[FILM] John Wick

John Wick - Poster

“John Wick doesn’t need to speak to you when all he wants to do is shoot everyone in the face.”

 

John Wick, a former mob hitman, is forced out of retirement in order to track down, and brutally murder, the gangsters who took everything from him. That’s it. That’s the entire storyline. You don’t need to know anything else, but do not let that deter you. Despite the simplicity of the premise and the sometimes sub-standard script, John Wick is an absolute belter of an action flick.

Keanu Reeves (The Matrix) stars as the professional killer Wick, who had managed to escape the life of organised crime once before, but finds himself unable to resist the lure of one last killing spree, brought on by the fact that he feels he has nothing left to lose. And if, having watched the first twenty minutes of this film, you don’t somewhat understand the rationale behind his murderous rampage, then you, sir or madam, are impenitently devoid of all feels.

Reeves is cast perfectly as the tortured, but primarily emotionless Wick, and the fact that he barely has more than an A4 page worth of dialogue certainly suits him, because John Wick doesn’t need to speak to you when all he wants to do is shoot everyone in the face.

You made me bleed my own blood. GRR.

You made me bleed my own blood. GRR.

The main target of his ire though, is a delightful chap by the name of Iosef Tarasov, as played by Alfie Allen (Game of Thrones), and by extension his mob boss father, Viggo Tarasov, brought to life by Michael Nyqvist (Europa Report). Allen has a knack for playing the snivelling, slightly unbalanced characters, and is quite convincing as the spoiled and materialistic would-be heir to the crime dynasty. Other familiar faces include Willem Dafoe (The Grand Budapest Hotel) and Adrianne Palicki (Agents of SHIELD) as fellow hitmen (and women), along with Ian McShane (Deadwood, etc.) as the Hotel Continental’s proprietor. With an impressive cast, the entirety of which I instantly recognised, John Wick became a film that I decided I had more than a passing, courteous interest in.

Not just the pre-requisite eye candy. I CAN DO STUFF TOO.

Not just the prerequisite eye candy. I CAN DO MURDER TOO.

The main reason for giving this one a whirl though, is of course, the action. Undoubtedly the product of two stuntmen directors (Chad Stahelski, David Leitch), the action sequences are frequent, and a lot of fun. Stylistically, I feared that this level and type of violence could easily take a sharp turn down Comic Book Lane, but it never did. Throughout the choreography remained clear, sharp, often inelegant, but always engaging. The close-quarters gun combat gave each sequence an immediate, dangerous feel, and the stunt work from all involved, Reeves included, was very impressive.

It certainly doesn’t take place in our realistic world as we know it, and there are other elements of the setting that I might have liked to see explored more extensively. The script, in general, left a little to be desired and was often predictable, but then, revenge themed films usually are. Having said all that, we watch flicks like these for pure, unadulterated, action entertainment. John Wick will give you that – it’s cool, it’s slick, it’s gun-slinging, total shoot ’em up madness. And if that’s what you’re into, then you’ll definitely be into this.

 

IMDB Rating: 7.2
Do I agree?: Oh, yes. Move over Neeson, because there’s a new middle-aged martial arts messiah in town.

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65 replies

  1. I saw this film before I left Canada. It’s fantastic. And I do so love to see bad stuff happen to Alfie Allen hahaha.

    The setting is brilliant and I’d love an RPG campaign in it! I do wish they’d explored it a bit more but you can’t stray too much with revenge plots.

    I think they’re doing a sequel. Maybe we’ll get to see more of this underworld.

    Did you get to see The Equalizer with Denzel? It’s the same style of film and quite badass

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha poor Alfie! What is it about him that makes us rejoice in his pain!? Is it his face? :D

      Snap! I was thinking throughout it that if it was a game, I would DEFINITELY play it. Really interesting elements. A sequel would be cool. Also, something centred around the Hotel Continental.

      Haven’t seen The Equalizer yet. It’s on the list though, have heard good things. Plus, Denzel.

      Like

      • Yeah,I think more than a sequel it needs spin-offs. The world seems strong enough to support those, especially around the Hotel Continental. The concept is fantastic.

        And if I do get a game going on this. I’ll be sure to let you know hahaha

        The Equalizer is very good. Rather than a revenge plot is more of a social justice one, though taken literally and to the extreme as Hollywood is fond of doing. But Denzel kicks all kinds of asses and never once raises his voice. Instead he’s cool and collected.

