John Wick (2014) Review

Directors: Chad Stahelski and David Leitch

Genre(s): Action, Crime, Thriller

Runtime: 101 minutes

MPAA Rating: R

IMDb Page

In 2014, the first entry in the highly successful franchise John Wick was sent to theaters. Action movie fans were particularly thrilled with the choreography of the scenes of violence and the fact that the main character is shown reloading his firearms (the last one seems like an awfully low bar to clear, doesn’t it?). In this film, a group of goons pull a home invasion on ex-hitman John Wick (Keanu Reeves), forcing him out of retirement, because they simply have no idea with who they’re messing with.

This picture sometimes feels like one of those Steven Seagal flicks where characters are constantly talking about how badass and unstoppable the Seagal character is. Indeed, Reeves is damn near invincible here. Sure, he gets hurt here and there, but the action bits often feel too easy for him. The carefully choreographed action sequences (which are orgies of headshots) have little sense of danger as Reeves barrels through them like a bull in a china shop.

John Wick does have some interesting worldbuilding, as the feature dives into an underworld society of hitpeople and the rules that dictate their behavior. The entire movie is clearly governed by the “Rule of Cool,” where whatever looks awesome goes. Unfortunately, the film feels poorly structured, not really knowing when to call it quits. The best and most memorable action scenes are in the first two acts, after all.

The first flick in the John Wick series is a pretty good piece of red meat for action aficionados. Yes, Reeves’ character barely breaks a sweat (by action hero standards) in the fights, but the crime that justifies his rampage gives the movie just enough fuel to keep going. It is a shame, though, that the third act struggles to top the mayhem that came prior to it in the runtime.

My rating is 7 outta 10.

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