the title character – John Wick. A seemingly normal dude that recently lost the love of his wife to cancer. Her last act before passing was giving her widower a cute little puppy to be able to grieve without having to be alone in the process. When a gang of Russian criminals break into his house to steal his car, they kill the dog in the process – leaving a very angry John Wick. Turns out before he was married, he was the toughest hitman around, and out of everyone on earth, these Russians just messed with the wrong guy.

To be absolutely truthful here, the movie is a little tacky. It’s ultimately a big production, action-filled romp about a guy getting revenge for his puppy. It really is tacky when you think about it, but for some reason…that’s awesome! It very well knows how ridiculous and silly it is, and because of that, it really works. The film starts out and you do really like his character. There is quite a bit of heart to it – even if you wouldn’t expect there to be. The very foundation of the thing is built on an emotional breaking point – and I think they pulled it off pretty cleverly. Even though it is tacky for a movie – if you went through the same thing he just did…it’s not so hard to imagine you doing the same things he does as well.

Now, I knew this would be action oriented, I just didn’t know to what extent. Is it non-stop action – is it Kung-Fu, is it gun stuff…I wanted an idea – so I’ll give you one instead. It’s not completely non-stop in its action. The stuff in-between is your very basic revenge plot and tracking down the bad guys material. The fighting itself had a strong focus on gun-fu – which is basically a lot of gun fights that are mesmerizing to look at – simply because of the choreography. That choreography is the film’s best weapon – and Keanu in the lead just made it that much better. Him twirling and rolling around with gun in hand was just too much fun to ignore.

That being said, the story isn’t the best. It’s unique, but also very stereotypical. It’s very close to you killed my father, prepare to die. – which has been seen a thousand times before – especially in martial arts flicks. In that sense, it’s kind of predictable. You can have fun with this movie as much as you want, but when it comes down to brass tax, you have something that is ultimately predictable and not entirely original.

The Good:

I don’t know about you, but I like to watch Keanu Reeves kick butt. In whatever role he’s in, let’s see this guy grace the screen by killing a bunch of bad guys. I don’t care how bad or stupid a movie is – he’s really good at that.

The Bad:

When it comes right down to it, John Wick follows a very typical formula for revenge plot movies. There’s nothing in the film that constitutes a surprise – so you have to ask yourself what’s better? Can you enjoy a movie even though you know how it will end if the road there is a lot of fun? Who knows? Everyone is different.

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