This is a story we are all familiar with. In fact, I had a screenplay idea similar to this a long time ago. Keanu Reeves plays John Wick, an assassin who left the business to be with a woman. She is eventually diagnosed with a terminal illness and after she passes away, a gift is delivered to John’s home. It’s a puppy with a note from his wife. A final gift to help him through the grieving process. But when the son of a gangster breaks in to John’s house, steals his car and murders the dog, John decides it might be time to come out of retirement.
The gangster’s son has no idea who he’s messed with but everyone else in town does. And they know John Wick is coming after him.
This is probably one of the most entertaining action/revenge films I’ve seen in quite a while. Directed by Reeve’s old stuntman, Chad Stahelski, the film is one great action set piece after another.
The gangster’s name is Viggo and is played by Michael Nyqvist from the Swedish Girl With a Dragon Tattoo series and was also the villain in Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol. When he finds out his son stole John’s car and murdered his dog, he tries to talk John out of doing anything rash. When that doesn’t work, he puts a $2 million contract out on his head. So now, John is being hunted down while he tries to find and kill Viggo’s son.
Reeve’s plays Wick with a quiet intensity. He’s channeling Clint Eastwood and Jason Bourne and seems to have no problems fighting off bad guy after bad guy. At 50 years old Reeve’s looks just as comfortable in this action role as he did back in 1999 in The Matrix.
Featuring Willem Dafoe as one of John’s old colleagues and friends and John Leguizamo in a small cameo as a body-shop owner who works for Viggo as well. Adrianne Palicki also plays an assassin who knows John from his past and is intent on cashing in on that $2 million.
The film’s story is simple and there’s a cheesy line here and there but overall John Wick (rated R) is one heck of a ride.
I give it an A-