Cinematic Releases: John Wick

Keanu Reeves once again breaks action stereotypes and helps re-infuse a genre with near perfection.

"I already told you once.
No more 'whoa' jokes."
So, you've already heard. Mr. Reeves hasn't been this good since The Matrix. It's true. 

John Wick lets him break his recent string of cinematic flops with a movie that truly takes action to another level. In fact, this is the first domestic movie in years that captures the old school vengeance style while seamlessly mixing it with unadulterated hand to hand combat and bad ass gun play that rivals anything you've seen in cinemas for quite some time. 

John Wick is hyper-violent modern film noir on meth that makes this fairly standard plot into an interesting and twisted tale of blood lust fueled by a freshly charged Keanu Reeves. Despite its simplicity in story and dialogue, John Wick is a fine example of how perfectly choreographed action, sexy cars, Russian mobsters, and nonstop brain splatter can add up to one of the simplest but best features of 2014. 

Keanu isn't given many lines in John Wick. Instead, he speaks with his fists, his arsenal of fine tuned weaponry, and a cold stare equivalent to anything Charles Bronson ever pulled off. John Wick is straight up projectile vengeance seeking its next victim. Mr. Reeves delivers in every single scene. He never ceases to continually batter the audience with absolute realism and cold hearted brutality served on a platter of knives, bullets, and bone crushing fists of revenge. His motives are clear. His dedication is profound. And his performance here is what we've been waiting for. Keanu Reeves is back, better than ever, with a movie that just might quiet the naysayers. Besides all that, this is a fun, action-centric feature that promises nothing more than what it is. This is an actor enjoying a role that lets him kill every last son of a bitch that wronged him. And there's nothing wrong with that. 

"Guess what?
Slow mo, bitches."
Directors Chad Stahelski and David Leitch take everything they've learned from their years in the stunt industry and throw it all at the screen with no remorse. With John Wick, they've created a visceral experience that's heavy in dark humor, makes great use of color and florescent tones, while still finding a way to offer up some great picturesque cinematography. They knew exactly what they were going for and brought something new and fresh to the screen that wears its obvious influences like a badge of honor while not reproducing or recreating anything we've seen before. John Wick feels like a dark comic book movie that takes hard influences from Greek mythology that somehow plays like a modern action masterpiece with a massive body count. 

John Wick is not without its flaws or minor stumbling blocks. But if you're looking for a film that keeps the realistic action and bloodletting at a fever pitch throughout, you'll fall in love with this movie immediately. 

It's been fifteen years since the first Matrix film. Keanu is finally back doing something he obviously enjoys. He gets an hour and forty minutes to totally destroy his fictional enemies with every ounce of himself while finally transcending to the action icon level he so rightfully deserves. 

John Wick is highly stylized eye candy backed up by an awesome soundtrack and a terrific supporting cast.  If you don't like this movie, you truly hate sweet little cuddly puppies. 

-Chris George