John Wick (R) - Runtime: 101 minutes
Starring: Keanu Reeves, Michael Nyqvist
Director: David Leitch, Chad Stahelski
Writer: Derek Kolstad
Well this came out of nowhere. What looked like a silly B-level action movie for a struggling star turns out to be one of the best movies this year. No jokes. Keanu Reeves as the titular hero, John Wick, blasts through thousands of bad guys at a blistering pace. And it is awesome.
Normally I am not a fan of these types of action movies - where there's a razor thin plot that is there just to provide an excuse for explosions, guns and lots of fighting. I have not even bothered to check out any of the Expendables movies simply because I don't think I could tolerate it. Not to say that those movies aren't awesome or something to be loved, I just cannot get into them. John Wick, however, held my attention throughout and was simply amazing.
Part of it has to do with the simplicity of the plot and characters: Wick's puppy from his dead fiance gets killed by some punk mafia kid and he's out for revenge and to serve justice to the people he once worked for. It's enough for the movie to keep churning. The movie kind of builds up to its first action scene and just becomes this nice fun rollercoaster of ups and downs. The pacing is perfect - there's nice "breathers" in between the action so that the audience never gets tired of it.
And speaking of the action - it's near perfect. Keanu is a badass in this movie and the things he does with the gun and choreography are simply stunning. It doesn't hurt that the directors are longtime stuntmen who know their way around a fight. The fighting is beautiful and honestly, there's never a dull moment in this film. On top of the action, there's this really cool layer of a fleshed out world that just gets touched upon by the movie. There's a kind of a league of assassins in the movie and they have a neutral site at a hotel that they all commune at. They have their rules they all abide by and their own currency. It never gets fully explained and the movie is better off for it, which leaves a little bit of mystery and fleshes out the background a little more.
I can't wait to see this movie again - I feel like I didn't expect the action to be so good - so I feel like I missed a lot of the intricacies in all the carnage on screen. Which is an amazing feat for a movie - to make the audience feel like they need to see it again to catch everything. This is a phenomenal film and I'll be catching this one again soon!
RATING: A WICK-ED GOOD TIME