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Review: John Wick

John Wick
09.19.2014
9 10

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PLOT: A former hit man is forced back into the business after a brutal attack from an old colleague’s entitled and vindictive son.

REVIEW: Welcome back Keanu Reeves. In his latest action revenge drama JOHN WICK, the actor gives a full-throttle performance that makes it easy to believe he is completely capable of the hell he takes on. With a simple story – almost ridiculously so – this uber-violent flick takes the viewer on an intensely exciting ride. This is thrilling stuff that is sure to please action and Reeves fans in spades.

Reeves portrays the title character of JOHN WICK. All we know about him early on is that he has recently lost his wife, he loves his car, and he received a puppy from his dying spouse as a final gift. From the get-go he is a charismatic and cool character who just wants to be left alone to mourn. When he stops by a gas station to fill up the tank, a group of thugs led by Iosef Tarasov (Alfie Allen, TV’s “Game of Thrones”) take a liking to his precious car. When they ask how much, Wick states that it is not for sale. Tarasov and his bullying pals don’t take kindly to this, so they track down the car and decide to invade John that night and take every last thing that he loved.

john wick keanu reeves action hitman

When Iosef’s father Viggo (Michael Nyqvist) finds out exactly who his son stole a car from, he takes all precautions to protect him and his family. We soon find that Wick is one of the best and most successful hitmen in the business who finally settled down and retired to be with the love of his life. And now, after losing everything, a little retribution is at hand. From then on, we see one action-set-piece after another as Wick gets closer and closer to finding his own justice, while he himself suffers a setback or two.

First time director Chad Stahelski clearly knows how to create a suspenseful action sequence. Coming from a stunt background, the car chases, the fist fights and the barrage of gunshots fill the screen in an almost operatic way. This is no cheap spectacle. Along with cinematographer Jonathan Sela, he creates a visually impressive movie that is loaded to the brim with intensity. Far more violent than most American movies, this brutal display has more akin with something like OLDBOY from Chan-wook Park as opposed to the uninspired Spike Lee remake. It is an impressive display with only a couple of moments that hint at repetition.

keanu reeves john wick action hitman

And then there is Keanu Reeves. The role of John Wick seems tailor made for the action star. In fact, this may be his best performance to date. He is wonderfully sympathetic, especially when it comes to his relationship with the puppy – animal lovers be warned, there is some tough stuff here. Every step of the way I bought Reeves as the badass who is continually pulled into this violent and corrupt world. His response to the barrage of characters asking if he is back in the game of killing seems to come from a very real place. Perhaps there was a hint of reluctance to take on another action film, but Reeves proves he still has the magic touch for the genre when given the right material, as is the case with JOHN WICK.

As a man who used to work with Wick, Nyqvist is a perfect villain. After all, he is trying to protect the moronic actions of his entitled son. Clearly he respects John and knows just how far he will go if pushed. When he offers a reward for the vengeance driven hero, a number of exciting actors have an incredible time trying to get in on the mayhem. Adrianne Palicki is a delight and holds her own especially well against Reeves. And once again, Willem Dafoe delivers a fantastic performance as a man who may or may not be a threat to Wick. While most of Iosef Tarasov ruffian pals are one-note, it is still a pleasure to see them taken down one-by-one.

keanu reeves action hitman john wick

With very little in the way of expectation when it came to Reeves' latest – I hadn’t watched the trailer before I saw the film – it was one of the most satisfying American action films that I’ve witnessed in a while. The script by Derek Kolstad may seem a bit far-fetched at times, but the simplicity of Wick’s need for revenge was completely sustaining. This is the most entertaining Keanu Reeves action vehicle since THE MATRIX. JOHN WICK is a wild and bloody ride that hardly lets up until the final frame.

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Source: JoBlo.com

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9:28AM on 03/11/2015

Actually liked it

Did not expect to like this thing. Seriously, for me, you can substitute Keanu Reeves with a tree, and I'm still going to enjoy the movie. Worked for my imagination when I watched the Matrix at least. But, here he looked a little more human. Or at least I think so, maybe I just liked the setting too much. Overall is a good movie.
Did not expect to like this thing. Seriously, for me, you can substitute Keanu Reeves with a tree, and I'm still going to enjoy the movie. Worked for my imagination when I watched the Matrix at least. But, here he looked a little more human. Or at least I think so, maybe I just liked the setting too much. Overall is a good movie.
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4:22PM on 10/19/2014

How does it fair in IMAX?

