Chad Stahelski & David Leitch’s JOHN WICK
Movie review by Dennis D. McDonald
One unusual thing about this beautifully photographed and edited kill-fest is that the main character, John Wick, does pause occasionally to reload his weapons. This provides a short pause to the steadily ticking upward body count as Wick seeks revenge for his stolen car and murdered puppy.
The perpetrator of these dastardly deeds is the sleazy son of Wick’s former mobster boss who pleads by phone with Wick to stop the vendetta. Wick refuses, of course. We then watch as he gradually reduces the mobster’s private army to bloody rubble while we munch our popcorn.
Some might compare this with the Taken movies but there’s a different vibe here. A sense of decadence pervades the film as we watch Wick slip back into his lifestyle from the semi-retirement that followed the death of his wife. The mobster life portrayed is one of fine furniture, gold coins, fine cars, fine liquor, and exotic weapons. There’s also a subterranean pleasure palace complete with beautiful waitresses, wading pools, and upscale locker rooms.
After a while you lose count of the number of one shot kills and the number of car crashes. I suppose there’s a lot of CGI here but the crunching, splintering, flipping, and squashing of all those black vehicles seems awfully real.
Keanu Reeves as John Wick is at the center of all this. Whereas in the excellent Man of Tai Chi he was the demonic mob boss, here he plays a man obsessed with revenge with quiet ruthless efficiency. He’s aided by a universally excellent cast that includes Willem Dafoe, Ian McShane, and John Leguizamo. But I credit the directors and editor (Elísabet Ronalds) for how well this movie plays out. If your weakness is revenge porn this is the movie for you!
Review copyright (c) 2015 by Dennis D. McDonald