Thursday, November 6, 2014

John Wick (2014)

Yes it’s contrived…

Yes it operates in its own little world…

Yes the setup is kind of ridiculous…

…but at the same time John Wick is a nasty little confection that is a great deal of fun that ends up being a kind of film noir hit man film that borders on a satire.

The plot of the film has Keanu Reeves mourning his wife. Some illness has taken her from him and he is grieving the loss of the best thing in his life. When a day after the funeral a puppy arrives, a final gift from his wife, he is deeply moved. A couple of days later while out driving around some Russian bad guys take an interest in his car. When he refuses to sell it they break into his house and steal it, beating Reeves and killing his dog. When the baddies take the car to be given a new VIN and cleaned up the guy they bring it to recognizes the car and sends the guys a way after punching one in the face. When the car boss is asked why he hit the son of the big boss he explains whose car was stolen, which then sets a one man army against a literal army as the big boss tries to keep his son safe from “the Boogeyman”.

An action packed film where you can actually follow the flow of the fights, the film is a bone crushing film where you actually fear for our hero. Say what you will the gambit of telling the film in flashback, with Wick broken and bleeding at the start lets us know no one and nothing is safe to start. It’s a brilliant move and adds to the tension.

The dialog is pithy with several exchanges bringing genuine belly laughs of the right sort from the audience. The laughter comes both as a result of the characters being wickedly funny in their exchanges and from the fact that the world the film operates is just next door to our own where a police officer can ask an ex-hit man if he’s working again when he sees a body or where there is a safe house in Manhattan where the hit man just hang out and pay for everything with gold coins (pray no one makes a dinner reservation for you).

I liked this film a great deal. In its way this is a film that could be considered high art. It moves like the wind and it carries you along,

I wasn’t planning on seeing the film until home video, but I had some time and I could go to the movies just for the hell of it (most films I see now relate back to Unseen). I had a blast sitting in the seventh row with a big bucket of popcorn and a root beer.

It’s a film that restored my faith in American action films.

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