Considering the growing hype, is it worth the extra couple bucks to see it that way? I'm happy it's not in 3D and for that fact seeing it in IMAX has more consideration than if it were in 3D. Nevertheless.
Considering the growing hype, is it worth the extra couple bucks to see it that way? I'm happy it's not in 3D and for that fact seeing it in IMAX has more consideration than if it were in 3D. Nevertheless.
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10:01AM on 10/16/2014

good stuff

I saw this last night at a screening and will second what this review said: It is a lot of fun! If you like brutal hand-to-hand gun-play set in a interesting and somewhat uniquely realized crime-world, check it out! I plan on seeing it again when it is released opening weekend.
I saw this last night at a screening and will second what this review said: It is a lot of fun! If you like brutal hand-to-hand gun-play set in a interesting and somewhat uniquely realized crime-world, check it out! I plan on seeing it again when it is released opening weekend.
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6:08PM on 09/21/2014
This is great new, big Keanu fan and am super happy to see him back in form. Hopefully it does well enough for this to be his 'comeback' movie, early reviews are promising!
This is great new, big Keanu fan and am super happy to see him back in form. Hopefully it does well enough for this to be his 'comeback' movie, early reviews are promising!
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9:35AM on 09/21/2014
It's not often I look at a popcorn movie and think I'm DEFINITELY going to try and see it in theaters.
It's not often I look at a popcorn movie and think I'm DEFINITELY going to try and see it in theaters.
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12:17AM on 09/21/2014
Glad to see Keanu Reeves back in his full action mode.
Glad to see Keanu Reeves back in his full action mode.
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9:45PM on 09/20/2014

Goddamn...

I did not expect a 9 out of 10. I am so glad Keanu is back and kick some major ass.
I did not expect a 9 out of 10. I am so glad Keanu is back and kick some major ass.
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1:14PM on 09/20/2014
About time! Keanu if too damn good to not make hits.
About time! Keanu if too damn good to not make hits.
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10:29AM on 09/20/2014
As a Keanu fan and overall film fan, this makes me very happy.
As a Keanu fan and overall film fan, this makes me very happy.
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7:56AM on 09/20/2014
Fantastic, yet another awesome movie that slips in unexpected.
Fantastic, yet another awesome movie that slips in unexpected.
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7:15AM on 09/20/2014
Im backing retlaw on this one aswell. I am glad to see him get some praise. I actually thought he was underrated in Street Kings. I thought that was a really good film.
Im backing retlaw on this one aswell. I am glad to see him get some praise. I actually thought he was underrated in Street Kings. I thought that was a really good film.
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5:52AM on 09/20/2014

Glad to see Keanu get some praise

He is one of my favourite actors. Always wondered why he didnt do more action movies, in between Speed and the matrix and now this movie he didnt do much of them. He s at his best in an action movie(offcourse if provided with a good director. Now maybe make a franchise out of this with part 2 being helmed by gareth evans, and if it isnt a box office succes then make a good tv show out of it.
He is one of my favourite actors. Always wondered why he didnt do more action movies, in between Speed and the matrix and now this movie he didnt do much of them. He s at his best in an action movie(offcourse if provided with a good director. Now maybe make a franchise out of this with part 2 being helmed by gareth evans, and if it isnt a box office succes then make a good tv show out of it.
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4:44AM on 09/20/2014
Wow, a 9? That's almost hard to believe, with this being a Keanu film. I'm glad it's good. This film came out of nowhere and the trailer for it kicked some major ass. Definitely checking this out on release.
Wow, a 9? That's almost hard to believe, with this being a Keanu film. I'm glad it's good. This film came out of nowhere and the trailer for it kicked some major ass. Definitely checking this out on release.
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4:37AM on 09/20/2014
The trailer kicked ass, so I was worried that it was misleading us and that the movie wouldn't be as good. This is so good to hear.
The trailer kicked ass, so I was worried that it was misleading us and that the movie wouldn't be as good. This is so good to hear.
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3:13AM on 09/20/2014
Sounds like a good movie, but I'll have to skip it. The thought of something bad happening to the dog, that was a gift from his wife, is something I just can't handle watching.
Sounds like a good movie, but I'll have to skip it. The thought of something bad happening to the dog, that was a gift from his wife, is something I just can't handle watching.
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3:03AM on 09/20/2014
I was so scared that this was going to be a Great Trailer,Shit Film situation which we seem to get more and more of (yeah I'm talking too you Lucy) ,This review has given me hope. This better get a Cinema release in Australia.
I was so scared that this was going to be a Great Trailer,Shit Film situation which we seem to get more and more of (yeah I'm talking too you Lucy) ,This review has given me hope. This better get a Cinema release in Australia.
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3:00AM on 09/20/2014
I honestly watch this trailer once a day. It has the making of being a huge game changer for Reeves. Great review. Made me even more excited.
I honestly watch this trailer once a day. It has the making of being a huge game changer for Reeves. Great review. Made me even more excited.
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12:39AM on 09/20/2014
So psyched to see this get a great review!
So psyched to see this get a great review!
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12:23AM on 09/20/2014
I'm a big fan of Keanu so I'm really looking forward to this.
I'm a big fan of Keanu so I'm really looking forward to this.
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11:32PM on 09/19/2014

"People are asking if I'm back...

...yeah I'm pretty sure im back!"

As true a statement for Keanu as it is for Wick.
...yeah I'm pretty sure im back!"

As true a statement for Keanu as it is for Wick.
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2:59AM on 09/20/2014
Might be one of the greatest lines from a movie in the past decade.
Might be one of the greatest lines from a movie in the past decade.
11:22PM on 09/19/2014
Sold, when Keanu Reeves is good, he is really fudging good!
Sold, when Keanu Reeves is good, he is really fudging good!
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11:22PM on 09/19/2014
This looks like a fun time but I was not expecting a 9 out of 10 at all. Very good news.
This looks like a fun time but I was not expecting a 9 out of 10 at all. Very good news.
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