John Wick (2014)

The basic story is that a few gangsters kill Keanu Reeves, who plays the titular John Wick, dog and he gets revenge by going after them and killing as many gang members as he can. While that makes it sound like a poorly made, shitty Steven Seagal film, ‘John Wick’ is so much more.

This film simply oozes with style, from the beautiful panning shots to the extremely well choreographed fight sequences. This film is co-directed by both Chad Stahelski and David Leitch, both of whom have previously worked as stunt co-ordinators for big action blockbusters and their previous occupations are never more prevalent than when showcased in the multiple action sequences of the film.

The action is cleanly choreographed and confidently directed, quite often directors will use shaky cam to “enhance” action scenes in a film however Stahelski and Leitch are so confident in their choreography and the performances of their actors that they maintain a steady and concise focus on the fights throughout meaning that at all times you can clearly see what is happening and, especially nowadays where more and more directors are resorting to shaky cam to add to the action feel, it is to be admired that these directors embraced their perfectly crafted action scenes.

The acting from the entire cast is stellar, not one bad actor in the bunch and while Reeves is his usual wooden self, he has managed to make it work for him and made him seem to really connect with the character of John Wick and empathise with his situation, as clichéd and recycled as it is.

All of this is not to say that ‘John Wick’ is not without its flaws, the last 15 or so minutes seemed to alter the pace from the rest of the film for some reason and it slowed down, not by much but after 90 minutes of Keanu Reeves shooting people in the face, the slowing pace was jarring and it seemed like those final 15 minutes were very bloated, what could have been resolved in a five minute scene was dragged out for 15 minutes for an indiscernible reason. Besides those last 15 minutes however the pacing of the film was superb, there were no lulls in the film, it flowed perfectly and naturally, it’s just those last 15 minutes that let the film down slightly.

I don’t like to use this phrase much as it seems to simplify what an achievement this film is, but ‘John Wick’ is an absolutely bad ass film. Pure and simple a non-stop action, blood pumping thrill ride.

8/10

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