Regular Dude Movie Review: John Wick

Above: Keanu Reeves is back in 'John Wick'

John Wick is the tale of a retired hitman brought back to the underworld when the privileged son of a Russian mobster (Game of Thrones’ Alfie Allen) thinks he’s an easy mark with a nice car and a cute dog.

As it turns out, John Wick used to work for his old man, played by Swedish veteran Michael Nyquist, and before he left the business, Wick was the best around – he was the guy they sent to kill “The Boogeyman” as Nyquist explains it in the film.

This is the movie Keanu Reeves has been working all these years to make.

John Wick combines Reeves’ longstanding interest in the martial arts with the type of over-the-top action that made him a star in the first place in films like Speed and The Matrix. In a world where elder statesman like Liam Neeson and Pierce Brosnan are still kicking ass and taking names, Reeves fits right in as a previously violent man who walked away and settled down, only to be drawn back in by a wannabe gangster who gets to act tough because of his last name.

What really works about John Wick is that everyone invoved knows what this film is about. Directed by veteran stuntmen David Leitch and Chad Stahelski, there aren’t a lot of long conversations or an elaborate plot to establish here – within 30 minutes, you know all you need to know about the titular character and we get down to business.

And business is really, really good.

John Wick is a beautifull film – it’s sleek and sexy, portraying an upscale, dressed to the nines side of the hitman, Russian gangster business, as opposed to the lower level, sweats and hoodies, knockaround guy aesthetics Michael Roskam delivered in The Drop. The action sequences are as captivating as you would expect with Leitch and Stahelski at the helm – a mix of gun play, fisticuffs and jiu jitsu – and Reeves is the perfect actor to successfully execute this role.

There is a fluidity and smoothness to the way he moves, like Neo has been training on the martial arts simulation program all this time, honing his skills to the point that he’s a black belt in every conceivable art, plus he’s handy with a firearm or two as well. On top of that, Reeves’ trademark soft-spoken nature is ideal for a grieving former hitman that wasn’t expecting to break out the tools of the trade again.

Nyquist is convincing in his role as the powerful head of the Russian mob in New York and someone who should get greater opportunities on this side of the Atlantic going forward, much like Mads Mikkelson (Hannibal) has started to pick up and anyone that watches HBO regularly will enjoying playing “Where do I know that guy from?” with the various regulars from a couple of the network’s past and present hits that pop up throughout the film as well.

After a summer filled with 60-something former cops/spies sifting through convoluted stories, John Wick is an arrow-straight shoot’em up that hits the bullseye.

Tags: Keanu Reeves

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