John Wick - Film Review

Keanu Reeves in 'John Wick'.
Keanu Reeves in 'John Wick'.

As far as I am concerned, Keanu Reeves, is more wooden than all of the trees in St. Columb’s Park put together.

Keanu is so out of his depth when it comes to conveying facial expressions and emotion that I begin to question the sanity of a casting director if he or she puts Keanu in a movie that requires a lot of acting.

My reservations of Keanu’s acting skills or lack thereof aside, he does have a presence about him and it is unleashed surprisingly well in Chad Stahelski’s ‘John Wick’.

In the movie, Keanu plays a retired hit-man called John Wick.

Wick, a prolific assassin walks away from his death strewn life to find happiness with his wife (Bridget Moynahan).

Wick’s contentment is short-lived as his wife soon becomes very ill and eventually dies. As a parting gift, Wick’s wife buys him a puppy to love and care for after she dies.

The proverbial excrement soon hits the fan when one day, whilst filling his 1969 Mustang with petrol, Wick is confronted by a vile trio of Eastern European hoodlums.

The men take a shine to Wick’s car and despite being told the car is not for sale they follow him home, attack him in the middle of the night, kill the puppy and steal the car.

One of the hoodlums just happens to be the son of a gangster with whom Wick carried out a lot of work for.

Realising the fatal mistake made by his son, Viggo Tarasov (Michael Nyqvist) knows that Wick will now coming looking for revenge.

Willem Dafoe in 'John Wick'.

Willem Dafoe in 'John Wick'.

What follows makes the particular set of skills used by Liam Neeson in ‘Taken’ appear as threatening as a clip around the ear from your ma. John Wick, literally, takes no prisoners and after filling most of the baddies’ bodies with bullets he proceeds to shoot each and every last one of them in the head.

There’s no attempt to make the action sequences in this movie appear believable and it’s quite deliberate. Instead, what we get are scenes that would not feel out of place in Robert Rodriguez’s ‘Sin City’ or any John Woo film.

Keanu plays the part of Wick tremendously well and although I clearly have no admiration for his acting ability, he does an impressive job of portraying Wick as ruthless and intent on revenge.

Credit must also to Alfie Allen (brother of singer, Lily Allen) who plays Viggo Tarasov’s son, Iosef.

As far as I am concerned, Keanu Reeves, is more wooden than all of the trees in St. Columb’s Park put together.

Andrew Quinn - Derry Journal film critic

Allen is brilliant at being utterly brutish and grovelling and as a result will have won himself a few more Transatlantic admirers.

Keanu’s last few outings have been instantly forgettable and the less said about the utterly odious ‘47 Ronin’ the better. Be that as it may, ‘John Wick’ burns steadily away like a beautiful little B-movie.

If you like seeing bullies and brutes getting their comeuppance then ‘John Wick’ will not satisfy, it will entertain you.

It’s far from perfect and the essence of the story has been used many times before but the good more than outweighs the bad.

VERDICT: 4/5 - Whilst some, myself included, suspect Keanu Reeves to be descended from an ancient sub-species of the sycamore tree, he does manage to turn ‘John Wick’ into quite an entertaining and enjoyable action film. It abounds in some of the most incredulous make believe violence you will see this year. Central to the film’s story is the theme of revenge. Revenge movies have been done so many times before but Chad Stahelski’s movie is certainly a welcome addition.