If you don't feel like reading my entire review of John Wick then I'll save you the time by summarising it down into two words: Hell. Yeah. John Wick follows the story of John Wick (Keanu Reeves), of course. He's an ex-hitman who retired to spend more time with his loving wife, who has since passed away. Her final gift to the distraught John is a dog, who is now his final connection to her. One night, John Wick is broken into by a group of thugs. They beat him up, steal his car and, worst of all, kill his dog. John goes out to seek revenge against them, pulling himself out of retirement as he does so.
John Wick is one of the best action films of 2014. Forget about The Equaliser, forget about Edge of Tomorrow and forget about Guardians of the Galaxy, just don't forget about Captain America: The Winter Soldier, The Raid 2, X-Men Days of Future Past and John Wick. Keanu Reeves, who appears to have stopped ageing over twenty years ago, gives his best performance in a long time as the unstoppable hitman with eyes for vengeance. The film opens with a scene from the ending, followed by a cut back in time to Wick's lowest point. That's when the story begins. We're instantly shown him as a sympathetic and vulnerable character with nothing else left to loose. Then, suddenly, he's given something back in his worthless life, only to have that taken away too. We can't help but feel empathy towards his character, which really helps when we see him slaughter dozens of bad guys later on in the film.
The action is constant, exciting and relentless. Unlike other films that tackle similar situations, John Wick doesn't hold back. It doesn't try to restrain the violence in order to lower the classification. John Wick goes full out, not caring about the amount of headshots John Wick manages to make, although that's why this film is so fun. John Wick is an unstoppable machine, but we don't want him to stop. We root for him as he storms into churches or nightclubs and just releases hell on all enemies present at the time. John Wick is freaking badass, man.
There's always a constant sense of threat around John Wick, not just form his character. Yes, he's certainly threatening himself, but the film's got a strong enemy too. Michael Nyqvist, famous for starring in the Millennium Trilogy, plays Viggo Tarasov, the father of the man who John Wick is after. While he fails to match his performance in that, here he gets close. He's a great villain, and not just because he's the ideal guy to play a Russian hitman. His character has some depth and humanity, all while being a child beating, manipulative and intelligent bad guy who knows who to fear and who not to fear, John Wick being in the first category.
The film's plot is familiar, but I can let that slide when we're given hundreds upon hundreds of insanely awesome Keanu kills. While the editing needs some work, a clichéd joke where they cut between a fight and the lobby the biggest standout, and the storyline is generic, John Wick delivers what it wanted to incredibly well. The film is formulaic going so far as to have the final confrontation consisting of the two characters putting away their guns as well as the "look at me, I'm a badass" moment of walking away from an explosion, well a mild one in this case.
Aside from that one scene with the poor editing, the rest of the film's humour really works, sometimes just because of the awesomeness occurring on screen. I use awesome and badass a lot when reviewing these types of movies, but what else do you expect me to use? John Wick has a sense of humour, and a decent one at that. The film's brisk runtime flashes before your eyes thanks to the non-stop action and plentiful humour.
To sum up, John Wick is just another formulaic revenge story with some poor editing and plenty of clichés, but with Keanu Reeves in the lead as a badass, exciting and unforgiving character who can seriously kick some ass (or shoot some headshots), John Wick delivers.