Fall is generally a time for prestige films that hope to be part of the year-end awards talk as well as big blockbusters for the holiday movie-going crowds. Then there are movies like John Wick.
John Wick is a big, dumb action movie that is ridiculously entertaining. Here’s the plot: John Wick (Keanu Reeves) is a retired mob hitman who recently lost his wife Helen (Bridget Moynahan) to an undisclosed disease. He cares about two things now: his car and the puppy his wife gave him when she died. Both are taken from him by young punk Iosef (Alfie Allen), the son of his former employer, Viggo (Michael Nyqvist). Now it’s time for revenge. The rest of the film is an orgy of gunplay, kung fu, and killing.
Usually, I’m very tough on action movies, because they usually try to be plot-centric, but screw it up terribly. I’m praising John Wick for the opposite. This movie is light on plot because it is exactly what it intends to be: an action junkie’s wet dream. Wick is a beyond-effective killer and there are definitely moments in this film that will leave you shaking your head at how stupid they are, but the film is definitely entertaining. I found myself constantly cackling in delight as Wick dispatched his foes with lethal accuracy.
Reeves gives his usual surfer dude delivery and I almost felt like Wick should have said less. Nyqvist is hilariously loopy as mob boss Viggo, while Allen is just playing a nastier Theon Greyjoy. The supporting cast is fantastic with great performers like Willem Dafoe, Ian McShane, and Lance Reddick in key roles. Dean Winters is hilarious as Viggo’s right hand man. Adrianne Palicki is also good as an assassin, while another Wire alum, whose identity I won’t spoil, makes a great cameo.
Overall, if you like mindless action, John Wick is the film for you. I felt the film could have used a little more winking humor like Shoot ‘Em Up, but otherwise, I was thoroughly entertained. If action with little to no plot isn’t your thing, give this one a pass, but if you want to see Keanu kick it Matrix style, pay John Wick a visit.