I’m not much of a fan of Keanu Reeves as an actor. Everything I know about him as a person tells me he’s a really good guy who’s lived a tragic life but has managed to make the most of it, but as an actor, he often leaves me cold.
That would be why I waited this long to see John Wick. But, on the advice of some of the other Geeks around here, I rectified that omission before the movie left HBO. SPOILER-FREE review after the cut.
John Wick opens with the title character. His wife dies under mysterious (natural) circumstances, leaving him alone and mourning. It turns out that his wife’s last act was to order a puppy for John to keep him company, and he quickly bonds with the dog.
Then, the son of the local Russian mob boss takes a liking to Wick’s car and decides, when Wick won’t sell it, to steel it. During the robbery, he and his friends kill the dog.
That was their big mistake.
Wick, it turns out, was a retired hit man. The best. He even worked for the Russian mob.
That much is all the basic premise, so I haven’t really given anything away. Wick was the best for a reason, and the movie manages to create a rather interesting criminal underworld, with various institutions in place, and as everyone involved in the story knows of these things, nobody wastes time explaining anything to the audience. The movie is cast wall-to-wall with colorful characters, some even played by recognizable actors like Willem Dafoe, John Leguizamo, and Ian McShane.
The movie has style to burn. Director Chad Stahelski makes every kill as quick and cool as humanly possible. This is a movie where Wick reloading a pistol mid-fight manages to look cool.
Now, I said at the start I’m no fan of Keanu’s acting, so how did he do here? Not bad, actually. Reeves works best, I find, when he doesn’t get tasked to say much, and Wick doesn’t talk much. He just gets right to business. That helps.
I’m going to give this one eight out of ten dead-but-don’t-know-it-yet Theon Greyjoys. I will probably hit the sequel, currently in production, a lot quicker than I did this one.