Sunday, June 26, 2016

Movie review: John Wick

A mob hit man, John walked away from the world of crime when he married 5 years ago. But after his wife dies and thugs break in to his home the next day, beating him and killing the dog that was the last gift from his wife, John launches a war for revenge.

Keanu Reeves (John Wick), Michael Nyqvist (Viggo), Alfie Allen (Iosef), Willem Dafoe (Marcus), Dean Winters (Avi), Adrianne Palicki (Ms. Perkins), John Leguizamo (Aurelio), Lance Reddick (Charon), Bridget Moynahan (Helen).

John Wick begins with the death of John's wife followed by the delivery of her gift to him; a puppy for companionship. Only a few days later, thugs intent on stealing his car break into his home, beating John and killing his dog. Now recovered, John sets out for revenge only to find the lead thug is the son of his former employer. The rest of the film is a delicious blend of espionage and suspense punctuated with intense action scenes. Plot development and depth is a consistent focus which supports the action scenes very well and lifts the film above the level of a simple action flick.

Acting was pretty good in this one with Reeves convincingly pulling off his action-hero role despite a lack of dialogue for his character. Nyqvist played a crime boss pretty well and seemed to work well with Reeves. Allen was okay but didn't quite fit either the role of a thug or a spoiled child. Dafoe, Winters, Leguizamo, and Reddick were all enjoyable, as was the remainder of the cast.

Camera work, sets, and backgrounds were fairly well done with nice variety and a solid feel. Action scenes, and CGI to support them, was well done. Fight scenes were well executed, and we absolutely loved the 'double-tap' theme and resulting head-shot blood spray. Dialogue, despite Reeves lack of lines, was good and filled out the plot nicely. Sound and soundtrack were good.

I've been disappointed by action films with only a nod to the plot as a vehicle for violence, but John Wick does a decent job of adding depth to the plot. Yes it is still a simple revenge flick, but one that is more enjoyable than most.

Intense violence, check. Mild drug use, check. Plenty of colorful foul language, check. Violence, gore, and explicit double-tap head shots complete with blood spray, check and check. Save this one for older teens, or just tell younger kids it is a video game.

Released: 2014
Reviewed: 6.17.16
Star rating: 4 out of 5
Genre: Crime action, Action & Adventure, Crime, Action, Thriller

copyright ©2016 Dave Riedel


Zach Murphy said...

Definitely one of the better action films in recent memory. Nice review.

- Zach (

Carey Clapp said...

I've been wondering if this film was worth a watch, now I know! I'll be giving it a try soon. Thanks!

Doc said...

I'd be interested to hear what you think Carey :)

Mine mine mine!!!!

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