John Wick Movie Review

john wick, review, movie, Laser Time

John Wick is probably the most generic movie title since John Carter (followed closely by John Q) but don’t let that deter you. John Wick is by far my favorite action movie from the last 10 years. This film came out of nowhere, and after accidentally watching the trailer, I was immediately sold on its premise.

Full disclosure: I am a closet Keanu Reeves fan, and due to this, I enjoyed his recent films 47 Ronin and Man of Tai Chi. To me, Keanu is the type of actor who thrives in specific roles that require brief dialogue and rely more on his screen presence. When he is in films that do not fit that criteria, his performance suffers (Dracula and Much Ado about Nothing); luckily, this is the former, not the latter.

John Wick is co-directed by first time directors David Leitch and Chad Stahelski, but both are seasoned stunt actors with an impressive resume featuring films like 300, Serenity, and Fight Club. After viewing this film, I would never have guessed that this was their first time in the director’s chair. They waste no time introducing us to Keanu as John Wick. He looks like he has seen better days, watching a video of his wife on his blood-soaked cell phone as he slowly falls to the ground, holding his stomach from what is presumed a gunshot wound.The film then jumps back in time and shows John with his terminally ill wife, played by Bridgette Moynahan (I, Robot), as she slowly passes away in a hospital room–but not before she leaves him a gift in the form of a dog to keep him company once she is gone.

john wick, review, movie, Laser Time

Next we see John having a chance encounter at a gas station with up-and-coming Russian mafia gangster Losef Tarasov, played perfectly by Alfie Allen (Game of Thrones), who offers to buy John’s car. When John refuses, Losef takes it as a sign of disrespect and decides to break into John’s house, brutally beat him, kill his dog, and take his car. What Losef didn’t know was that John used to be his fathers best hitman: he was so good that he earned the nickname “Boogey Man.” Since Losef killed the last thing on earth that John cared about, he decides to come out of retirement and seek revenge on Losef and any one else who gets in his way, including Losef’s father boss Viggo Tarasov, played by Swedish actor Michael Nyqvist (Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.) His performance at times reminded me of actor Christoph Waltz (Inglorious Basterds), which isn’t a bad thing…but I did wonder if it was intentional or accidental. But overall, it wasn’t distracting and did’t hurt the film.

I know its premise has been done to death in Hollywood in films like Man on Fire and Revenge, but what differentiates this film from the rest is its realistic approach to its action. This is not a dramatic character study of a man with nothing to loose; it’s an action movie about a guy with nothing to lose, and a gun. Lots of guns actually. When John is dispatching Russian mobsters, he does it so naturally that it doesn’t feel choreographed. He doesn’t make it  flashy; he just makes it death. This is definitely not The Raid.

john wick, review, movie, Laser Time

What is equally awesome are the shootouts and gunplay that reminded me of the great bullet ballet master Chow Yun Fat. I know that’s a bold statement, but every double tap and headshot is so fluid that it also reminded me of the “gun kata” from Equilibrium, toned down to a more realistic application. John is a professional, and thus he never does an unnecessary reload, making sure every bullet counts. Competent application of tactics. Thank you.

The only negative thing I can say about this film isn’t really a negative at all, but a necessary compromise to keep the film moving along. This film has the best ensemble cast of an action movie since Expendables 2.

This film has William Defoe (Antichrist), Dean Winters (Oz), John Leguazamo (Summer of Sam), Ian McShane (Deadwood), Lance Reddick (The Wire), and Clarke Peters (The Wire.) This is the John Wick show, so I understand why they had to take a back seat, but I just can’t get enough of Ian McShane, and he is barely used in this film. It feels like a missed opportunity had he been cast in the role of Viggo, but due to his age, some scenes and action set pieces towards the end of this film would have to be toned down or ultimately cut. Go watch Deadwood, and you will understand my love for him as an actor. Better yet, just YouTube the words “hoople head.”

john wick, review, movie, Laser Time

I could go on for days about what I loved in this film, because it really is that good. So let me offer you action junkies the following to help you decide if it’s worth your time: a night club shootout, a hotel exclusively for assassins, fast muscle cars, an amazing score, exotic weapons, and more headshots than any other film I have ever seen, including Rambo 4.  Yes, films like Safe and Replacement Killers had these, but John Wick is the next evolution of those set pieces, and you owe it to yourself to experience them.

I am giving this film a “must see” recommendation, and I highly urge all fellow Keanu fans to go support this film. It really is that good.

Article by contributor Moan4Stallone.

