Starring: Keanu Reeves, Adrianne Palicki, Bridget Moynahan, Bridget Regan, Willem Dafoe, Ian McShane, Alfie Allen
Directors: David Leitch and Chad Stahelski
'John Wick'. Pic/Santa Banta
It's been a long time since Keanu Reeves made a great action movie. After his 1999-film 'The Matrix' and its slightly disappointing sequels, Reeves pretty much disappeared from the limelight. He directed a Kung Fu-based movie two years ago which fizzled out. He starred in the underrated 'Constantine' and later took a couple of poor project decisions, and for a while it felt like he had faded into oblivion. If you're a fan of Reeves, you'd be happy to know that he's back with a loud bang.
'John Wick' is exactly the kind of action film we needed at the moment. It's thrilling, visceral, non stop fun, and has a flavour of self aware schlock that takes it above the run-of-the-mill potboilers, and even makes fun of them. It's the quintessential Nicholas Cage movie, only better.
The plot is, at the onset, quite hilarious. It is a revenge thriller, and Reeves (Wick) is seeking vengeance because certain goons messed with his pet dog. In case you thought this is a joke of a plot, it isn't. That is actually what Wick does — goes on a killing rampage against the Russian mafia because they dared to kill his pet. Naturally, the dog has an emotional significance in the film, but it doesn't make it any less hilarious. It's reminiscent of Cage's line in 'Con Air', where he asks a goon to step away from the bunny.
The film is the debut directorial project of David Leitch and Chad Stahelski who display some of the panache and sheer kinetic energy as shown by Neveldine and Taylor in the Crank movies — except that Leitch and Stahelski are more interested in rooting their film in reality, compared to surreal joys of the Statham films. The directors were stuntmen earlier and they use their experience to awe-inspiring execution. The action sequences are stylish as hell, a couple of shots are near iconic. There is a lot of violence, and Reeves, with his trademark vacant stare, is somehow incredibly enjoyable beating up people without moving his face.
The best part? The film doesn't end Wick's character — if Hollywood were looking for a fresh new alternative to the Bond franchise, they really should make more 'John Wick' movies. Wick is a lot more fun than what Bond and Bourne could ever be. And he kick a ton of ass. Very stylishly.