Review: John Wick

Keanu Reeves is back in this high octane revenge shoot ’em up. Full of style and plenty of bloody carnage, I enjoyed it a lot.

When a crime-lord’s son takes a fancy for John Wick‘s car, he decides to steal it as well as murder John’s pet puppy, mere days after the tragic death of his wife. What he didn’t know, and his father certainly does, is that Wick is a retired hitman; one of the most ruthless and professional killers ever. Despite John having worked for the crime lord, will his cold vengeance remain limited to just the son’s life?

John Wick is one of those classic, by-the-numbers action shooters. We have a criminal element that even has the cliche of a hot-headed crime-lord son who’s in over his head (played by Game of Thrones‘ Alfie Allen) we have scenes on a rain soaked graveyard, gunfights in neon-lit nightclubs and knife fights in the rain. There are plenty of reasons to say this film is cliche.
But I enjoyed it a lot. I think its because there’s very little narrative fluff and no padding, like forced romance subplots; it is as straight and narrow as you can get. Man is angry, he has an arsenal of guns and a hierarchy of bad guys to blast his way though. Though it does have a nice sense of dry humour running through it, usually coming from the fact that everyone in New York knows John Wick by reputation; the man can just stroll through people’s businesses and they know not to bother him.

And I have to say also… I personally don’t like dogs, but the producers of this film found one of the most adorable puppies available to star in the beginning of this film. I wasn’t convinced I would really care for all of our hero’s grievances when I heard the synopsis but damn… it was so cute!

I’ve always liked Reeves; Speed was one of those action films I watched frequently when I was younger alongside the likes of Die Hard with a Vengeance, and its great to see him here looking positively transformed. He looks grisly and hard, and the film doesn’t burden him with silly quips either. As one of Hollywood’s nicest guys, he really makes this film work, giving the character a total sense of apathy and reluctance to everything he’s doing; all the death and carnage, is just part of the course.

I recommend it to all action junkies. It isn’t rewriting any rules by a long shot, but compared to the grand scope of average modern shooters, this one is slick and styled enough to stand above them.


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