The best way I can describe John Wick is to picture Taken but instead of Liam Neeson it’s Keanu Reeves and instead of his daughter it’s his dog. That’s essentially the plot of the movie. John Wick (Reeves) is out to seek revenge on the people who took something he loved from him. It’s a beautifully simple premise for an action movie – when action movies get convoluted, they get bad i.e. A Good Day to Die Hard. John Wick gives the viewers what they want: Awesome action, stylish stunts, kinetic chaos, and a relatable hero to tie it all together. John Wick succeeds in its simplicity.
As an action movie buff, all I wanted to see in this movie is some inventive action sequences, and I was not disappointed. Every single action sequence in this movie is fast-paced, beautifully shot, fluid, intense, and you never have trouble understanding what’s going on. The direction of this film is fantastic, as is the writing. There’s no melodramatic soapy story lines – everything is straight and to the point, and the point is to get to the action. Not one moment in this movie is boring. The short dialogue is effective from getting to action sequence A to sequence B without any confusion as to any character’s motive. It’s all laid out in front of you – all you have to do is sit back and enjoy the insanity happening on screen.
Remember when Live Free or Die Hard came out and people were upset that John McClane only fired pistols throughout the entire movie? I like a little versatility when it comes to action heroes, and evidently so do the writers. John Wick wrecks face with pistols, assault rifles, shotguns, knives, even mano-a-mano; the man can do anything. The difference between John Wick and other modern action movies (Die Hard 5 and Taken 3 for instance) is that you actually believe John Wick is killable. He’s not some invincible superhero like Bruce Willis was in Die Hard 5, having his car crash and flip like a hundred times and the second it stops he gets out without a scratch and starts running. No, John Wick takes a beating in this film. Numerous times in fact. But most of the time he’s kicking ass and taking names, and instead of acting as some unstoppable killing machine, he just seems like a guy who’s an expert in his field. He used to be a hit-man after all.
John Wick is a blast to watch. Really, it’s just a mindlessly fun action movie. It has large-scale shootouts, CQC sequences, and a classic hero-villain hand-to-hand confrontation at the end. The only negative I can say about the movie is that the villains aren’t anything to write home about. They’re Russian mobsters which we’ve seen a million times, and their leader isn’t given enough to work with as far as character goes. Willam DaFoe has a brief but important role though as Wick’s former colleague.
Regardless, John Wick is all about the action and it goes above and beyond in every respect. It’s a breath of fresh air after all the poor sequels we’ve been getting, and thankfully John Wick has the potential to be the next great action franchise. An absolute must-watch for action fans.
8 out of 10 stars