If you’ve ever listened to our podcast you know we don’t often go to movie theaters. We’re all about streaming on the cheap. But two weeks ago I had the opportunity to see a pre-screening of John Wick the new Keanu Reeves movie. Now don’t hate me but I did go see this and left my 9 month pregnant wife at home with our 3 year old son. Did I mention this was a restricted screening that didn’t allow electronics? Yeah I was hoping she didn’t call saying she was in labor while I was hiding my cell phone in my shoe.
First let me admit out loud I do like Keanu Reeves. Yes most of his movie dialogue is very dry like reading straight from a piece of paper. But I love the movies that he is cast in – Constantine, Johnny Mnemonic, Matrix, The Replacements, Street Kings.
First if you haven’t already please watch the trailer.
Yes he is taking revenge on the Russian mafia for killing his dog.
Obviously I did not go into this with many expectations. That might have helped because I really enjoyed this movie.
First the bad.
It ends too campy and makes an attempt at showing John Wick does have a heart. Not such a fan of that. I didn’t really need the walking off into the sunset scene.
There is ok build on the relationship John Wick has with his wife and the dog that was his gift from her. But I needed just a little more time with the dog to get the relationship there and really feel his anger at the dog’s death.
There is a lot of killing. Which isn’t bad for an action movie. But it’s all head shots. While the fights are very well choreographed (think an attempt at John Woo style) every person killed got an extra shot to their head just to make sure they were dead. So if that’s not up you’re alley go watch a Pixar movie.
I didn’t get enough of the side characters.
Now onto why I loved this movie.
The world it created. I love it when a movie creates a new version of the world for me. This movie did just that with the hit man genre. Anyone could be a hit man and you wouldn’t know it. And they all knew of each other if nothing else by reputation.
Ever wonder what happens to all the dead bodies in other action movies? This one doesn’t leave that detail out in a great way with their clean up crew available to all hit men.
This movie takes it a step further in the detail of the world by creating a hotel called the Continental specifically for hit men. Where you can check in and be safe. Even though the person in the lobby may have a contract out for you. There are rules in this hotel. And an in house 24/7 surgeon if you need a bullet removed without question. Ian McShane plays the owner of the hotel and I loved the scene where he took care of someone who broke his rules.
There are great comedy bits in this. The writers may have not meant for it to be as funny as it came across. But I liked it. In one scene John Leguizamo as a stolen car dealer is explaining to the Russian mob boss why he punched the mob boss’s son, “He stole John Wick’s car!” The mob boss’s responds, “Oh.” To which he hangs up. And the theater laughed.
The side characters. I would definitely watch a prequel to this movie to learn more about all the characters. The cop who obviously knows what John Wick’s real job is but still has to check in on him when there is a noise complaint. Willem Dafoe as an old friend of John’s who gets hired to kill him. Lance Reddick does great as the concierge of the hotel. Adrianne Palicki as a hot hit woman who breaks a few rules to kill John Wick. And John Leguizamo as a stolen car dealer. All characters I wanted more of.
The head shots. I loved the action. Yes it was violent but I loved the dance like choreography when John Wick was taking out everyone in his house.
So go into this one with a little bit of low expectations. Expect to cry when the dog dies. And yes you see it bloody dead (PETA probably wasn’t happy about that). Great fight scenes even if they are repetitive with the head shots. And if nothing else just support another old retired guy (Keanu is in his 50’s now) having fun as an action movie star. I wasn’t disappointed in the least.
Now excuse me I hear a baby crying in the other room. Don’t worry he wasn’t born while I was at the movies.