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John Wick (2014)

DVD Cover (Summit Entertainment)
Movie Connections:
John Wick
> John Wick (2014)
> John Wick: Chapter 2 (2017)
> John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum (2019)
Genres:
Action, Action Thriller, Crime Thriller
Directors:
Chad Stahelski Chad Stahelski
David Leitch David Leitch
Starring:
Keanu Reeves Keanu Reeves
Michael Nyqvist Michael Nyqvist
Alfie Allen Alfie Allen
Willem Dafoe Willem Dafoe
Dean Winters Dean Winters

7.4 / 10 - Overall Rating

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With the untimely death of his beloved wife still bitter in his mouth, John Wick, the expert former assassin, receives one final gift from her--a precious keepsake to help John find a new meaning in life now that she is gone. But when the arrogant Russian mob prince, Iosef Tarasov, and his men pay Wick a rather unwelcome visit to rob him of his prized 1969 Mustang and his wife's present, the legendary hitman will be forced to unearth his meticulously concealed identity. Blind with revenge, John will immediately unleash a carefully orchestrated maelstrom of destruction against the sophisticated kingpin, Viggo Tarasov, and his family, who are fully aware of his lethal capacity. Now, only blood can quench the boogeyman's thirst for retribution. --IMDb
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Review by Crispy
Added: October 23, 2015
I'll tell you, I'm always a sucker for a good action movie, but lately the genre has taken a turn for the worse. The mindless and unrealistic violence has recently been phased out by more subdued plot-driven movies. Well, John Wick is having none of that.

After losing his wife to cancer a week earlier, John Wick (Keanu Reeves) has just been going through the motions, completely numb to life. However, one night, there's a knock on the door and a puppy named Daisey is delivered along with a note from his late wife, telling him that she's finally at peace and he needs to get on with his life. Slowly, John begins to reconnect with the world, taking the pooch out for rides in his 1969 Mustang. While filling the tank one day, a young Russian man (Alfie Allen) asks him what his asking price is, and he doesn't take too kindly to John's reply that it isn't for sale. That night, he and his friends breaks into John's house, beat the shit out of him and kill Daisy. Unfortunately for this kid, they actually have a deeper connection. You see, he is Iosef Tarasov, the son of Russian mobster, Viggo Tarasov (Michael Nyqvist). Viggo took power in large part due to the work of Mr. John Wick, the most efficient contract killer in the game who retired following his wedding. He knows full well that his son's actions has earned Wick's wrath, and while he knows how futile any sort of resistance will be, he's not about to just hand his son over. Now, John has to fight through the entirety of Viggo's henchmen to get to Iosef, and avenge the only piece of solace that was so violently ripped from away from him.

This movie wasted no time jumping into things. Twenty-five minutes in and John is already pounding into his basement floor with a sledge hammer, retrieving his tools of the trade while Viggo is shitting himself. I'll tell you, John's reputation might be one of the simplest, and most enjoyable, parts of the movie. When Iosef brings that Mustang to their usual chop shop, the owner recognizes it immediately and kicks them out. Soon after, when Viggo is told what his son did, he responds with only a dumbfounded, "oh". It's these little touches that raise John Wick to the inhuman level that we all want in our action stars. Half an hour into the movie, and this character was already built up to rival James Bond, and once he got down and dirty, he sure didn't disappoint.

One guy walking around blowing dozens of bad guys away is nothing new, but there was something special about the character Stahelski created. Unlike the stand-and-endlessly-fire-machine-guns we remember from the likes of Rambo and Commando, John Wick is ruthless and strategic. Preferring hand guns, John has a knack for firing off a few rounds into legs and chests to immediately disarm his enemies, before finishing them off with a definitive head shot. Along with his more improvised moments, it's a glorious acknowledgement to the deadly efficiency that's earned him the afore-mentioned reputation. Plus, Stahelski shot the movie beautifully. It's all low angles and steady cuts. Along with the rocking soundtrack, you can fully appreciate John's cold rampage instead of worrying about epilepsy.

Title character aside, I love how they built this whole underworld for the hitmen. There's a strict code that these men and women live by, complete with their own currency and codes. As you can imagine, it's a pretty small population and the resulting tight-knittedness of the community added a little bit extra to the downtime between gunfights. Not to mention, it provides a fertile ground for the franchise's inevitable sequels. Reeves has already signed on for John Wick 2, but even when he decides to walk away from the series, there's plenty of room to move on as a spin-off.

John Wick starts off quick and just doesn't let up. If you even slightly consider yourself a fan of action movies, do not miss this one. 8/10. Oh, and there's a scene where John is driving his car out of a hangar as the door is raising. What's got two thumbs and operated the hangar door for that scene? This guy! yes, this scene was shot at the airport where I work and they took me aside to work the controls. Unfortunately they left me out of the credits despite my contribution.
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