In anticipation of John Wick 3: Parabellum I rewatched John Wick and John Wick: Chapter 2. This is the first of the two reviews.
John Wick stars Keanu Reeves in a late career role of a lifetime. From the man who brought us Neo from the Matrix we get perhaps the character Keanu Reeves was born to play.
John Wick tells the story of a many on a quest for vengeance. Reeves plays the retired hitman John Wick. The film begins with the funeral of Wick’s wife, who died from a medical condition. Following her death Wick’s wife, posthumously leaves him with a puppy whom Wick quickly grows a bond with. Soon after this, the son of Russian Mob head Viggo Tarasov, played brilliantly by Michael Nyqvist, breaks into Wick’s home, steals his favorite car and kills his puppy. These actions trigger the return of the Boogey Man himself as Wick goes on a one man killing spree to kill the son and get his revenge no matter what.
John Wick works well for several reasons. First and foremost it creates a cause for revenge we can all get behind. Nobody kills puppy and gets away with it. The film also treats John Wick with such fear and reverence through the reactions of the supporting cast. We are given the Boogey Man speech and the audience understands that John Wick is not a man to mess with.
The film also hints at a huge world of assassins and a code by which they live. The hotel where John Wick stays, called The Continental, is a wonderful piece of world building that begs to be further explored in future installments and or spin offs.
Even with all that, what really makes John Wick so enjoyable is the visceral Gunfu throughout the whole movie. The two stand out sequences are when the Russians break into his home following the puppy death and the night club scene where John Wick tears through every Russian monster in sight.
My one complaint with John Wick is when he finally gets his revenge the film has a tough time providing a truly satisfying ending. The final action scenes don’t quite live up to what’s come before but are still enjoyable enough.
I would highly recommend John Wick if you’re in the mood for a more modern action movie with thrilling set pieces and a character you can truly get behind.