        I reviewed it last year if you’d like to have a look at my review. It’s yet another review I need to rework into my current review format. Gotta love HTML boxes and shiny colours :)

        Like

        • Indeed, think of how much fun you could have with a concept like that. I bet the writer had it a lot more fleshed out to be honest, even the hotel receptionist/manager (Lance Reddick) is called Charon, who as we all know is the ferryman of Hades. Definitely more lore in there somewhere!

          I think I remember your Equalizer review actually, but I’ll head over for a refresher anyway! Yeah your new reviewing format is definitely nice on the eye. :)

          Liked by 1 person

  2. i wanted to see this film when it was first released, but none of my friends were in to it… apparently their bourgeois palettes demand more than angry men shooting angrily…
    The first paragraph of this review, though, has made it clear i need to see it. Soon. Nice one!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ah, sometimes all you need is a lot of angry men shooting angrily. You should definitely see this. Brainless fun abound, but, it’s good-looking brainless fun. With lots of guns and head shots. :D I hope you enjoy!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I had a lot fun watching this movie. The action felt pretty fresh, some cool stunts that I haven’t seen done before. Like the above commenter mentioned, it’ll be great to see more of the assassin underworld in a sequel or even a prequel. Poor puppy! Love watching Keanu go on a rampage haha!

    Liked by 1 person

    • A prequel would be awesome. Definitely something I would watch. Plus you could get all the dead hitmen back. :D Action carnage. And that puppy… agh. Though now I want a beagle! Keanu was great in this, have to say. It’s nice to see him back and kicking arse, not just on screen, but in the box office, too.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I really liked this movie. The opening gives you a bit of a kick in the guts with what transpires to set him off on his vengeance spree but by the end of it you’re just marveling at how many different ways he can shoot someone in the face. Great review! :)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, that opening. Even though I knew it was going to happen, in my head I was still screaming, “Nononono don’t do it, please no, anything but that!” But to be fair, it provided some serious black comedic moments afterward. A big kill count in this one, and some interesting kills too. So glad I’m not the only one who enjoyed the crap out of this. Always great to hear from you!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Great review! I’m not a huge fan of Keanu Reeves, but since he doesn’t talk much I think I’ll try this when it comes out on dvd😀

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’ll let you in on a little secret, Kim. I love Keanu. I’m not totally sure why, either, but I just love him, and I’ll give most films he’s in a try, even though he’s been in a lot of stinkers. John Wick though, definitely exceeded all of my expectations. It was a perfect role for him, and if you like your action, you’ll like this. Definitely worth the rental!

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  6. John Wick was fucking awesome and so are you!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. SPOILER IN THIS COMMENT!!!!

    I love how Keanu Reeves has never done emotion before, until he asked to be in a movie about a dog dying and then he is incredible. Touching some nerve, I think…

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Brilliant review V, may have to check this movie out.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Think this one’ll be a rent for me, good review V!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Hi V! I’ve always been a Keanu fan, he’s charismatic despite not being the most emotive actor. This movie absolutely rocks, love all the crazy action and the dynamic soundtrack!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Same, Ruth! I think he’s great and I never really understood all the hate. A charismatic man on-screen, and seemingly a heart of gold off it. Loved this one, hopefully it means we’ll see more of Action!Keanu in the future. :)

      Liked by 1 person

      • Amen on what you said about Keanu!! Yes let’s hope there’ll be more John Wick movies. Amazing how he still looks about 35 and obviously can still kicks arse! :D

        Liked by 1 person

        • I was just saying how amazed I was by the fact that Keanu is fifty! 50!? He’d put us all to shame! To be honest it just makes me like him all the more. :D

          I’d be delighted with another John Wick film. Some sort of prequel would be all kinds of cool, too.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Oooh I like the prequel idea and really, Keanu never ages anyway so he could really pull off John Wick at any age, ahah. He’s such a nice guy in real life too, how could anyone even dislike the guy??

            Liked by 1 person

  11. I have a soft spot for older guys (can’t believe I’m using that term if reference to Keanu Reeves) who can still kick some serious ass when provoked. Liam Neeson is the current king of that genre and my favorite, mostly because he and I are nearly the same age. But we can’t forget Denzel Washington who also has some serious props in that regard (Man on Fire, The Equalizer).

    Ah, as I comfortably sit in my recliner reading blogs and writing comments, I find myself drifting away to a dark alley in a seedy side of town. There I see an aging, round and red-haired man standing between a beautiful middle-aged woman and a trio of young punks. His legs are spread shoulder wide and his fists are clenched as he explains to them that messing with him and his lady would be the start of a very bad evening for all three of them.

