Runtime: 101 Mins
What To Expect: The return of Keanu Reeves in a movie with balls of absolute steel
I must admit that when this movie was announced last year, with Keanu Reeves attached to lead, it didn’t really register as anything special. It wasn’t until the synopsis was revealed this summer, man bent on revenge with automatic weapons, that it did ping on my radar. I’ve always been a fan of Keanu Reeves ever since seeing him in Point Break, late on TV over 20 years ago. He’s a good action man, so he’s a great fit here in this complete sleeper. Sit down, Denzel Washington, this is the movie The Equalizer should’ve been and the manliest movie of 2014.
The plot is tried and tested manly movie subject matter. A man sets out to seek revenge against gangsters who slayed his dog and stole his wheels. That’s just two things you don’t do, man. You don’t touch a man’s dog and you don’t touch a man’s wheels. Anyone who does deserves all they get. Reeves then digs a set of guns out of his basement and goes on the most satisfying shooting rampage I’ve seen in a long time. Pissants get struck down upon with great vengeance and furious anger, simply because they refuse to give up the scumbag who beat Reeves’ pup to death with a baseball bat. I’m not talking about violent beatings either, rather, wanton executions. The body count probably actually exceeds that of the invasion of Grenada (no, really, that was about 40-50).
Of course, all of this would be near pointless if the action was captured using shaking cameras and completely unintuitive editing. Well rejoice, because John Wick is a devastating kidney shot to the scourge of shaking-cam hyper-edit syndrome. This movie has become highly popular because of its action, which is brilliantly filmed. The camera and cut will remain on Reeves until he has completed whichever move, kill or act of violence it is. Utterly satisfying yet natural choreography can be savored in the moment, instead of figuring it out in seconds later in your bewildered head, like some Bourne movie. The gunfights and executions are some of the best I’ve ever seen. And I just wouldn’t say that willy nilly – I hate poorly choreographed and edited gunfights.
It’s the little things that makes this movie great as well, such as the gun sounds themselves. Very realistic, like they were in Heat, only with even better contrasting for indoor and outdoor shots. Guns don’t sound the same in all environments. Or for example John Wick being a man who keeps gold coins instead of cash – who the hell is stupid enough to keep paper currency in this economic climate? The dollar could collapse at any minute, or they might simply refuse withdrawals above a certain amount, like in certain Euro countries recently. The value of gold however is eternal. One other thing, I mentioned The Equalizer above. Reeves is not a stone-faced superman invulnerable to anything and everything like Washington in the Equalizer, because like that masterpiece, Die Hard, you gotta let him get fucked up here and there to keep the momentum organic. And you know something else? The film is smart enough to know its limitations, it ends around 97 minutes or so. Trying to squeeze in another 10+ minutes of fat/filler would’ve been a bad move.
“I’ll say this, John, you sure as fuck broke the mould, didn’t you?” Good line, kinda sums up how I feel about this movie – I love it.
November 4, 2014 at 2:15 pm
I bet Marvel picks up Reeves now after this and we don’t see much more like this for a while.
The Night Rider
November 4, 2014 at 3:48 pm
I think we’ll see both. A sequel to this, and some Marvel movie or other. But this was a great movie and I’m very glad it performed reasonably well and was received even better. People will take notice of that.
November 5, 2014 at 2:01 am
Maybe a Fast & Furious movie or some spinoff would be a better calling for him over a Marvel film.
The Night Rider
November 5, 2014 at 4:25 pm
I’d much prefer Fast & Furious. Probably said this too much now, but I’m totally burned out on Marvel and have been for years. It takes a lot of willpower to check out a new Marvel movie for me even when friends swear by the quality.
November 6, 2014 at 1:05 am
I myself have personally enjoyed those films, but I do get what you mean. I’d argue the dismantling of S.H.I.E.L.D. in Cap 2 was a relatively ballsy move considering how it’s been established in previous Marvel films. Plus that fight in the beginning with Georges St-Pierre, while victim of some quick cutting, had some pretty inspired camera angles, partly making it look like a live-action fighting game at times, which is how I’d like to see more on screen fights. The original Oldboy had that epic single cut hallway fight from the side. Other than that, Cap 2 had the typical overdone climax, plus some other pedestrian elements like the car chase with Nick Fury near the beginning, where I remember there being one henchman firing an automatic rifle in his direction and none of the bullets hit him. John Wick at least mostly saved us from aimless gunfights by having him take the first shot to the head most of the time. But the Marvel films don’t feel like as much of an assault on my senses as modern Michael Bay movies to me. Hell, I somehow managed to put up with the first three Transformers, arguably due to being in college when they came out. Transformers 4 I couldn’t take. Don’t know why I bothered with that one.
November 4, 2014 at 9:34 pm
1) Marvel i think went for Benedict whatshis name for DR. STRANGE. Dont know whats the big deal about him..he looks like Inspector Gadget. I would have preferred Reeves
2) Reeves does not age people. He looked awesome in this, & who could tell it was him in lots of stunts. Always liked him.
3) The movie was great. I thought we were gonna get more time with the dog to show how he had gotten attached to him but no, went straight to the nitty gritty. It was fine.
4) That scene that shows Reeve’s anger as to why he’s so mad, when they say that its just a dog was great. Made u really root for Reeve’s character if u werent already.
5) The idea of a hotel for Hitmen was cool. If we dont get a direct sequel to John Wick..i wouldnt mind seen a movie about the hotel , management & it’s guests.
November 5, 2014 at 1:41 am
You agreed with me on the Manliest Movie of 2014. 😀
The gold coins were specific to the highly fictional underworld setting, just FYI. I’m sure he has regular cash haha. You forgot to mention the world building element: the coins, the cleaning service, the exclusive hotel. 😉
Another curious tidbit: Eva Longoria was a producer on this.
The Night Rider
November 5, 2014 at 4:27 pm
It’s more and more advisable to turn large capital into commodity, especially if you’re burying it with the intention of not returning to it for years. I was reading recently about one of those Harry Potter kids turning his entire fortune into a property portfolio. Who knows when the ass could fall out of the dollar, which in turn would take a few other currencies with it.
November 5, 2014 at 8:54 pm
I get that. I’m simply saying that I don’t think they were trying to make an economic statement with the use of fictionalized coins over actual dollars. lol
It was more about the exclusivity of the world he was a part of. I suppose it is economically feasible to maintain the currency they use in the event of a collapse. But still. Let’s not over think a simple action revenge movie. haha
November 8, 2014 at 11:50 am
Comes out on November 14th here were I live. Truly cannot wait to see it.
Doubt it will beat FURY for me, but I’d be pleasantly surprised if it did.
November 8, 2014 at 2:52 pm
The guys here originally said Fury would be their manliest movie of the year. Then when all the positive buzz came out about this, I was saying this would be, at least for me. And they agreed with me. So maybe you will, too. 😉
December 19, 2014 at 12:26 pm
Have you seen it yet?