Overview/ Review (with Spoilers)
While John Wick certainly isn’t something to be considered noteworthy in terms of the violence, choreography, or story, like the majority of action movies released, it is a decent way to spend almost two hours of your lifespan.
John Wick (Keanu Reeves) | Marcus (Willem Dafoe) | Viggo (Michael Nyqvist) | Iosef (Alfie Allen) | Helen (Bridget Moynahan)
Characters & Storyline
After an illustrious career, John decided to settle down and get married. However, with his wife Helen’s death, and then Viggo’s son Iosef deciding to not only take his care, one of his main tools for coping, but killing the puppy his wife left for him, John comes out of retirement. Thus leading to a quest for revenge which brings out old friends like Marcus, who seemingly was a loved peer, and a lot of guns, bullets and knives.
Things To Note | Question(s) Left Unanswered
There are more headshots in this movie then you will experience if you were playing a shooter game.
It’s Mindless Entertainment
The longer I do reviews the more I have learned that you can’t put two films of the same genre side by side and fairly judge them. For while this film has less story than even XXX: The Return of Xander Cage, it is because it cuts most of that fat out. It is assumed you already know who John Wick is because everyone else does. So, with that, we get to learn why John Wick is legendary by watching him work. So while there is the noted dead wife, some sort of friendship with Marcus, and him being the reason Viggo has the empire he has, there isn’t any tricks or secrets here. You are, for a lack of a better way of putting it, given the bare minimum to understand why John is going on a rampage and invited for one violent ride.
On The Fence
It’s Like Watching Someone Play a Video Game that Skips Most of the Cutscenes
Me personally, I’m fine with there being just enough story to get the point. However, I could imagine someone wanting to know more about Marcus’ relationship with John and whether he trained him, got him his first jobs, or was his eyes and ears with his sniper rifle. Also, considering how Viggo had blackmail material on a slew of people, it would have been cool to see how deep were the roots of his organization in that city and where they ended up. Also, it would have been nice to really get to know Helen better so her death had more of an effect on you or to see John with the puppy more before it died.
Yet, at the same time, I don’t look to Keanu Reeves and think: “He is going to make me feel something, if not cry.” No, like many, I see him as one of the top action stars of this generation. So while all the above would have been nice, so comes the question if Reeves could have pulled it off, much less the rest of the cast, and would there have been an adequate balance of the action and the character development/ world building?
Overall: Positive (Worth Seeing)
What makes this film good is that it plays to its hero’s strong suit. They don’t try to make him a ladies’ man nor pretend he is a well-skilled dramatic actor. Keanu Reeves is an action hero and they give you just enough about him, and everyone involved, so you know what place they have in his life. After that, it is one shootout after another. Which, in the general scope of things, would have left this movie as something labeled “Mixed.” Yet, when you just look at this as an action movie, it is probably one of the most entertaining I’ve seen in a bit. To the point, I wish they did make a video game out of this.