With the recent news and marketing storm of the new John Wick 3: Parabellum, this week’s throwback review is John Wick (2014). Now, if you haven’t seen the original or just want to catch up later following the third installment in theaters, you may want to turn around.
Thanks for visiting, but SPOILERS AHEAD!
The movie that blindsided people and exceeded everyone’s expectation–this is the movie that started it all and was the start of an epic trilogy (Keanu’s second). John Wick changed our perception of what we as viewers knew as “hit-man” movies embarking on a new type of spy franchise that will never be forgotten.
In the wake of his wife’s death, a distraught and retired hitman John Wick (Keanu Reeves) received a final gift from his wife to take and love — a dog. It was the last sign of her Wick had.
When a robbery causes John Wick to lose his antique car and find his new puppy killed, he puts his gloves back on (literally, black gloves for murdering) to enact his revenge on those sick people who took away the only hope he had for dealing with his wife’s death.
He will stop at nothing and no one will get in his way from getting payback for what those guys did. Now the legend of John Wick will live again. He is back and ready for action, and it’s personal!
When you first hear the story and plot — ex-hitman wife dies, ex-hitman comes out of retirement, ex-hitman seeks revenge on those who did wrong.
This sounds like a setup to a cheesy movie of any theme sure to miss the mark and hit every single cliche it can. This is were you were wrong because John Wick is a new fresh idea to the term “hitman.”
John Wick brings things to the table we have never seen before in a trained assassin. Even with very little dialogue spoken, we still are able to connect with John Wick on an emotional level. Unlike other spy/hitman movies just looking for the money or hoping to hook up with the girl, John Wick feels different and fresh.
You still have some of the cliche spy lines and action sequences, but it seems like no one can pull it off better than the one-and-only Keanu Reeves. He was literally born to play this role and can’t imagine anyone else playing John Wick. The action sequences are some of the best action I have ever seen in a movie. Even in 2019, this film’s action sequences still hold up.
The fighting scenes are so intriguing and intense that you just love to see how Wick is going to get the bad guy. Is he going to use his hands? A pencil? A car? A curtain? Each time you see John getting in trouble, you are treated with an amazing fight scene. John Wick takes everything you know about a hitman/spy movie, crumbles it up, and does it two times better.
John Wick also works on building a world around the character. Even though there are little hints and nods throughout the movie, it gives the main character (and the other secondary characters) more depth and meaning. Even though Keanu and the ‘world building’ make the film great, the cinematography is the one thing that separates John Wick from everyone else.
This film was so beautifully shot. From the graveyard scene to the pool room scene, these scenes were just so vibrant and so beautiful. In action movies like this, its all VFX and explosions, never great cinematography (except the rare movie, like Skyfall). This is another way John Wick separates itself from the other assassin movies.
John Wick is a new type of action movie we have not seen before and completely makes Wick his own character. Keanu Reeves single-handily carries this film, even though he only talks for 15 minutes. He doesn’t need talk and still makes this character pop.
William Dafoe is in the film, and even though he is underused for a man of his talents, he still makes the most of the screen time and adds layers to John Wick’s story. That kind of storytelling makes us think who Wick was before his wife. While the movie does have some goofs, cliche lines, and sequences that we have seen a million times before, this film is executed in a beautiful way.
The shots, the amazing musical score, and the great action sequences. John Wick is revolutionary in its own sense because it doesn’t follow the same rules every other hitman or assassin film does. It hits all the bullet points (no pun intended…kinda) for a great action movie then adds to it to make the film better.
Again, what makes this film is Keanu Reeves. Without him, this film may have not been pulled of to the greatness that we saw. There is a new man in town along with Bond, Bourne, and Hunt, and his name is Wick …. John Wick !
“He once was an associate of ours. They call him “Baba Yaga.”