REVIEW – ‘John Wick’

Written by J.T. Johnson

4-12-stars

ORIGINAL RELEASE DATE: October 24, 2014
DIRECTORS: Chad Stahelski, David Leitch
CINEMATOGRAPHY: Jonathan Sela
WRITER: Derek Kolstad
MUSIC: Tyler Bates, Joel J. Richard

Two years ago, Keanu Reeves made a comeback of sorts with “John Wick”, a moderately budgeted action flick that did okay in theaters. However, it was on home video where it truly found its audience. Unfortunately for me, I didn’t get to catch it in theaters.

2014 was the year I really dialed back on reviewing movies. It also didn’t help that this movie came and went from the theaters. I finally got to watch the movie last year, but despite a few false starts, I wasn’t really writing any Retro Reviews anymore, either.

Now I’m back reviewing movies (on a more full-time basis) and the fact that “John Wick: Chapter 2” is heading our way early, I thought I’d take another look at the movie. All I can say is that the movie is still a fun thrill ride and it pumps me up even more for John’s eventual return in the sequel.

The story is simple in nature. John Wick is a man who has just lost his wife. Knowing she was going to die, John’s wife gave him a puppy to cope with her passing. Unfortunately, some nasty Russian thugs decide to break into John’s house, steal his car, and kill his dog.

What they don’t know is that John is also a legendary assassin that had retired when he married his wife. John quietly digs up his guns and prepares to go to war not only with the thugs, but the crime family that one of them belongs to.

“Wick” is an old school revenge film with plenty of violence to be had on the journey. However, the movie also opens up to a surprisingly bigger world. In order to try and find more information, John travels to the Continental, a neutral-site hotel for assassins headed up by Ian McShane’s Winston.

This fraternity of assassins is barely explored, but you are appropriately given enough to service the plot and give you the sense of something bigger. Then, there is the action. From the moment John picks his guns back up, shit goes down in a big way.

There are several shootouts that also involve a ton of martial arts when the bullets run out. Reeves was born to play this role due to the things he learned while making “The Matrix” trilogy. Unlike “The Matrix”, though, the fights here are more brutal and based more on realism than style.

Overall, “John Wick” is a fantastic action film, no questions asked. I was pleasantly surprised when I saw this movie. Due to the success of the movie on home media, we’re finally getting a sequel.

Hey, if they can make seven “Fast and Furious” movies (with an eighth on the way), then they can definitely make a few more chapters for John Wick. If you haven’t had the chance to experience this movie, then you owe it to yourself to watch it at least once. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

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