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Film ● Mini-Review: John Wick

Title: John Wick

Director(s): Chad Stahelski & David Leitch

Screenwriter(s): Derek Kolstad

Released: 2014

Runtime: 1h 41m

John Wick

● John Wick (Keanu Reeves) is a retired assassin, basically the guy who is intensely skilled and intensely feared. His wife had just died and she had organized a puppy for him as a parting gift. One day, some Russian gangsters try to convince Wick to sell his Mustang which he refuses, so they break into his home, beat him up, kill his puppy and take the car. What follows is a rampage which Reeves plays in his usual cool, wooden manner, thus avoiding the overtly angry hero cliché.

● Although not originally a comic book, there is obviously that influence. There is the cheesy comic-like mythology of the criminal and assassin underworld that hides in plain sight. For example: assassins earn and use gold coins for goods and services, the Continental Hotel is for assassins to stay where “business” is forbidden and there is a higher authority that enforces the code, amongst other things. It’s cheesy and such stylization glorifies or at least glamorizes the underworld, but it mostly works in this type of film.

● At least partly due to budget constraints, a single-camera setup is used, leading to longer takes that follow the action/gunfights. And although Wick’s consistent accuracy is fantastical, there is, unlike many films, realistic-looking weapons handling. For example, he actually reloads when you expect him to. One doesn’t need to be an expert to see and appreciate it. It is no surprise this has led to three sequels.

● One can tell VFX is used in some action scenes but it still mostly looks good.

John Wick (Keanu Reeves) arrives at the Continental Hotel.
John Wick (Keanu Reeves) arrives at the Continental Hotel.

This mini-review is part of the collection for Taken clones and derivatives.


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