Life can, at times, be hard for someone who actually enjoys Keanu Reeves. I’ve enjoyed thinking he was terrible in movies like Dracula, I’ve enjoyed thinking he was actually pretty good in movies like The Matrix. However, between his long hiatuses and bizarre phases, he’s a tough horse to bet on. Hell, I even enjoyed 47 Ronin for what it was worth…. But John Wick has been long in coming. A film with an underwhelming premise and even more underwhelming name, it isn’t much of a surprise that John Wick stirred up almost no interest whatsoever, requiring word of mouth to become a sleeper hit over its time in theaters. I remembered having to choose between this and Big Hero 6 during my monthly trip to the cinema, and while I’ve heard the latter was terrific, a suspiciously high rating on Rotten Tomatoes made me have to try this new Reeves vessel and judge it for myself. And, yup, it was fantastic. To think I ever doubted you. There’s a lot I want to say about this movie, but a lot that I’m not sure I should say. If you’re not familiar with the premise, the film is about, well, a man named John Wick, played by Keanu Reeves. Wick is an ex-assassin who got out of the game a short time ago to live a new life with his wife – who, very shortly after, died from cancer (gosh darn cancer). Needless to say, Wick becomes… delicate, after the death of his wife, and the last fucking thing he needs is for some Russian mob prince to break into his house, steal his car, and slaughter his dog. His dog, which happened to be a post-mortem gift from his wife, as something to attach to while he mourned her death. Needless to say, this spurs a killing spree which makes up for the majority of the film’s runtime. An awesome killing spree. Which is awesome. And does not at all suck. He’s thinking he’s back. Trying to talk about everything I wanna talk about regarding this flick is gonna turn into a big ramble-on, so why don’t I do what I usually do – compartment my thoughts into numbered sections. Here we go! The Combat: Combat feels really organic in this. While Keanu isn’t without martial arts chops of his own, Wick’s fighting style feels different – unlike so many karate-using assassins we’ve seen in films in the past. His style is distinctly military, tactical, and aware, and actually reminds me very much of a more realistic version of Equilibrium‘s Gun Kata. Each movement seems very premeditated as John takes stock of everything around him, compensates for them, and arranges the circumstances around him so that he doesn’t get hit in the many ensuing firefights. While I’m sure a normal person would have been hit quite a bit more than John is in the movie, it jives with me a lot better than the action heroes who manage to dodge bullets (usually by running) or simply manage to, mysteriously, never get shot. 2. Cameos, Cameos Everywhere: Weeeee cameos! I had to make mention of this because I’ve never heard anyone else mention it. Besides John and Viggo (the mob boss who is, of course, at the helm of things), no other part in this film seems like any more than a cameo. From John Leguizamo, to Adrianne Palicki, to Ian McShane, to Willem Defoe, these actors have parts but… stupendously small ones. They milk them for all they’re worth, to be totally honest, and I don’t think any of the big names pumped into this flick were wasted per se. It just really feels like we could have seen more of them. Hell, Bridget Regan plays a bartender and has about three lines before she is never seen or heard from again. Palicki performs suspiciously well as a violent sociopath. Proper Buildup: While obviously bodies have to start hitting the floor for the action to get going, the supporting cast gets us good and terrified of John Wick before he ever even picks up a gun. This is primarily left to Leguizamo’s character, who is seen very early on – when he realizes what’s been done to Wick, his reaction is absolutely priceless. The respect and fear that he, and everyone else who knows him, has of John Wick makes it so that we’re on the edge of our seat before Wick’s rampage ever even begins. When it does, and we see that he is as good as people are saying, it makes it that much more worth it. Random mooks who know his name would rather run than fight, and when John comes into town looking for information, well… there aren’t many people who are willing to turn him down and make him mad. Keanu: It’s no secret that Keanu Reeves has gone through some tragedy in his time. Now, I have no intention about turning this into some kind of celebrity gossip wank-off but, I have to wonder if it was easier or harder for a man who lost everything he cared about to portray a man losing everything he cares about (very similar things, at that). Whether it was easier or harder, however, he does a fantastic job in the title role as the eponymous John Wick. He knows when to be cold and silent, when to let grief overwhelm him, and when to turn that grief into a bloodthirsty psychotic rage. It moves seamlessly and organically, creating a great character who’s both interesting, relatable, and fun to watch. Pictured: Booboos. If it weren’t obvious, I’d definitely recommend you catch this when you get a chance. It may not take you to a dream-world of magic, and it won’t leave you in a heap of your own sticky pants (we have Guardians of the Galaxy for that). It is, however, a grim and realistic character-driven story with great action, a consistent tone, and solid pacing – not to mention the fact that it, unlike a lot of other “serious” action flicks, knows that it’s okay to have a sense of humor from time to time and isn’t afraid to let its charm peek through the gloom. Share this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... Related 3 Responses Top Ten Favorite 2014 Crime Thrillers - Psycho Drive-In January 31, 2015 […] watching John Wick, I took to Facebook and posted a single sentence as my review: John Wick, I love […] Log in to Reply John Wick (2014) Blu-ray Review - Psycho Drive-In February 2, 2015 […] in November, when John Wick was in the theaters, our very own Alex Wolfe gave the film a glowing review. Then, just last week, I listed it as one of the Top Ten Crime Thrillers of 2014. Now, the […] Log in to Reply Outcast (2015) Blu-ray Review - Psycho Drive-In April 9, 2015 […] Stahelski and David Leitch made their feature film directorial debut with the all-around amazing John Wick. Having some of the best in the stunt business behind the camera meant that even if the story had […] Log in to Reply Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYou must be logged in to post a comment.