John Wick is a mob hit man who, upon falling in love, quits. 5 years later, his wife dies and to make sure he's not alone she arranges for a dog to be brought to him after her death. Later, some men wanting his car break in and beat him up and kill his dog. When he recovers, he sets to get the ones who killed his dog. He learns that the leader is the son of his former employer. And the man wanting to protect his son, tries to take care of Wick but he's still as good as he was.
ActorsStarring: Keanu Reeves, Michael Nyqvist, Alfie Allen, Willem Dafoe, Dean Winters, Adrianne Palicki, Omer Barnea, Toby Leonard Moore, Daniel Bernhardt, Bridget Moynahan, John Leguizamo, Ian McShane, Bridget Regan, Lance Reddick, David Patrick Kelly, Clarke Peters, Kevin Nash
Review by: Bart Hartgring
Could this be one of the few movies in which Keanu Reeves actually appears to act well?
The director of John Wick, Chad Stahelski, was Keanu’s stunt double on The Matrix, and since worked his way into stunt co-ordinator on movies like 300, The Expendables, and The Hunger Games. This is his first time as director, teaming up again with Keanu.
The story’s premise is a simple one of maffia revenge, but what lifts it to a higher level for me is the excellent cinematography – it is simply a great action movie to watch. Yes the plot can certainly be challenged, yes the Russian mobster has a Swedish accent, yes it is not quite credible, etc. etc. If you go into it with a mindset of finding plotholes or looking for deeper meaning, you’ll love to hate it.
Take it as a straight up action movie, with enough plot and backstory to put it in a different league from e.g. your average Jason Statham flick, and with great action scenes, excellent photography and an immersive soundtrack, you might even start to think Keanu is not a bad actor after all.
- Does it have a hook? Sort of.
- Is it entertaining? Yes.
- Should you watch it? If you like a stylised action movie: yes.
A wildly generous 8/10.
Review by: Andy Hayler
This sees Keanu Reeve reprising his cool Neo persona from the Matrix in this revenge shoot-em-up action film. John Wick is a retired assassin, so when a yobbish gangster’s son steals John’s car and kills his dog (a parting gift from his dying wife no less) then you know that there will be consequences.
This film does not take itself too seriously, with a cartoonish body count and a plot that would not tax a dachshund. What it does possess is style – John wears a sharp suit while executing bad guys, and Mr Reeve’s limited acting range is not put under pressure as he despatches gangster left and right. There is a rather nice idea of a hotel catering to assassins – here they are free to relax when their day’s murdering is done, protected from one another by a code of conduct that forbids violence on the premises. The penalties for breaking that code are, as we discover, severe.
It all works pretty well, and Keanu still looks the part. The story loses its internal logic towards the end – the head gangster, well aware of the havoc John Wick can wreak, would surely not deliberately provoke him to a final paroxysm of violence? The only female character is a barely sketched-out assassin, so this is not a film where complex emotions are explored: it is about guns, old cars and killing men in a bar with a pencil.
If you like your action movies with a dash of style and the odd laconic one-liner then this one is for you