Tuesday, 7 April 2015

John Wick - review

John Wick is proper old-school filmmaking. The kind of movie that can be described and pitched in one sentence:

"Keanu Reeves kills everyone associated to the Russian gangster who murdered his dog".

Or even more succinctly, "Don't get on John's Wick"!

This is a throwback to the action movies of the 80's and if filmed back then, would probably have starred someone like Arnold Schwarzenegger or Steven Seagal.

Reeves is arguably an actor who, as Ronan Keating might put it, "says it best when he says nothing at all", and it works perfectly for the character for whom actions speaks louder than words and starts off as a man consumed by the loss of his wife and sees a glimmer of hope in the form of an adorable puppy called Daisy.

I can legitimately use the word "adorable" as I experience an entire audience at my Unlimited preview collectively "Awwww" when he stared at him with those puppy dog eyes... and the puppy stares back.

When Russian gangsters attack Wick, take his car and kill his dog, slowly but surely the real John Wick begins to emerge as he returns, step-by-step, kill-by-kill, into the world he left behind.

The movie takes it time with the slow reveal of exactly who Wick is and what he did... most of it revealed in a great monologue about the Bogeyman by one of the film's trump cards Michael Nyquist, who delivers a terrific deadpan comic performance as the gangster whose son unleashes the beast in Wick.

Directors Chad Stahelski and David Leitch are former stuntmen who worked with Reeves on The Matrix and have crafted action scenes that utilise the skills he has learnt over the years ("I know Kung Fu") and have developed a new style of fighting involving weapons that could be deemed "Gun Fu".

The film, like its title character, is lean, mean and doesn't outstay its welcome.

At one point Wick remarks "People keep asking if I'm back and I haven't really had an answer, but yeah, I'm thinking I'm back."

Not only is Reeves back with a bang, but in a world that features so many great ideas like a hotel just for assassins with "house rules" and a cleaning company that specialises in the clean up of murders where everything is paid for in gold sovereigns, there is so much more to explore that I for one hope that John Wick is back for good.

5 stars

1 comment:

  1. It's a modest movie, yes, but it's got style, know-how, hits the spot and knows enough to keep Reeves kicking ass constantly but saying little. Satisfaction pretty much guaranteed.