Bullet Points: John Wick
I’ve made several mistakes in my life and waiting this long to watch John Wick is one that I will gladly attest to. It’s also one that I can make up for cause I plan on returning to this film often. It contains some of my favorite elements of the very best action movies in existence and I would put it in my top 5 action films of the past 15 years for sure. To say that I loved this film would be a huge understatement. Why did I love it so? It’s simple…the tag line says it all. “Don’t set him off.”
The Gist: John Wick (Keanu Reeves) was the most deadly assassin in the business but he gave it all up to be with the woman he loved but after a sudden case of death, Wick’s grieving stage is interrupted by a couple of Russians who really liked his car and really hated his new puppy. Wick was just gifted that puppy and it sends him into a pissed off fervor that rivals God’s mood when he send the flood to cleanse the Earth. John doesn’t use a flood, however. He has guns….lots of guns.
The Cast: Keanu doesn’t get the amount of credit that he deserves; Point Break, Speed, Man of Tai Chi, The Matrix, Sweet November, Reeves has consistently been making killer action films for a couple of decades now and most people continue to treat him as a joke. Well the joke is on you bitches cause this movie is kickass! Reeves’ performance is pure revenge-fueled, grief-stricken violence which given his circumstances and his talent for killing, is exactly what you should have expected. I’ve been pushing a Johnny Utah-centric sequel to one of the all-time classic 90’s action films Point Break for years and I think that John Wick is about as close as I’ll ever get to that. If that is the case, then I am alright with it because this puppy had my adrenaline pumping throughout. Throw in performances by Willem Dafoe, Ian McShane, and BPA favorite John Leguizamo and you have one damn fine movie.
John Wick has more head shots than a Jesse Jane film.
The Villain: Swedish born Michael Nyqvist plays Viggo Tarasov, father of Iosef Tarasov (Alfie Allen), killer of puppies and pisser of pants. It’s Iosef who pokes the sleeping grizzly bear in John Wick and cause him to go all Charles Bronson on the entire Russia mob. You may recognize Allen as Theon Greyjoy from Game of Thrones and like his GoT character Allen was too busy wading in a puddle of his own piss to fight back against John Wick. His character is so easily hate-able that it made the ensuing deconstruction of the mob that much sweeter. His papa Viggo, realizing that they awoke a monster in Wick, initially tries to plead with Wick but soon finds himself hiring every hired gun he can find. That’s a recipe for great action and we got several killer fight scenes with Adrianne Palicki and Daniel Bernhardt among others. If you check out my list of my all-time favorite villainous groups, you’ll find Russians, mobsters, and of course, Russian mobsters on my list so you know I was foaming at the mouth with all this awesome!
A fun drinking game is to drink every time that someone gets shot in the face!
The Action: Allow me to adjust this action boner in my pants….ok, now that’s over with let’s talk about the action in the film. I called it a film because it’s more than just a movie; it’s a brain-splattering piece of artwork. Chad Stahelski and David Leitch have created a film which will go down in the annals of time as one of the most intense revenge films ever created. I hope to someday show this picture to any of my daughters inquiring boyfriends and simply whisper, “don’t make me go John Wick on you.” The new thing for aging stars is to do the whole Taken gimmick and have an old guy go about dismantling a bunch of wannabe badasses. I enjoy it as much as the next guy but John Wick is one of the most believable in my eyes and one that I will gladly pay to see again. I can’t stress enough how much I love watching Keanu Reeves handle a weapon in this movie. The man has done his research. All of the times that I’ve complained about Mark Wahlberg being a shitbag with a rifle; how he held the thing, how he reloaded it, how he would always empty a magazine before he would change it instead of changing it when he had an opportunity. All of that is different with John Wick. Whoever worked on this film needs to be working on the biggest of budgets because they were fantastic!
Bernhardt and Reeves go toe to toe in one of my favorite scenes of the film.
Take it Home:
- Leather Jacket time: Of course the scene following Wick’s ambush sees him wearing a leather jacket. The bad guys should have known right away not to mess with him.
- Favorite quotes: “He wasn’t exactly the boogeyman; he was the one you sent to kill the fucking boogeyman.”
- Favorite quotes: Willem Dafoe: “I go out on my own.”
- World building: I really dig this hitman underworld they have going. Ian McShane is running things and keeping the peace by the hitman code they live by. The waste disposal guy cleans up all the bodies while everyone pays for shit using gold coins.
- Bernhardt for the win: I’m happy that these movies are finally starting to realize that if you need a solid action scene all you have to do is cast Daniel Bernhardt and let him go at it with your star. Statham in Parker, Fishburne in The Matrix Reloaded, and now Keanu in John Wick.
- Backstory: John’s tattoo says “Fortis Fortuna Adiuvat”, fortune favors the bold. It was the motto used by the 3rd Battalion 3rd Marines based in Hawaii. That is where Keanu is from.
- Body Count: The total body count is 119 people. Daaaaaamn!