The Flick Chicks

Judy Thorburn's Movie Reviews

John Wick | Keanu Reeves, Michael Nykvist, Alfie Allen, Bridget Moynahan, Willem Dafoe, John Leguizamo | Review

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4sm The Flick Chicks movie rating for this film is GOOD Judy Thorburn

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4lg The Flick Chicks movie rating for this film is GOOD

 

John Wick

There is a memorable quote from the 1990 crime film, Godfather Part 3, where Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) says “Just when I thought I was out they pulled me back in”.

That quote can also apply to the titular character, John Wick, in this action packed revenge film. Keanu Reeves stars as Wick, a former assassin that retired five years ago after getting married and settling down, but is drawn back into the world he left behind and forced to use his lethal skills as a  killing machine after a vicious punk breaks into his house, steals his 1969 Mustang car, beats him up and kills his adorable new puppy, a final gift from his beloved wife (Bridget Moynihan, shown in flashbacks and a hospital bed) just a few days after she died. Very bad move on the perpetrator because he picked the wrong guy to mess with and he is going to have to pay the price.

With nothing to lose after the only things he cares about is taken away, this time Wick's mark is strictly of a personal nature and full of rage, he is more determined than ever before to get the job done.

As fate will have it,  Iosef (Alfie Allen, Game of Thrones), the loathsome punk Wick is after happens to be the son of Viggo (Swedish actor Michael Nykvist)  a Russian mob boss Wick used to work for.  Knowing all too well Iosef's life is in danger, in an attempt to protect him, Viggo puts a $2 million contract out on Wick, who has built a fearful, bad ass reputation as the “boogeyman you send to take out the boogeyman.” Sent individually to take Wick out is hired assassin/ femme fatale Ms. Perkins (Adrianne Palicki) and marksman Marcus (Willem Dafoe) a former colleague of Wick.

Wick's revenge mission first takes him to a chop shop run by Aurelio (John Leguizamo) and then to Manhattan's plush, Continental Hotel and the Red Circle Nightclub that caters to members of the crime underworld and a Church used as a front for the Russian mobsters, all the while having to confront, fight off and demolish, anyone that gets in his way. Of course, that entails plenty of shoot outs, stabbings, hand to hand fights and other requisite high voltage action sequences one expects from this genre.

First time director Chad Stahelski, working from a script by Derek Kolstad (The Package) crafts a stylish, fast paced and suspenseful thriller that follows the basic formula but is pumped up with fresh, clever, inventive elements and dark humor that include gold coins used as payment for services and calling to make a reservation with “Waste Disposal” that translates to sending a crew to clean up the mess of dead bodies.

As a former stuntman, Stahelski (who worked with Reeves as his stunt double on The Matrix) taps into his impressive background experience to create some of the most exciting, well choreographed fights scenes.  He also get points for not resorting to the typical jittery, dizzying, annoying and off putting camerawork most filmmakers tend to employ these days.

A matured Keanu Reeves, delivering his best work since The Matrix, immerses himself in this role, showing a side that we've never seen before.  The actor, many critics have called wooden in the past, is totally convincing, both emotionally and physically this time around, delivering the goods as the intensely focused, driven hit man.

Setting the foundation for the possibility of another franchise, John Wick is a satisfying and entertaining introduction to this character and, as a welcome addition to the action genre, has what it takes to “make a killing” at the box office.

 

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