John Wick – Film Review

Jesus, man. Leave it out, it’s not worth it‘. That is one of the things that a sane person would have shouted at the characters in this movie. I’m glad no one did as there are no sane people in John Wick.
We see Keanu Reeves as the titular character in a period of mourning after his wife dies suddenly. She has arranged for a surprise puppy to be delivered to him (from hospital, I guess?) so that he may somehow learn to love again. This doesn’t work out as some Russian mobsters led by Alfie Allen unnecessarily kill it with a baseball bat while nicking John’s car. They soon learn that you don’t nick from the Wick as he’s a retired hitman and you certainly don’t kill a dead wife’s ”PS I Love You” puppy in front of him. This scene is also a very effective way to justify the killing of hundreds of Russian criminals in the audience’s eyes.
This is a film where the lead character checks into a Hotel full of assassins to conduct his business. He pays using gold coins. Just as Alfie Allen is the Theon Greyjoy style rich kid fuckup of the plot, so Ian McShane is the Al Swearengen style owner of this hotel, tasked with making sure the hitmen and sexy hitwomen don’t conduct ‘business’ on the premises. This is an enjoyably silly world.
There are only so many ways to shoot waves of henchmen on screen before boredom sets in. The more you do it, the more you run this risk. The directors, being former stunt coordinators, make sure to spice action scenes up with an element of novelty where possible and for the most part they succeed. It’s not really the action that elevates this though and it certainly isn’t the plot, especially as the third act feels muddled. It’s the sense of glee and fun that permeates it. One early scene deals with the ‘Where are the fucking police?‘ question in a very funny, brief exchange which is emblematic of the whole piece. ”Videogamey’‘ is often an insult that gets levelled at this type of movie but videogames are often a lot of fun. This is the cinematic equivalent of GTA, complete with improbable escalations, ridiculous body counts and the exhilarating sense of getting away with it.
John Wick is in cinemas Friday 10th April. Check out the trailer below:
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