Retired hitman John Wick (Keanu Reeves) goes after his former boss, Viggo Tarasov (Michael Nyqvist), after Viggo’s son, Iosef (Alfie Allen), steals his car and kills his dog.
I haven’t seen a new Keanu Reeves movie in quite some time (I missed last year’s 47 Ronin), so it was good to see him back on screen. I’ll admit I was mildly surprised how much I enjoyed John Wick. I had only seen the trailer recently, but it looked intriguing. John Wick provides plenty of action but it also isn’t afraid to have some fun along the way.
Pacing in an action movie can be difficult to pull off. One of my favorite aspects about John Wick is that there is constant action. Every few minutes there is another action scene. However, It never becomes too over-the-top, but at the same time, it doesn’t really slow down. There was just enough character development to keep me interested in John Wick, but that never took away from the action.
The camera work is better than most action films nowadays, too. It doesn’t cut away very often, allowing for the entire fight to be seen without getting disoriented. There was one scene in particular that takes place inside a dance club where it does cut away quite a bit. Usually this is a problem for me but I actually didn’t mind it too much here because it added to the scene. The choreography was pretty good, too. There are a few times I think it borders on the ridiculous and it reminded me of an 80s action movie, which added to my enjoyment, never detracting from it.
When John Wick is introduced, he is already in retirement and throughout the movie there are no flashbacks about his time as a hitman. There is some exposition (mostly by Michael Nyqvist’s Viggo) to learn about his past. But despite not seeing him be a bad-ass hitman in the past, it is established early on that he was. Everyone was scared by simply hearing his name (look at the quote below, which happens in the within the first few minutes of the movie, to get an idea). Also, everyone seems to know him which makes for some pretty funny interactions.
Despite John Wick being an action movie, it never takes itself too seriouslyand was actually fairly whimsical. It throws in some good one-liners and the aforementioned character interaction were pretty humorous.
John Wick is more than a generic action movie. It provides plenty of action and great choreography without becoming too outrageous and even throws in a few good laughs. It’s great to see an action movie that doesn’t take itself seriously, allowing it to have fun, making it more enjoyable overall.
PS, John Wick’s dog in the beginning is absolutely the cutest dog I have ever seen in a film.
Also check out my review of the sequel, John Wick: Chapter 2.
Aureilo: [picks up phone] Aureilo speaking.
Viggo: I heard you struck my son.
Aureilo: Yes sir, I did.
Viggo: And may I ask why?
Aureilo: Yea, well, because he stole John Wick’s car, sir, and, uh, killed his dog.
Viggo: Oh. [Hangs up phone]
Cast & Crew
David Leitch – Director
Chad Stahelski – Director
Derek Kolstad – Screenplay
Tyler Bates – Original Music
Joel J. Richard – Composer
Keanu Reeves – John Wick
Michael Nyqvist – Viggo Tarasov
Alfie Allen – Iosef Tarasov
William Dafoe – Marcus
Dean Winters – Avi
Adrianne Palicki – Ms. Perkins
Omer Barnea – Gregori
Toby Leonard Moore – Victor
Daniel Bernhardt – Kirill
Ian McShane – Winston
Lance Reddick – Hotel Manager
Bridget Moynahan – Helen
John Leguizamo – Aureilo
Clarke Peters – Harry
Well, now I want to see the movie, if nothing else but for the dog. Interesting note about the long cuts in the fight scenes. I thought the disorientation from quick cuts was intentional, as if you were in an actual fight and it was all happening so fast.
The few minutes with the puppy is worth it alone!
You’re right, that is exactly why the quick cutaways are used. I am just not a fan of it is all. I prefer the long shots where I can see the action and choreography. It’s really a personal preference. I know several people who like the technique.
Thanks for commenting, Scott!
The editor working on my last film is an obvious fan of long cuts, and not just fight scenes. So you’re not alone for sure. It definitely makes things easier to follow. I just can’t get past the “stage/documentary” feel it gives. I’m sure there are happy compromises though.
LikeLiked by 1 person
I’m really intrigued by this movie, haven’t heard but good things about it and I can’t wait to watch it. Great review.
Thanks! It is definitely worth the watch. I can’t wait to hear what you have to say about it.
And thank you for commenting, Lyanna!
Pingback: Anniversary Week 2 Conclusion: My Fave Five New Movies I Watched During Year 2 | Drew's Movie Reviews