Picture
Click on the poster for the official trailer.
"People keep asking me if I'm back and I haven't really had an answer... But yeah, I'm thinking I'm back!"

John Wick (Keanu Reeves)
Keanu Reeves is 50 years old, people... FIFTY years old! Regardless of where you stand on the man as an actor (Reeves is one of a handful of actors that can split the audience into either Love- or Hate-them... Kevin Costner is another), there is no denying the man has aged gracefully. Swarthy good looks and a natural on screen charisma are strong tools in Keanu's belt, but recently the films he has appeared in have struggled to really utilize him to their advantage. With the exception of his own directorial début Man of Tai Chi (an underrated gem that is a mark of true Hong Kong action cinema), Reeves' recent back catalogue has been, quite frankly, a letdown. Thank the Gods of Action Movies for debutante directors Chad Stahelski and (an un-credited) David Leitch - two seasoned stunt and fight co-ordinators - who bring Reeves back into the fold with one of the sleekest, razor-sharp and Goddamn coolest action movies in recent memory.
PictureDaisy...
Economy of narrative is always preferable for a hard-nosed thriller such as this - and here the plot is as lean as they come. When young Russian thug Josef (Alfie Allen) and his gang break into a house, beat up the owner, murder his dog and steal his prized classic sports car, little do they realize the scale of the shit-storm that is about to descend upon them. For not only has the victim's wife recently died from illness and not only was the puppy the last gift he ever received from her, but that the victim is none other than John Wick (Keanu Reeves) - a former assassin and associate of Iosef's ganglord father Viggo (Michael Nvqvist), who angrily informs his idiot boy that this is the man who "you would send to kill the fuckin' Bogeyman"... And now he is pissed. You couldn't have a better moniker than Wick for this guy - a compacted powder-keg that has just had the fuse lit. And Reeves is perfect casting in a film as tailored to him as a Savile Row suit. He captures the lonely heartbreak of a man who has just lost everything in his life that meant something. From the video of his wife that he plays on his phone to the tiny moments with Daisy the puppy, Stahelski & Leitch* give John Wick enough emotional heft to allow the audience to side with this lethal killing machine, then sit back and let the bullets and fists do the talking. They have also built up a nice company of actors to fill this world too - Nvqvist is a blast as the gangster desperately hoping to diffuse our hero by any means necessary, Allen makes a great sniveling punk who really should take heed of his father's concerns, Adrienne Palicki has a lot of fun as a rival assassin looking to take advantage of the tidy price tag on John Wick's head and we have some great cameos from the likes of Willem Dafoe, Ian McShane, John Leguizamo and Clarke Peters to name a few.

Picture"Everything's got a price."
Writer Derek Kolstad (whose only previous works are a couple of Dolph Lundgren DTV action flicks) shows a deft hand at scripting hard-boiled dialogue and building a believable world of hotels for hitmen and the Rules of the Trade that you break at your peril. The directors build on this strong foundation by using smart, simple camera shots and techniques that always allow the action to speak for itself. Stahelski was Reeves' stunt double on the second Matrix movie and shows supreme confidence in Keanu's physical abilities - confidence that is rewarded many times over. It feels like a real breath of fresh air when an action star is allowed to demonstrate their natural prowess without the aid of camera and CGI trickery - here, everything is done in-camera with skill and precision. Not since the first Taken movie have we seen action so stripped down and visceral. And the biggest one-up this movie has over Liam Neeson's exploits is that while the directors may relish the violent carnage on screen, they do so with an unmistakable knowing wink in their eyes. One particular highlight for singling out must be a barnstorming set piece in a nightclub, where Wick zeroes in on his prey like a hawk. This whole set-up is ridiculous and they know it - Wick reloading his gun mid-execution is a fine example of this. And they wear their influences like badges of honor - the film has all the style and manners of a John Woo Hong Kong bullet ballet whilst deep in its core runs a stark isolation that is pure Walter Hill modern Western (one of Hill's regulars David Michael Kelly even has a plum role as the clean-up man of choice for hitmen). And best of all is that all of this is kept at a brisk 101 minutes running time - in my humble opinion, the perfect length for any movie. John Wick has taken its time in crossing the Atlantic (the US release was back in October last year), but for us UK action fans it has most certainly been worth the wait...

(* Sounds like an awesome 70's cop show!)


A 100% pure genre masterpiece, John Wick see Keanu Reeves return in style to the action hero role that defined him for a whole generation. Slick, efficient and powerful in its design, it is hardly a surprise to hear that a sequel is already in the works. Already one of the best films of 2015 - and if you want to argue otherwise, you can take it up with John... Personally, I'd advise against it!
 


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Wow, It is an amazing article. I’m a fan of Keanu Reeves because he is my ideal guy and I believe that all women are dreaming of him. He is not only a great actor, but also my favorite musician. Actually, one of the best movie that I’d love is the Man of Tai Chi. He really did a great job in that movie and I’m also proud of him because he is the director. He is fantastic person that I really adore. I hope I can meet him someday. Thank you for this write up, you really feed me with good information about him. I can’t wait for your next blog.

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Thanks for your review. Now I would definitely watch this movie. Keanu Reeves is just awesome actor.

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Good post indeed

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