Friday, February 3, 2017

Movie Review: John Wick by Daniel Kilgallon

John Wick is a 2014 action film and the first directorial effort by Chad Stahelski, a veteran stunt coordinator who actually doubled for Keanu Reeves in the Matrix trilogy. Ironically, Reeves also stars as the title character in this movie. The supporting cast includes Michael Nyqvist, Game of Thrones’ Alfie Allen (aka Theon Greyjoy), Ian McShane and Willem Dafoe. It is worth pointing out that each of those actors has played an impressive villain at some point in their career and they have all delivered strong performances yet again, in their various roles in this movie.

I think it is more than fair to say, that all of the talent involved in this relatively low-budget production of John Wick came together to make a pretty awesome action movie. I can’t believe that I missed this when it first hit theaters two years ago; but looking back, I would say that this has got to be one of the most underrated films of what was a strong year for cinema in 2014.

John Wick (Keanu Reeves) is a former mob hit man who retired when he fell in love with his wife. Unfortunately, she passed away from illness just five years later, but she arranged for a puppy to be left with John in order to make him feel less lonely. Early on in the movie, a group of gangsters break into John’s house, steal his vintage ‘69 Mustang and end up killing his new dog in the process. Naturally, John Wick decides to come out of retirement, with a vengeance, to track down the gangsters who did this to him. 

John Wick is not a perfect film, but the straightforward plot and self-aware/over-the-top fight scenes, reminds us how action films should be made. This is a very re-watchable movie that has easily become one of my favorites that this genre has produced during the last decade or so. Keanu Reeves delivers his best performance since the original Matrix movie and completely kicks ass as the title character. The story here is simple enough to enjoy but also has a surprising amount of emotional scenes and strong acting. John Wick is just a blast of a movie that shouldn’t be missed by anybody who simply loves a fun, entertaining, action film. Hopefully Chapter 2 will build upon this overlooked success when it hits theaters next weekend.

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