Thursday, February 5, 2015

John Wick

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! Badass, thy name be John Wick!

John Wick – 5 out of 5

"People keep asking me if I’m back. Yeah, I’m thinking I’m back." That line from the trailer and the way Keanu delivered it completely sold me on the action-packed trailer that is John Wick. I really wanted to see it in the theaters over the summer but time and funds were not on my side. However, I had the opportunity to check it out before it arrived on DVD and Blu-ray and, I have to say, I really regret not making the time and selling whatever personal items or bodily fluids needed to see this in the theater because it was exactly what an action film should be and it is stupidly entertaining!

For some reason, people don't like this guy.  How can one hate Keanu?  HOW?!?

It's sad his wife had to die in the story but the action
we get for might have been worth it.
After losing his wife to a terminal disease, John Wick (Keanu Reeves) finds his wife had left him a gift of a puppy named Daisy in order to help with his grief. While out bonding with his new puppy, Wick runs into some Russian gangsters who express interest in buying his ’69 Mustang. After Wick refuses to sell it, the Russians invade his home, beat him up, kill his dog and steal his car. The Russians, led by the headstrong Iosef Tarasov (Alfie Allen), tries to sell the car to a chop shop but when the operator (John Leguizamo) realizes who owns the car, he refuses and informs Iosef’s father; the crime boss Viggo Tarasov (Michael Nyqvist), about what his son did. Viggo informs his son that John Wick is the best assassin in the business, the man you would send to kill the boogeyman, and what he did just called down hell upon his head. Viggo pleads with John to not kill his son but Wick will not let the dying gift of his loved wife go unavenged. With no other choice, Viggo puts out a hit on Wick but nothing will stop the man from getting his revenge…

Okay, so his face isn't looking the best in this still but I assure you, Wick is doing
something badass here.  He freakin' hit a guy and is shooting him through the
roof as he's rolling past.

I’ll put it out there right now, if John Wick doesn’t get a franchise and we don't see Keanu come back to play this character several more times, it will be not only a crime against the movie-going public but an unforgivable sin. John Wick is how action films are suppose to be and it really captures the popcorn entertainment factor that makes a great summer blockbuster. The film is filled with fun characters, badass action, and it isn’t afraid to be funny either.

Pointless note:  I once had a dream that Dean Winters and I owned a city bus.
I explained this dream to Winters and now I'm no longer allowed to call him
or be within 500 feet of him.

First off, the story is simple and works ridiculously well. I know a lot of people I know wrote this film off because the catalyst for John’s throat-punching, bullet-flying rampage was set off by the murder of a dog but those people clearly don’t understand how awesome dogs are or what the dog meant to him. Think about it, how many times have you been upset with a film for doing harm to a dog? How many reading this declared the dog the best character in I Am Legend and was super pissed when it was killed off (fuck yo spoilers)? There’s a reason why dogs are called Man’s Best Friend and when you have your story begin with the murder of a pet—and have that pet be the parting gift of an assassin’s deceased wife—it’s stupidly easy to get behind John’s rampage. Even better, the story makes sure that Iosef is an obnoxious and spoiled kid that you actually want to see be removed from this mortal coil with extreme prejudice. Which brings me to my next point…

Goddammit!  Just look at that thing!  Tell me you wouldn't go on a revenge spree
if someone killed it.

At least Wick didn't liberate his Greyjoy like in Game
of Thrones.
The acting is fantastic in this film! I said Iosef was obnoxious but his character was intended to be. Alfie Allen really nailed these character traits and made him a target that you wanted to hate and felt satisfied when John gets his revenge. Another super strong performance is from Iosef’s father Viggo. This character has quite a few moments that call for being a feared mob boss but also have some moments of levity. For example, he calls John Leguizamo’s character to ask him why he struck his son and didn’t just take the car and when Leguizamo states whose car it was, all Nyqvist says was, "Oh," and it makes for not only a scene that easily establishes all you need to know about how feared John Wick is but it also makes for an extremely funny moment that Nyqvist nails perfectly.

Okay, he looks serious here but I swear that Nyqvist has a lot of funny moments.

This movie will make you forget that Leguizamo was
in Super Mario Bros.
All of the side characters in the film work amazingly for the roles they have and all seem to have many interesting aspects to them that only add to my desire to see several sequels with John Wick and see these characters come into play again…those that survive the story, I mean. Actors and players like Willem Dafoe, Dean Winters, John Leguizamo, Adrianne Palicki, Ian McShane, Lance Reddick and Ian McShane all play supporting characters in John’s journey and his past. Many of them offer up glimpses of what John’s former career was like or offer up a hint at what he’s capable of. It helped tell the story and establish John’s character excellently…not to mention, it filled the cast with some great actors and they were all doing their jobs phenomenally. Phenomenally to such an extent that some of them, like McShane and Leguizamo, I wanted to see more of and learn more about them and their relationship to Wick (another reason this movie needs sequels).

Part of me is afraid of Ian McShane but all of me loves his acting!

Now let’s talk about John Wick himself…I know Keanu gets a lot of hate on the internet because people think he’s a terrible actor. There's the tired and hack gag that he’s paid to just say "Whoa" but I go against the grain because I really like Reeves. I’ve always been a fan of the guy and while there is always movies in an actor’s resume that probably weren’t the best for their acting style, I have found him to be appropriate for most films he’s in. I don’t think he’s a bad actor at all and this movie continues to show me why I’m a fan of the guy. Reeves was perfect as Wick because he nailed the emotional part when he needed to be upset about his wife, the badass part when he’s throwing fists, and the cold as ice part where he makes looking like being the badass part is just a mundane part of the job. This is, without a doubt, one of my Top Ten badass roles I’ve seen from the guy and is, again, just another reason why this film really, really, really needs sequels.

You can already hear the thumping techno that perfectly fits with this badass shot.

Dafoe with a sniper rifle...I have the weirdest boner
right now.
Now there’s the action…Land O’Goshen, the action is thrilling, sometimes hysterical but all the times fucking awesome! The fights and shoot ‘em ups were fast, furious, flashy, slick, and the director (or directors, rather--one went uncredited) made sure to keep you right there in the action. Never, at any point, does any fight scene feel familiar or like they are just doing the same thing scene after scene. The changing of locales—be it in a hotel room, a nightclub, or even John’s house—and the way the fights play out—like having a whole lot of headshots, sweet throws and holds, or even seeing John decide to do an entire shoot out while driving around like a badass in a muscle car—made the action scenes fresh and exciting.  The film also throws in some sweet visual gags to make the fight scenes occasionally humorous but maintaining the fist-pumping adrenaline rush the entire time.  They more than satisfied any hunger or thirst I was having for action and, again, is just another freakin’ reason that this film has to have some sequels.  I can't emphasize this enough. 

It's pretty obvious, reader, that I am seconds away from confessing my love
for Keanu.

John Wick is just awesome. I had no complaints about it. The only complaint I would have is if the film doesn’t spawn a franchise and we don’t get to see more adventures and journeys of vengeance from the character—and that’s not a complaint about the film at all. From start to finish, this film never got boring, had the right amount of humor, contained a simple but ridiculously effective story, filled with great actors, had tons of interesting and entertaining characters, and it just oozed badass with its action scenes and central character. I’ve said it repeatedly in this review but it must be said again…this movie needs sequels!

Also, the movie has Kevin Nash in, it has that going for it as well.

***UPDATE*** After writing this review, the directors have announced they are working on a sequel.  My campaign that they never saw worked.

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