Driven by heavy blues and greys, this revenge thriller is near perfect in combining action, character motivation and just something quite refreshing. The central character is so much better than the typical Neeson vengeance role and the script has some funny aspects too that help give the film a different edge.
After losing his wife, John Wick (Keanu Reeves) gets the gift of a dog but this connection to his wife is swiftly lost as Iosef (Alfie Allen) and his lot make their nasty selves known. This sets off the pushed aside background of Wick and it’s not long until he’s out for vengeance, striding past bounties on his head to kill Iosef and his father Viggo (Michael Nyqvist).
Apart from taking the crown of cutest dog in cinema this year from JB the pug in ‘Kingsman’, the beagle present John receives is a lovely and emotional tool of the plot that serves as something different to spark the narrative into gear and it does so wonderfully. It’s actually a powerful little reminder of John’s past and a message of hope around the daisy flower but when that’s lost, the brutal way he’s beaten up in his own home and animal cruelty come together to easily put you on John’s side.
The action sequences aren’t overblown or needless, they’re artistic and inspired by great martial arts features. Chad Stahelski & David Leitch not only direct the bits of story in between with a neat touch, the fights are presented in a cool and stylish way. The term gun fu is a thing I found out and it’s applied here in a thrilling manner. Seeing Wick dispense of cronies with his gunning moves is exciting to watch, the art of reloading is also evident, actually seeing that someone can run out of ammo and do something else too.
This movie has a style about it, the entire look of the film is blue and grey, giving that hard gritty quality. That palette disappears for a while in a frankly outstanding nightclub sequence that utilises neon colours to pulsate through the three floor fight scene. Accompanied by bass and club dub step, this section of the movie is out and out fantastic. There’s a great number of moments throughout this battle of red shirted bad guys vs. Wick that makes you see how fine Reeves is and how well choreographed this movie is.
Keanu Reeves is a mostly silent figure, doing what he has to do with the movement required for lethal assassin Wick. He proves he’s back in the game as this character and can also provide emotional heart when looking over the past, his wife and the puppy catalyst. Alfie Allen drifts between sounding British, Irish and Russian which is odd but he plays the horrendous villain well. Willem Dafoe is a cool fine supporting actor who comes along as initial ally of John but then it becomes unclear to what he’ll do which is great. Adrianne Palicki comes into action from TV comic book kick ass fighter to big screen kick ass fighter serving as opposition for Wick in a paralleled fighting style to his own.
I do hope the talk of this becoming a trilogy is true, which speaks volumes because normally I hate the idea of sequels and such but this film deserves more because John Wick is a brilliant character, Reeves plays him with bloody and determined resolve and the film from start to finish is sharp, cool, energetic and surprising.