‘John Wick isn’t the Bogeyman. He’s the man you hire to go kill the fucking bogeyman.’
If I were ever to be asked, ‘Charlotte, what is your favourite Keanu Reeves film?’
I would obviously have replied, ‘Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, of course!’
That was until today. Having just seen ‘John Wick’ I have a new answer to that, admittedly rather unlikely, question. Well, until the already confirmed ‘John Wick 2’ (release date TBC) at least…
This film should be awful. It has everything that features in an ‘I’m-too-old-for-this-shit!’ action movie. It has the mysterious middle aged male figure who is battling issues of retirement whilst dealing with great personal loss; a redeeming character trait that makes following his journey worthwhile; ‘Russians’ who appear to have shared a dialect coach with Alexander the meerkat; a seemingly endless supply of bullets and various explosives; momentary periods of what only be described as a type of car porn; and, of course ,a mentor figure of questionable loyalties. Most importantly, the narrative is that of the age old ‘heroes journey’ – albeit one with an altogther more dubious set of moral values. Yet despite all this, or perhaps because of this, it works. All of these pieces come together thanks to fantastic combination of acting, cinematography and editing. This film is truly a joy to watch and savour.
Two areas in which it excels have to be choreography and screenplay. As sadistic as it may sound, there is a strange glee to be taken from how ‘real’ the violence in this film is. Instead a dependance on shot-reverse-shots, or overly glamorous extended fight sequences, John Wick’s (for His full name has to be uttered when referring to Him) fighting style is raw and brutal. You really do not want to get in this man’s way, or kill his ‘fucking dog’.. Furthermore, on occasion, this film is brilliantly and suprisingly hilarious. The characterisation of all the supporting cast is so on point that they are given the opportunity for humour – and these serve as brief respites from the intense brutality as opposed to jarring awkward moments.
The stellar supporting cast has to be given a lot of credit. This film is filled with cameos and too many familiar faces to count. All serve as buffers to John Wick, polishing him to the star of a self-titled cult classic. Keaanu Reeves one acting style serves him well here, making the flickers of utter sadness all the more previliant and emotionally haunting. This is a man whose few solaces of happiness have been taken away, and has nothing else to live for the a strange contentment in finding those who hurt him. Reeves has not been so gripping to watch for a long time.