Director: David Leitch, Chad Stahelski
Screenwriter: Derek Kolstad, Joel Zadak
Cast: Michael Nyqvist, Keanu Reeves, Alfie Allen, Willem Dafoe, Adrianne Palicki, Dean Winters, Ian McShane
Duration: 101 mins
LionsGate Entertainment: Official Site for the John Wick Movie
US Release: Frid, Oct 24 2014
Rated: R (for strong and bloody violence througout, language and brief drug use)
John Wick Dispenses Some Amazing Artistic Violence
John Wick is a retired assassin who has left his weapons and violent past behind a thick slab of concrete all in the name of love. It would only be a few short years though before he finds himself taking on the mantle of vegeance and temporarily assuming the assassin’s creed.
After a peaceful few years with the love of his wife she passes away in front of him after a long struggle with cancer. Before dieing though she arranges a parting gift to be delivered. A cute beagal puppy named Daisy that John quickly warms to.
One night John wakes up and heads downstairs. Three thieves take him by surprise with a baseball bat. Himself beaten unconscious, his ultra-cool Mustang stolen and his dog brutally killed. He doesn’t take it well.
The rest of the movie follows John’s blood and body strewn path till he extracts the satisfaction he was seeking. A stylish, kinetic, eye-opening and jaw-dropping thrill ride.
John discovers that one of his assailants is the son of his former Russian mob boss Viggo Tarasov (Michael Nyqvist). Viggo, wanting to avert the descending maelstrom on his son, sends 12 men to kill John Wick. In an action scene that would normally be reserved for the climatic end of a movie it serves here as a mere appetizer. John chews through them with his mesmerising gun-fu skills. Brutal takedowns with Wick’s signature elegant sparseness.
When Viggio puts an open contract out on Wick two assassins step into the picture. The cautious sniper Marcus (Willem Dafoe) and the unrelenting Perkins (Adrianne Palicki). Both fail, however, to take down Wick setting up the scene for Viggo and Wick to go mano a mano. To have the genial and well-groomed Viggo fighting the juggernaught John Wick, however, is a gigantuan stretch of the imagination.
The movie isn’t without humor. John Wick has a past and reputation that makes the Russian mob boss cringe and shudder. This sets up a funny scene between Viggo and his son Iosef (Alfie Allen). Even after an elaborate story culminating with John being likened to a boogie man killer Iosef fails to take it seriously.
The whole crime ridden underbelly of the movie is an interesting one. Gold coins that grant you accommodation in a hotel that caters to assassins. Requests for dry cleaning or a dinner reservation having veiled meanings.
I do like Nyqvist’s portrayal of Viggo in the movie. For those who don’t recognize him he is the crusading journalist in the Swedish version of the movie, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. He did really carry some of the scenes well in a memorable and funny way.
The weapons in the movie are way cool and they sound awesome to the point where you wonder if the sound guys went to town on them. John sports a number of weapons including a handgun for close range work and a rifle on top of a rooftop across from Iosef’s Brooklyn hideout.
The fighting scenes are incredible. A mix of judo, jujitsu, a Russian sport called Sambo and even wrestling and strangling thrown in for good measure. Wick specializes in gun fu, the style of close-quarters gunplay popularized by Hong Kong action movies. Think Equilibrium.
Keanu Reeves steps into the spotlight and proves once again that when in his element he is infinitely watchable. The almost supernatural skills his character possesses and his all-black outfit reminiscient of his Neo days. Perhaps now some of the major studios will seriously consider him again for the roles they have.
John Wick the movie is a fired-up and ferocious fair delivering action on a grand scale. The movie having a way of making you feel up close to all the mayhem on the screen. A front row seat to fights, stabbings and shoot-outs. Phew!