Apr 6, 2015

[Movies] John Wick (2014)

A lot of times I worry if I look for too much from movies and TV shows. But we all look for different forms of entertainment, right? There are different things that we find entertaining and that's just human nature. It's just that a lot of times I find that I tend to expect a lot from different forms of media while the general population is happy to focus on other aspects of things.

So that brings me to today's movie review for John Wick, since I didn't exactly enjoy it and yet it seems to have gotten pretty good ratings elsewhere. And while I don't exactly blindly follow the movie reviews of others, it's not all too common for me to at least be generally in-sync with the others. This time I feel like I'm one of the outliers, should you look at things from a more statistical perspective.

And I certainly have my reasons for things - such reasons are pretty much why this blog exists. So at least it's not just some gut feel about the movie or anything like that. But still, it's a case of not being in the majority, so I guess I'll just have to live with that.

Synopsis: John Wick is a 2014 action movie directed by Chad Stahelski and David Leitch. Stahelski, Leitch and Reeves first met during the production of The Matrix movies back in the day.

John Wick (Keanu Reeves) is at a rather low point in his life with the death of his wife for reasons not specified in the movie. He then receives a puppy as a posthumous gift from her meant to help him with her passing. It takes a bit of time for John to warm up to the puppy but in time the two bond and he becomes rather precious to him. But things take a turn for a worse when a misencounter at a gasoline station eventually snowballs into a home invasion. A group of Russian goons beat John up ni his home, kill the dog and steal his vintage car.

Iosef (Alfie Allen), the young man who led the group that attacked John, eventually tries to get the car modified by Aurelio (John Leguizamo), the owner of a chop shop. However Aurelio refuses since he realizes whose car this is that Iosef has stolen. It is eventually revealed that Iosef is the son of the boss of the Russian crime syndicate in New York, Viggo Tarasov (Michael Nyqvist). But John Wick was once Viggo's greatest assassins and Viggo's empire was built upon John's efforts. And now Iosef had pretty much stirred up the hornet's nest with John determined to seek revenge.

The best stories don't always have to be complicated stories, but in this case I have to admit I felt things were particularly simple to the point of being a little shallow. In essence, this is the story of John Wick have a really bad series of days and since he just happens to be the world's greatest assassin, he decides to vent his frustrations on this Russian crime syndicate. We don't need to know how much he loved his wife - that's pretty much just given. We also don't have to have any reason to suspect just how good a killer he is since he does get beat up in the beginning. We just have to respect that he is this super awesome killer and he was just caught off-guard in the beginning.

Shallow concept aside, where this movie does shine is its action, and you can tell that the expertise of the directors is primarily in this area. If you watch this movie just to see Keanu Reeves be this ridiculously good assassin, then you'll get your money's worth. We're talking quite a number of head shots in quick succession despite being poor lighting conditions and all that sort of good stuff. It's not about being accurate - it's about putting on a good show. And the movie has a lot of great moments that I enjoyed a fair bit.

And the movie has an interesting host of supporting actors in practically cameo roles like John Leguizamo as the chop shop owner and both Willem Dafoe and Adrianne Palicki as assassins hired to deal with John before he could do anything series to Iosef. They had great action sequences and fun moments of tension that certainly helped the movie along.

John Wick is a fun little romp that is pretty much what you can expect from a movie directed by stunt men and fight choreographers. The story concept is a little thin but the action generally makes up for things and thus the movie ends up still being pretty respectable. Thus the movie gets a good 3 blue-toned scenes out of a possible 5.

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