“John Wick” stars Keanu Reeves in a film that doesn’t try to do anything more than be a thoroughly enjoyable revenge movie with an enormous sense of style and visual flair.
Reeves plays the title character, a retired hitman who lost his wife due to a terminal illness. She leaves him with a brand-new puppy to keep him company. Before long, a gang of criminals attack John and make the fatal mistake of murdering the pup, and now John is out for revenge. The rest of the movie shows him getting vengeance.
He finds out that the criminals are connected to his former boss, who knows that, sooner or later, John is coming after him. Wick’s routine consists of the following: Knocking out his adversaries, torturing them for information, and then disposing of them whether they fight back or not. Hey, I said this was a movie that was supposed to be enjoyable, not original.
I did like how a lot of the shootouts and fight scenes take place in unconventional locations. They involve a nightclub, a hotel room, and a church while the bullets and bodies fall left and right and John walks out with barely a scratch. Or a wound. Or a stitch.
“John Wick” doesn’t really amount to much more than just a straightforward revenge thriller. However, what separates this movie from others is its use of style and execution (no pun intended) of its highly developed, high-octane action scenes. The movie was directed by Chad Stahelski, a stunt coordinator, and you can tell that a lot of the action and violence contains a great deal of balletic chaos.
Reeves gives, by far, his best performance since “The Matrix,” but even that is a sad compliment. Better late than never, I suppose.
“John Wick” won’t redefine the genre or inspire copycat thrillers, but it’s highly entertaining in the moment and it washes away the memories of the gargantuan misfire that was 47 Ronin. Whoa, indeed.
Rated R for strong and bloody violence throughout, language, and drug use.
Hall is a syndicated columnist in South Georgia.