By Sonny Etchell (Hertfordshire, UK)
After losing everything, ex-hitman John Wick is compelled out of retirement to seek vengeance on the thugs who did him wrong by assassinating them in merciless fashion. John Wick is directed by Chad Stahelski and David Leitch, two stuntmen who between them have worked on the likes of Fight Club, 300 and The Matrix. With John Wick they have crafted a relentless, realistic and beautiful action piece.
To someone unaware of the film, I would say it’s like Drive meets The Raid. It’s reminiscence to Drive lies predominantly in its lighting and atmosphere. The entire film has a slick and crisp finish to it, further immersing you in the world and enhancing the events happening on screen. Possibly the best scene in John Wick is the nightclub scene in which John Wick proceeds to ruthlessly massacre those standing in his way of Iosef Tarasof, an antagonist of the movie. The scene is a delight to watch, displaying some of the most skillfully coordinated gun combat I’ve ever seen in a movie, with pleasurable cinematography and lighting.
John Wick is a prime example of Keanu Reeves’ relevance and action expertise. He gives a very strong performance in John Wick, not only in the physicality of his character, but also the sufferance and anguish of the character. He’s been doing it for years, but he delivers every single line convincingly and with complete devotion to the film. A joy to watch on screen and a complete badass! In fact, all the performances in John Wick were great. Michael Nyqvist who portrays the villain Viggo Tarasov is menacing and delivers his dialogue extremely well. And Alfie Allen of Game of Thrones fame who plays his son Iosef Tarasov made for a great Russian mobster I thought. John Wick has strong, well-acted characters across the board, which complements its relentless action.
Another great aspect to this movie is its setting. To watch a seemingly futuristic version of today with this criminal underworld felt hugely refreshing. There were elements of video game worlds at times and for the makers of this film to create that atmosphere and make it effective and complementary to the action is hugely credible, I feel.
My only criticism towards John Wick would be in the character Ms. Perkins (Adrianne Palicki). Her character was fun to watch and I actually enjoyed watching her chemistry and involvement with John Wick. However her closure seemed abrupt and disappointing to me. It’s most likely a personal flaw but she seemed underused. Also, the ending felt like it dragged ever so slightly and perhaps lost some of that energy that the rest of the film had, but like I say, I’m nit-picking.
John Wick is an extremely fun movie, and Keanu Reeves’ best since The Matrix. All the performances were great and the fight scenes were executed with excellence. These are the kind of action movies we need more of and the kind we need to support. John Wick is action done right. A truly flawless piece of work.