Sunday, February 12, 2017

Movie Review: John Wick

The bloody action movie added a new style to action and reignited the long career of Keanu Reeves as an action star. John Wick (Reeves0 is a retired assassin who has moved on to a simple life with his wife when she dies of cancer. Overcome with grief, Wick is only able to have a semblance of hope from the gift his wife left him, a small puppy. Wick encounters Russian gangster Iosef Tarasov (Alfie Allen) and seemingly insults him by not selling Wick's awesome car, Iosef retaliates by coming to Wick's house, beating him up and killing his dog. This action sparks a series of bloody gun battles as Wick pursues Iosef through gangsters on a violent path for revenge. 

Iosef's father, Viggo (Michael Nyqvist) is the head of the Russian mob and seeks to protect his son from the Boogeyman that is John Wick. He hires a former colleague of Wick's Marcus (Willem Dafoe) to take him out. Wick's path leads him to an exclusive assassin hotel where there are rules to not do business inside the walls and hints at a greater world of assassins. 

Viggo and his assistant Avi (Dean Winters) send men after Wick as John invades their dance club's and destroys their hidden cash stores all in pursuit of vengeance. One assassin Ms. Perkins (Adrianne Palicki) gets the drop on Wick but has to break the rules of the hotel. The hotel manager Charon (Lance Reddick) works with a leader of the assassins Winston (Ian McShane) to enforce the rules of the hotel. 

The action scenes are intense as Reeves flips and dives away from bullets and shoots thugs straight in the head, saving a few for a final kill shot.  The world-building is quick and effective and with only a few short conversations, we know that Wick is a part of a bigger world and has a long history as an assassin. He uses his driving skills, pistol-handling, and other destructive weapons to assault safehouses, churches, and nightclubs with a ferociousness that the guards and gangsters are unable to defend against. 

John Wick was one of the best action movies of the decade and I was happy to sit that it got a chance at a sequel that has received positive, if not rave reviews. Wick always hinted at a larger world of assassins and I'm excited to see that explore in the new film. The action scenes were something that I had not seen before and was awed by the way they did not hold back on the gruesomeness of gun violence. Wick is still a mortal unlike other action movies and it shows him having to take time to recover from injuries and also just the practical steps he must take in order to take down whole armies of henchman. John Wick is an action movie that I can watch many times over and still be entertained.   

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