REVIEW: JOHN WICK
SYNOPSIS: An ex-hitman comes out of retirement to track down the gangsters that took everything from him. With New York City as his bullet-riddled playground, JOHN WICK (Keanu Reeves) is a fresh and stylized take on the "assassin genre".
According to a few online sources, this is the directorial debut of Chad Stahelski, best known as a well-regarded stunt coordinator. He is the unsung hero, the stunt guru who stepped into Brandon Lee’s shoes on “The Crow” and spent the next two decades absorbing all the behind-the-scenes filming lessons that make “John Wick” such a technically impeccable actioner. He brings us this flick that is considerably about martial arts and motion, with lots of gamer-style action, stunning camera angles and visuals, but not a whole lot of slow paced chatter. The action style of this movie literally forced me to research the director because the movie plays out like a typical John Woo release. It overwhelmingly has just enough John Woo style visuals to engage the biggest of the action-flick die-hards.
Since his role in “The Matrix“ trilogy, if you’ve been yearning for a movie where Keanu Reeves shoots or body-slams a lot of people, well it’s a good time to rejoice his comeback. Yes, that’s right Reeves is back and in full effect here, with this kick-@ss … take no prisoners thrilling flick. Amid last year’s “47 Ronin”, and “Man of Tai Chi,” Reeves seems to be finally embracing a B-movie career that works to his strengths. It appears as though he’s finally content in knowing his acting limits and plays the ‘man with no name’ gun-slinger type with a quiet and almost zen-like Samurai-esk tone.
As with most other action dramatic thrillers, the graphic carnage could be a little much and it may bother some viewers, here. Nevertheless, when I consider many others of the same genre, it is very much on par with the blood and gore of the current cinematic releases of the millennia. Clearly, “John Wick” isn’t set in the real world, but rather in the sort of heightened parallel dimension that gamers use for target practice, where they must constantly be on their guard as goons pop up from behind objects and around corners. That’s effectively how we experience the better part of this movie, tagging along as Wick hunts down his primary target.
Still, the principal thing everyone needs to know is that this is a pretty amazing action flick that spends an acceptable amount of time building up its main character and storyline while not dragging on. It correctly relies on a mixture of heavy metal and electronic music from the likes of Marilyn Manson, Tyler Bates and Kaleida to generate propulsive forward energy throughout the action scenes. This is undoubtedly another added touch to remind us of some of the most memorable scenes with Reeves in The Matrix.
Overall, it is a pretty good choice if one wants to watch an entertaining action flick without the heavy undertone of unnecessary in-your-face, close-up blood splatter. It deserves four and a half out of five stars for onscreen action in its purest form, on screen.
By Movi-Man Stan
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