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7 thoughts on “John Wick Movie Review

  1. Eh, I actually didn’t like this film very much. Yeah, the action’s pretty cool and it’s by far the best thing about the film. But while I’m not asking for smart or complex stories in action films like these, I do ask at the very least for some consistency and brains.

    For a setting which is filled with so many professional assassins and seasoned Criminal bosses, they sure made a lot of stupid choices that go against what people in their profession should do. Leaving people alive when they have no reason at all to, meeting with people that you KNOW have reason to screw you over, with no backup plan at all.Again, not asking for a lot of brains or even realism here, but if you’re setting up an universe that’s meant to be populated by professionals and badasses, doing those kinds of mistakes really bothers me in a big way.

    I also think that casting big actors for very minor roles actually is more distracting than it is enjoyable. For what very little they do, John Leguizamo and Ian McShane’s characters could have been played by anyone else, and it wouldn’t have really made a difference.

    I guess I would be far more forgiving of these flaws if the movie went all out with it’s action scenes and stupidity, so at least I now I shouldn’t even try to take it seriously, (Like say, the Raid movies in terms of plot.) but the movie plays itself so damn straight for even a lot of it’s action scenes, that it’s hard for me not to demand their characters to make more logical and consistent actions in return.

    1. Sir you have offended my pride, my sensibilities, and my overwhelming love for this movie. I’m afraid we must now duel to the death.

      1. Very well sir, you set the time and the date, I’ll set the location.Uruapan Mexico, feel free to let me know when you come pay me a visit 😉

        Seriously though, I’m sorry I don’t share your love for this movie, but again, this movie makes it very hard for me to love when it even brings attentions to it’s own problems and inconsistencies. At one point, John Wick gets injured and gets medical assistance, and when being patched up, he’s told still he shouldn’t move much or his wound will reopen and start bleeding all over the place, the doctor also gives him a medicine that will allow him to function normally DESPITE this, but it’s obvious that the wound would still reopen, and that also that pill’s effect shouldn’t last him an entire day or more, even though Wick acts like normal regarding said wound for the remainder of the film.

        Now, I know this is commonplace in action movies. Action heroes get injured all the time with stuff that shouldn’t let them continue, but they do anyways against all realism. What makes it bad for me here is that instead of shrugging it of and letting the viewer accept that it’s “that kind of movie”. They instead bring attention to his wounds, give him conditions on what he should or shouldn’t do… And then he proceeds over like that scene never happened. Making that scene be completely pointless and distracting.

        Also, while I’m here, this is the second time that I’ve made a post in this site, and when I try to check the article I made said post in, it tells me “404 page not found” If I’m logged into my account. But it’s still very much accessible otherwise. IS someone blocking me access to articles? If so, that’s not very nice, man…

        1. I think the film you want has already been made with Clive Owen (Shoot em up) so I gave this film a pass on the dramatic incosistances because it was trying to do its own thing. The site sometimes does the “error page” if you click on the photo and not the continue reading tab. Promise im not blocking you and enjoyed your opinions on this film.

          1. Heh, I do remember enjoying Shoot ’em up a lot precisely by how shamelessly stupid it was. It’d also why I seem to be one of the very few people that loved the A-Team remake. And in contrast kinda hate the Bourne, Red and expendables series. If you’re going to break reality and logic, at least go all the way, don’t just take half steps.

            And see, that’s where we disagree, aside from the action sequences, I DON’T feel like John Wick is doing it’s own thing at all. Every plot point and “twist” is something you’ve seen a thousand times before, and I didn’t feel it was stylistically that different from other revenge movies in tone. It’s hard for me to care about a story that not only I’ve seen before, but it’s so damn inconsistent besides.

            Huh, you’re right, it only happens when I click the picture. That’s weird though, because it only happens in SOME articles, not all. Well, glad to know it’s just an odd quirk, and one really bi-passed besides.

  2. The best reason to see John Wick were the action scenes. You said it best that unlike The Raid and The Raid 2, the action was emphasized on John killing people quickly and efficiently. Plus, there is something nice about actually seeing the action in an action movie. Also, I enjoyed Reeves performance and the assassin world shown in the film.

    John Wick came out of nowhere on my radar and I’m glad I saw it. This and Raid 2 were my two favorite action films this year.

    1. Speaking of out of nowhere films; Stretch from Director Joe Carnahan (Smoking Aces) is a dumb, funny but enjoyable film. Plus its got “Tha Hoff” and Ray Liota in it and it is currently on Netflix streaming. I had no idea he was still making films after his Ateam reboot. He did give us Narc thou! Thanks for checking out my article Sir.

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