Starring: Keanu Reeves, Michael Nyqvist, Alfie Allen
Director: Chad Stahelski
Running Time: 101 mins
John Wick is an American film about an ex-hitman who goes on a rampage of revenge after the arrogant son of a Russian crime boss steals his car and kills his dog.
Thugs kill dog. Owner of dog must kill thugs. That’s the beauty of John Wick. A wonderfully simple crime-thriller story that leaves the door open for some incredibly-choreographed action sequences and stunning direction, making for a very unique action movie that’s an absolute blast to watch from start to finish.
The one thing that struck me most about this film is the fact that it feels nothing like a Hollywood movie. In fact, it barely even feels like an American movie. Its simple story crossed with its heavily stylised visuals give it the appearance of a tiny indie thriller that feels far more German than American, but it’s just that that makes this such a refreshing film to watch.
American director Chad Stahelski does an absolutely incredible job here. Apart from the fact that the film’s numerous action sequences are perfectly choreographed and orchestrated, to the point where it feels more like watching a dance than a brawl, the look of the film is absolutely jaw-dropping from start to finish.
It’s a beautifully shot film, with imagery ranging from John Wick’s grey and dull life outside of his career as a hitman to the vibrant and pulsating heart of New York City, which bathes the story in stunningly memorable neon colours that give this film such a unique visual identity.
But this film isn’t just something for your eyes to feast on, because there’s even more to enjoy. In what is easily his best role in years, Keanu Reeves is absolutely fantastic. Back to the sort of action movie hero that made him such a hit in the 90s, yet with a more battle-hardened way about him, Reeves is brilliant to watch throughout, bringing the silent but deadly John Wick to life with a very composed performance that bursts into thrilling action every now and again.
And then there’s the story. As I said earlier, the absolute beauty of John Wick is that its story is incredibly simple, which means there’s all the more room to be thrilled by the beautiful direction and visual style. What it also means, however, is that things never get too convoluted. There’s very little in the way of complex allegiances, betrayals and rivalries in this movie, but that’s exactly what makes this such an entertaining watch.
Of course, there is a backstory to everything that happens here, but it’s introduced very swiftly as the film unfolds in its opening act. However, the simplicity of the revenge plot here makes it a perfectly pure action thriller, something that we very rarely get to see pulled off so well, and that’s why I’m giving John Wick an 8.4 overall.