John Wick (2014)

8.5 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 9/10

Great fight choreography

Odd movie tone is hard to nail down

Movie Info

Movie Name:  John Wick

Studio:  Summit Entertainment

Genre(s):  Action/Adventure

Release Date(s):  October 13, 2014 (Premiere)/October 24, 2014 (US)

MPAA Rating:  R

john wick beagle puppy keanu reeves

The touching story of a man coming to grips with the death of his wife through a puppy…that is horribly slaughtered by Russian mobsters

John Wick (Keanu Reeves) is a man who seems to have the perfect life until his wife suddenly dies from cancer.  Lost, Wick receives a puppy from his wife as a parting gift to try to remind him to continue with life.  When a young man named Iosef Tarsov (Alfie Allen) eyes Wick’s ’69 Mustang, he decides to take it by force, and Wick’s dog is a casualty of the encounter.  Unfortunately for Iosef, Wick has a past not only with Iosef’s father (Michael Nyqvist) but with most of the underworld.  Wick now will stop at nothing to even the odds and as one of the scariest hitmen who ever existed, John Wick will get his man.

Directed by Chad Stahelski, John Wick is an action-thriller which frequently adds laughs.  The movie was relatively well received by critics and quickly became a cult favorite

john wick perkins fight keanu reeves adrianne palicki

Hey Ms. Perkins…got anything to say?

I went with John Wick on a whim.  I am not a huge action man and hadn’t even seen a trailer or commercial.  All John Wick had going for it was decent word-of-mouth…so I tried it.  It is so rare for me to go into a movie blind that it was kind of a nice experience.  On the plus side is that John Wick turned out to be a rather decent action film.

It is really hard to nail down what type of film John Wick is.  The movie’s tone is all over the place.  It is a little jarring at the beginning of the film because it takes a while for the film to get going.  Once you get the feel of the film (I am almost close to classifying it as a comedy as well as an action film), it is much easier to go with it.  Loaded with clichés that the movie seems to play with (or is it just really a cliché?  It is hard to tell), the film has some great sequences that feel like a cross between something like Taken and Eastern Promises.  The story is violent and fun, but also grueling and gritty.

john wick car gun keanu reeves

Have gun, will kill

The movie has a great cast.  I have never been a Keanu Reeves hater (if anything I’m a bit numb to him…but don’t hate him) and buying him as a “bad ass killer” is a bit hard, but it works.  He’s backed up with a great supporting cast which includes the whiny boss son Alfie Allen (of Game of Thrones) and his frustrated father Michael Nyqvist.  Mayhem can’t be avoided because Dean Winters plays Nvqvist’s right hand man and I like the psychotic Adrianne Palicki as the assassin who can’t be stopped.  Willem Dafoe’s character is good and if there is another film, I’d love to see a flashback or something to bring him back.  There are smaller roles by Ian McShane, John Leguizamo, Lance Reddick, Bridget Moynahan, and wrestler Kevin Nash as a bouncer, but overall the movie does pull together a good cast.

You’re head got in the way of my gun…dammit

What really selling John Wick is the action sequences.  Wick’s character is a practical killer.  If shooting a man in the foot gets the man to lean forward so he can shoot him in the head, he does it.  The action coordinator for this film deserves a lot of credit because one of my biggest gripes with action movies is when you can’t understand what is going on…John Wick is clear, concise, and quite hardcore when the shooting starts.

John Wick was a fun popcorn movie that almost plays with the format.  As I mentioned, I sometimes can’t tell if the script is meant to be serious or taken with a grain of salt because it steps in tons of clichés surrounding the uber killer.  Regardless, John Wick is a worthwhile flick that looks great.  John Wick returns in John Wick:  Chapter 2 in 2017…don’t hurt his kitten!!!

Related Links:

John Wick:  Chapter 2 (2017)

John Wick:  Chapter 3—Parabellum (2019)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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