**1/2 out of ****
John Wick is action for the sake of action. It’s 100 minutes of stupidly awesome combat sequences with a high body count. It’s a movie that knows it’s a movie with a Keanu Reeves that knows it’s a Keanu Reeves. In the nineties, stuff like this made big bucks but critics would have smeared it.
To my surprise this film is doing quite well in terms of critical response and is certified “fresh” on Rotten Tomatoes. John Wick has no lame connections to topical subjects, religious allegories, or heavy-handed statements. It takes full ownership of its ridiculousness. Maybe that’s why critics approve it.
After the first few minutes, you can roll your eyes as the quiet hero attends a funeral in the rain for his departed wife (Bridget Moynahan). He’s a man who’s lost everything he loves and the last thing that he needs is for someone to rob him of all he has left. Anyone who does so didn’t know with whom they were dealing.
YOU KNOW THE STORY! It doesn’t matter. The movie knows it. We know it. Keanu knows it! Let the bloodshed, cool cars, hot women, luxury hotel rooms, flying bullets, bloody daggers and underground neon-lit clubs (subject to massacre) all get their share of exhibition. Let’s not forget the vast amount of esteemed actors popping in to add some delightful personality to the film before they collect their paychecks.
The action and stunts are astoundingly well choreographed and deliver the goods for hardcore fans of the genre. The movie also has a running humorous element about the world of gangsters and hitmen having free reign to cause catastrophes, knowing that a well-paid clandestine clean-up crew will arrive to take care of the damage.
John Wick is in no way cinematic progress and I got tired of it about fifteen minutes before it ended –but I still owe it respect for not trying to con me into believing it has substance. I already saw Lucy earlier this year.