February 14, 2017
Review #905: John Wick.
Keanu Reeves (John Wick), Michael Nyqvist (Viggo Tarasov), Alfie Allen (Iosef Tarasov), Willem Dafoe (Marcus), Dean Winters (Avi), Adrianne Palicki (Ms. Perkins), Omer Barnea (Gregori), Toby Leonard Moore (Victor), Daniel Bernhardt (Kirill), Bridget Moynahan (Helen), John Leguizamo (Aurelio), Ian McShane (Winston), Bridget Regan (Addy), and Lance Reddick (Hotel Manager / Charon) Directed by Chad Stahelski and David Leitch.
On Valentine's Day, what better way to celebrate the day of passion with...a pretty good action thriller film. From the execution to the quick action to a wonderful cast, John Wick is an excellent movie in part because it doesn't take the easy way out nor cheat its audience while having a fairly engaging story. This isn't the kind of action film that seems reliant on CGI, with fine cinematography by Jonathan Sela. Reeves does a great job in part because of how realistic he is. Though the character is talented when it comes to being a hit man, Reeves manages to make the character stand out and not just be an unstoppable killing machine, where you can see the emotion and tension with the character, even among all the action, which is plentiful without being too gratuitous. There is a good story within the film as well, revolving around a legend that isn't built up to ridiculously over-the-top levels. Nyqvist is also good in the movie (as the de facto villain), having the right sense of gravitas and charm that elevate a role beyond what could've been a cliche big bad. Allen plays the rich kid punk with the right sense of arrogance as well. Dafoe does a fine job playing a hardened role as this, with a good deal of mentoring. Winters has the right kind of smarminess (and humor) to sell the role, and Palicki is stone cold cool. The rest of the cast is quirky in the way they stand out in a strange world of assassins, excluding Monyahan, who does fine in the time she has on screen. The movie flows at a great pace, never losing steam while also never letting go of the fun and logic. There are a good deal of highlights, with the church scene and the nightclub scenes being particularly good standouts, each using the right tone of color and dialogue to move through nicely with everything. This is a neat movie that kicks enough keister and tells a good story at the same time, shining on a good deal of effort.
Overall, I give it 9 out of 10 stars.