3 StarsIf esteemed director Michael Mann dropped his high fluent act and decided to make a pumped up action picture the result would look a lot like John Wick. Keanu Reeves is back in Matrix fighting shape, he doesn’t look a day aged and appears to be as nimble as before. Instead of the jumbled mythology and long-winded story developments of that earlier franchise, Wick is a straightforward action flick that sets out with a goal and single-mindedness to completely entertain at all costs. This is a story about a dislikable man avenging the murder of his dog, and cleansing himself of the grief over his wife’s untimely death.
John Wick (Keanu Reeves) is recently widowed, after his wife succumbs to a short battle with cancer. He is a retired contract killer/assassin, with deep roots in the criminal underworld. The name is legendary amongst the elder members of a Russian organized crime syndicate, including the head of the family Viggo Tarasov (Michael Nyqvist). Unfortunately Tarasov’s son isn’t familiar with the notorious man and during a tense standoff at a gas station, Wick becomes the mark for these aspiring hoodlums.
The young men enter Wick’s home, beating him senseless and killing his puppy. The animal was a posthumous gift from his wife, sent to keep him company after her departure. This activates all the suppressed rage that had been bottled up through years of domesticity. So, with intent and anger, John Wick sets out to avenge the line that was crossed by the unsuspecting children of Kingpin Tarasov.
There are a number of off-beat elements to the story. Including, a hotel that caters to world-renowned assassins, but enforces strict penalties for violence on the premises. It is here Wick has his most dangerous encounter with a lovely former associate Ms. Perkins (Adrianne Palicki), now working as a counter-operator to intercept the killing machine before he reaches Tarasov’s son.
John Wick is highly imaginative in its stunt department. This should come as little surprise due to the fact the picture was directed by two former professional in the arena, Chad Stahelski and David Leitch. The action is brilliantly executed and the pacing is thunderous. For those weary of the genre after the god-awful The November Man can rest easy that B-Movie cinema with A-list talent can still result in a genuine guilty pleasure.
Director: Chad Stahelski, David Leitch
Stars: Keanu Reeves, John Leguizamo, Michael Nyqvist,