Not a Movie Snob - John Wick

Posted on Sunday, October 26, 2014 at 02:00 AM

Movie: John Wick

John Wick

Movie Review by Griffintainment X

The intro: I read a review recently of the new Brad Pitt flick Fury where the reviewer criticized the film for its lack of feel good. He felt the film was too grim and too bleak and therefore was too heavy to be sufficiently entertaining. Well, if he hasn't, this guy needs to see John Wick.

The synopsis: A highly skilled hit man (is there any other kind?) falls in love and retires. Five years later his wife dies of cancer or some such disease. She leaves him a dog. A group of punks connected to the same Russian mob for which the hit man used to 'do things for' break into his house, steal his beloved car and kill his dog. Retired hit man goes batty, unleashes his inner assassin on the Ruskies in a mountain high pile up of dead bodies that would make 1980's Hong Kong-era Chow Yun-Fat drop his jaw at.


The execution (pun intended): There is grumpy, seeing red, full bore, bull charging action from beginning to end in this movie. Literally from beginning to end. As in, the first body falls about ten minutes or so into the 100 minute film and the bodies keep on falling like snow flakes in a Minnesota winter right up until the final reel.

This is the stuff action dreams are made of. Action for action's sake. The filmmakers aren't trying to be The King's Speech mixed with The Raid: Redemption here. This is a bullet ballet, minus the gratuitous slow-mo. Death waltzes are danced in the rain (of course), in clubs, bathed in neon (of course) and up and down hallways and in and out of rooms in hotels and apartment buildings (of course, of course). 

The players: I'm not typically a fan of Keanu Reeves' acting. Even his iconic roles in Speed and The Matrix aren't iconic because of him. And he doesn't do much here to convince me otherwise. He does best when he isn't talking though. To my untrained eye, it looks as though he handles many of the stunts in John Wick himself. That's impressive. And he has a couple of scenes where he needs to show real emotion and real purified anger and conveys both convincingly. That's impressive as well. And while this is a good role for him, one we will undoubtably see him return to in the next five years, dialogue still is just not his friend. But what do I know. He's a movie star and I'm just a movie dork sitting at his laptop criticizing someone for having a cooler career than I do.


The magic: This movie is filled to busting with cool special effects and chest thumping displays of testosterone heavy good guy/bad guy battles. I know green screen and therefore CGI was used throughout, because I've seen the behind the scenes photos online (look left), but it never looks less than convincing in the film and it always looks like it was a frickin' blast to shoot.

The verdict: If this movie was made in the 70's, with a smaller budget and lesser known stars, well, for one thing it would've been made by Roger Corman. But for another it would've become a veritable cult classic by this point in history. I don't think John Wick is looking at that level of immortality unfortunately, but I do think it's a hell of a lot of fun, does well what it set out to do at all and will without a doubt spawn a franchise that will see sequels and prequels aplenty. Pretty impressive for a lone avenger movie that isn't based on a comic book or video game. I didn't know they still made those.

The Rating: ***1/2

Calgary Showtimes: John Wick > | John Wick: The IMAX Experience >


NOTE: The showtimes listed on come directly from the theatres' announced schedules, which are distributed to us on a weekly basis. All showtimes are subject to change without notice or recourse to