    “Do you feel lucky punk? Well, do ya?”

    Oops, back to reality. I think I’ll go get another Oreo double stuff cookie. :)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Can you believe Keanu is 50!? I’m still in shock. The guy is in serious shape. Neeson and Denzel are great, too. Stellar examples that you don’t have to be a young buck to kick arse in a Hollywood blockbuster. There’s hope for all of us yet, JF.

      Though my Dad’s favourite is still Jason Statham. :D

      I take it the Dirty Harry-esque daydream followed by the Oreo double stuffed cookie means the Paleo diet is no more? ;)

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Well, Linda thinks that the Paleo thing is still in play but, since she no longer makes me wear the body cam, I have a lot more latitude.

    “Hope for all of us?” Hope for me maybe. You…you’re at the beginning of your arse-kicking years. I would love to see you star in a Hollywood blockbuster as a blond, catsuit wearing, MI-6 agent assigned as a liaison to S.H.E.I.L.D. Move over Scarlett Johansson. V just took your spot.

    Liked by 1 person

    • This is now my new daytime fantasy. I can totally see it. I’m currently surfing through my music libraries to find the appropriate theme song for myself. I always fancied ACDC’s “Back in Black”, but that’s Iron Man’s now, so I may go with Guns N’ Roses’ “Welcome to the Jungle”. What do you think?

      As for the diet, I’m so impressed that you’ve lasted this long, you obviously have great discipline. ;P

      We all need our treats, though! I don’t know what I’d do without my wine and chocolate.

      Like

      • Good choice, but what about AC/DC’s T.N.T.?

        It’s awesome that the same bands I listened to in the 70’s are still touring and recording today. Van Halen, AC/DC/, Black Sabbath…it takes me back. Good Lord young lady, you weren’t even a gleam in your father’s eye when AC/DC was doing the Back in Black tour. That’s music that endures. Guns N’ Roses, that was my son’s favorite band. I think he still has some concert t-shirts in his closet.

        Wine and Chocolate? Do you indulge simultaneously or does one lead to the other? :)

        Liked by 1 person

        • I can consume separately or together, though I much prefer the latter!

          T.N.T. is a great idea. I’ve actually seen ACDC live here before, and they’re back in Dublin for another gig this summer too, but alas, no tickets left. And GNR was one of my favourite bands as a child, too! I’ve seen both Axl (awful) and Slash (brilliant) live, although separately, because they’d broken up long before I was old enough to go and see them. :D You guys have good taste.

          Oh, and I saw The Who, too! That was brilliant. But for now I’m going to throw Billy Idol’s “Rebel Yell” into the mix for my possible theme tune, because it just came on my iTunes playlist randomly, and it feels appropriate.

          Like

  13. “John Wick doesn’t need to speak to you when all he wants to do is shoot everyone in the face.” <— that line is so damn good I thought it was from the movie. Hahah that was damn funny V.

    Great read, too. I feel I was a bit hard on this one but I just saw his character as too freaking indestructible. Oh well. We all have to have a nit-picky review every now and then, right? ;)

    Toodles.

    Liked by 1 person

    • To be honest with you, I can completely understand why you were hard on it! In the beginning, everyone is talking about how invincibly bad-ass Wick is. Like he’s some sort of demon, not of this Earth. This went on for a while, and I initially thought there might be a serious whiff of “Gary-Stu” off him. Then, he just keeps going. He falls off a balcony, one whole storey, and he keeps kicking arse. He is indestructible. I quickly forgave all of that though, because I just loved it. :D

      Thanks Tom! One of my favourite parts of reviewing is picking a random quote to lead with. That way, people don’t have to read the whole review if they don’t want to, because the quote at the top usually sums up how I feel about the film I’m reviewing. At least, that’s my logic behind it, anyway!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh wow so that line is from the movie? I don’t remember it but either way, that’s funny!

        Yeah I want to watch this again pretty badly. The way you set about describing it as a film that knows exactly what it wants and plans to be has me rethinking my approach to reviewing it. So cheers to that! I always like having an opportunity to rethink something.

        Liked by 1 person

  14. Ah yes, this was a good one. This definitely will be on the “surprisingly great” list when I do my catch-up post soon. Also, a belated “Welcome Back, V!”

    Like

  15. I still haven’t watched this yet, but I’m changing that really soon. I’ve been collecting movies to watch all day and John Wick is in the collection :].

    Great review.

    Like

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