Review: John Wick (2014)

Reeves' revenge

So, who’s ready for a big of gun-fu?

When it comes to action films these days I find they have become somewhat like boy-bands: overly- similar and rather tiring after a while. Until something a bit different enters the ring.

Keanu Reeves is an actor that I would consider as rather typecast (with the exception of Bill and Ted), always playing the dark, hard-as-nails protagonist. And maybe John Wick is no exception to that rule, but perhaps it is exactly what the action genre has been waiting for to break the mould.

Reeves plays the titular John Wick, an ex-mob hitman aptly named Baba Yaga, the Russian name for The Boogeyman. But to quote the film: “John Wick is the man who you send to KILL the Boogeyman”, and rightly so.

After falling in love with the woman of his dreams, Wick gives up his life of fighting and killing. Five years on, after the death of his wife, John’s only real companion is the dog his deceased partner had left to him to keep him from loneliness. Okay, bear with me here a second, I know this sounds like another typical action flick.

When a group of thugs lead by Iosef Tarasov, played by Alfie Allen, (Game Of Thrones) break into John’s house, beat him to a pulp, steal his car and worst of all kill his furry friend, it leaves a bad taste in John’s mouth. Learning the identity of Iosef, the son of Russian gangster Viggo Tarasov (Michael Nyqvist), who happens to be John’s former boss, John wreaks havoc on those who have wronged him.

I cannot explain any further about the details of the plot because I truly believe anyone reading this who may be a movie fan should go and watch this ASAP. But what I can say is that compared to most action films the fighting scenes are truly spectacular. Introducing an adaption of a fighting style now dubbed ‘Gun-Fu’ which can be seen in such films as Equilibrium, Wanted, Face/Off and The Matrix, this film does not disappoint.

One scene in particular (sparing the bloody details) involves Wick dispatching a rather large group of bad guys, and still to this day I cannot think of another recent action film that has had such a stylised and brutal combat sequence. The only major flaw I see in this movie is that of the typical Reeves character. Even though it works incredibly well, I still feel like maybe watching him punch, kick, shoot and generally tear everything down has become a bit repetitive. But saying that, he does manage to pull it off rather well.

An exhilarating, engaging and fun film to watch. And you’d better believe that John Wick will be back to kill some more Boogeymen over the next few years.

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