John Wick is a through and through action movie. It stars Keanu Reeves as the titular character, along with Michael Nyqvist, Alfie Allen, Adrianne Palicki, Bridget Moynahan, Dean Winters, Ian McShane, John Leguizamo and Willem Dafoe. The film is directed by Chad Stahelski and David Leitch, it’s written by Derek Kolstad.
Wick is a retired hitman seeking vengeance for a recent death. Throw in Keanu, a dance club scene, mafioso types and action upon action sequences and you have John Wick.
The good; this film knows what it is. Stahelski and Leitch used anime and martial arts films for the fight sequences, and it pays off. The camera isn’t shakey or tight on the action, there’s breathing room that allows me to enjoy the work and craftsmanship that went in to these sequences, for that I am grateful. This is the way a film should pay homage/tribute to certain genres (spaghetti westerns, anime, martial arts, Hong Kong cinema… etc), and not the lazy straight up lifting of portions of movies and inserting them in to another movie (Kill Bill…).
There’s also a nice tongue and cheek thing going on here. The subtitles are stylized to the point of comic book humor. Then there’s the whole build up to who Wick is, we don’t know anything about this guy and are only given peoples’ reactions when his name comes up. These moments have great comical effect as they build up. It’s nice to see that a film doesn’t take itself too seriously.
Keanu is on point here. It’s as if he just stepped off the set of The Matrix and did John Wick.
The bad; why did they need to have the beginning of the movie be the end of the movie? Or rather the beginning of the end. I thought this whole JJ Abrams trope was phased out of the film consciousness?? I never thought doing that added anything to anything to begin with. Kinda wish they’d edited that out of John Wick, cause the movie stands very well on its own that it doesn’t need that gimmick to get things going.
The trailers, horrible marketing, they buried this gem of a movie.
Overall, I highly recommend John Wick. I was fortunate to catch this at a second run theatre, wish I had seen it when it came out opening week. No worries though, this movie will make its money in the international market.
Kolstad’s screenplay was featured on the The Black List for best unproduced scripts of 2012. Glad it made it off of the list and on to the big screen.
Do yourself a favor and watch this film to see how action movies should be made.