Synopsis: “An ex-hitman comes out of retirement to track down the gangsters that took everything from him. With New York City as his bullet-riddled playground, John Wick is a fresh and stylized take on the ‘assassin genre’.”
If you are a dog lover, and like seeing things and people blow up, then John Wick is an awesome movie. While it’s certainly not Oscar material (with the exception of the sound design), the film features enough heart and power to make it a great time at the movies. I was also very pleased with how the movie is “self-aware” and knows what it is. The movie contains a very simplistic plot; nothing too complicated, and is practically a setup to showcase awesome fighting and gunplay choreography.
The leading actors of John Wick are one of the film’s many saving graces with each actor playing over-the-top but fun characters. Keanu Reeves stars as the titular ex-assassin and successfully carries the film, being able to convince you of his desire for revenge and his abilities to carry it out in violent fashion. Michael Nyqvist plays the major villain of the film, and almost steals the show, as his character is actually likable and well-played; he is also reason for some of the film’s humor. The rest of the cast is rounded out by recognizable character actors from shows like Game of Thrones and The Wire, and ultimately serve as someone for Wick to point his gun at, although they’re good with what they have.
As I mentioned before, the film features some of the best gunplay I have ever seen. The way John takes out his targets is both brutal and very fast. His fighting style helps to cement the reasons as to why most of the characters in the film fear him; he is simply the best. Wick is practically a superhero in the film because he is that good.
The stunt choreography makes the scenes believable in its execution and style, and the sound design makes the audience feel the power of a gun. Most action movies feature the occasional “gunshot” sound effect that is too familiar and generic, but it works enough to get the job done. In John Wick, each weapon is distinguishable by the sound effects alone, and is heard where it is actually being fired, successfully utilizing the theater’s surround sound. The sound design of the film is actually mixed into the musical soundtrack of the film, where different sounds lead into different pieces of music. Now, the score by Tyler Bates is not as good as it should have been, but it works well when combined with different effects during some of the action sequences.
October’s John Wick is what September’s The Equalizer should have been. The movie pulls through with excellent action sequences, convincing leading actors, and a story that doesn’t weigh the movie down. Admittedly, the movie does have a silly premise, has outlandish characters, and doesn’t make a big statement in terms of the action genre. However, the movie knows this and doesn’t try to be anything more than a fun experience. A refreshing and pleasant weekend flick, John Wick earns 4 out of 5 stars.