By Darren Chan Keng Leong (Singapore)
Note: Minor Spoilers
Keanu Reeves is back! This time he plays the lead titular character, John Wick. He is a former hired gun who has made good and has left the Russian organisation which is run by Viggo Tarasov (Michael Nyqvist), the main antagonist of the film.
The film opens with John Wick smashing his car against a concrete wall and getting out, he is severely injured and bleeding. He takes out his mobile phone to watch a video of his wife as he lies presumably dying. The film is able to intertwine pain, hope and love with a tinge of vengeance that is portrayed by the character John Wick and the people around him.
It shows the internal emotional turmoil that John has to face when he has to face the thought of losing his wife to cancer and it brings him painful flashbacks of those moments when he and his wife were in happier times. Keanu Reeves is able to portray these emotions through his facial expressions in dealing with the loss of his wife which sets up the film’s dark and grim tone.
However, things just keep getting worse and worse when a Russian Mob attempts to buy John’s “69 Mustang car at a gas station. Viggo’s son tries to persuade John to sell his car to him but John firmly refuses which sets off a chain of events that puts his life in danger.
The action sequence starts at John’s house where the mob breaks into his house and (gasp!) kills his pet dog which was a final gift to his wife and beats John into a pulp as he was caught unaware of their presence. They then make off with his “69 Mustang. The action sequences are the highlight of the movie as they are very well choreographed with lots of firepower and fight scenes that will not disappoint and are excellent.
The fight scenes were amazing but the only let down was that the mob was not intimidating enough and it made John able to take them all down with punches and firepower. It made it seem all so easy but I would give him the benefit of the doubt as he is a hitman after all.
Spurred by these events, John is force to return to his life as a hired gun to kill the people that ruin his life which is to eradicate the whole Russian mob. It shows the side of John as an angry person, hungry for justice and to bring vengeance to the mob that destroyed his entire life.
Another prominent actor, Willem Dafoe who plays a skilled hitman also assists John in siding with the Russian mob but eventually helping John take down the organisation as well. I felt that the chemistry between Willem and Keanu was lacking as they shared far too few dialogues together. Perhaps more could be done to explore the back-story of Willem’s character.
The film’s soundtrack is also praise worthy as it sets up the mood of an action movie with industrial rock music being played at the background. The film takes John to many locations in hunting down the Russian mob with some light-hearted dialogue being thrown in between John and the other characters he encounters.
The main antagonist which is Viggo and his son could be improved as it takes a simple action-fight scene to take them down which I felt did not do justice to the characters. A formidable character like John Wick should also face a formidable villain which I felt this film was weak in. The film definitely needs more challenge and not once, did I fear for John’s life. The realism in the film could be improved as the scenes lack the depth in gripping the audience’s attention.
I must say the film’s winning formula would be that they did cast a strong A list actor like Keanu Reeves but the character development within the film could be further delved into. Everyone who is likes action movies should definitely catch John Wick as it does not disappoint. Despite the minor gripes I had with the film, but fans of Keanu Reeves should no doubt be able to find this movie entertaining in all angles. In the words of John Wick, “I’ll be seeing you” puts Keanu’s latest movie outing in the latest action movie that you have got to catch!