Take a Drink: every time someone says “John Wick.”
Do a Shot: every time a “coin” exchanges hands.
Take a Drink: whenever John Wick and someone from his past nonchalantly greet each other by name.
Do a Double: at the point where you lose track of the body count.
Take a Drink: each time someone mentions “business.”
By: Hawk Ripjaw (A Toast) –
John Wick is having a bad week.
First, his wife dies of cancer. Two nights later, his dog gets murdered and his car gets stolen.
Let’s backtrack a bit. After Wick’s wife dies, someone delivers a dog to his house, with a letter from his wife telling him that she is giving him something else to live in her stead. The fact that this lady bought a dog to be delivered to Keanu Reeves the day after she dies is not explored. While at the gas station, John Wick is approached by a young Russian dude (Alfie Allen) who wants to buy his ’69 Mustang, which Wick of course refuses, because no dude in his right mind is going to sell his cool-ass Mustang to some cockstain from Game of Thrones.
Game of Thrones doesn’t like that, so he takes his two henchmen (one of which is the Russian Bruno Mars) to Wick’s house to steal his car. And they kill his dog.
Let me reiterate.
A puppy named Daisy.
Daisy is dead.
Daisy drags her bloody body over to Wick to die in his arms.
And the Mustang is gone.
John Wick DOES NOT PLAY THAT SHIT.
Wick, being a retired mobster, has buried his weapons beneath half a foot of concrete, for no particular reason. He’s kind of like Hawk Ripjaw with the phone numbers of abusive ex-girlfriends: “just in case.” This is one of those cases. Wick brings a sledgehammer down to the basement and digs that shit up.
What follows is a solid hour of John Wick killing the absolute fuck out of everyone and everything that stands in his way.
Here’s the formula for John Wick:
- Fuck logic.
- Fuck dialogue.
- How many instances of people getting shot in the face can we cram into a 100 minute timeframe?
If that’s your thing, then welcome to heaven. John Wick blasts forward with a gleeful disregard for any sort of baggage, subplot, or logic. This movie is concerned first and foremost with being as raw as possible. There’s a good amount of world-building concerning the vague background of this criminal organization, the “code” its members abide by, and those odd gold coins that everyone seems to covet as the highest form of currency. It’s a nice bit of organic-feeling window dressing for a parade of extended kill-a-thons, which themselves feel ripped from a graphic novel.
John Wick redefines the term “murder boner.” Colorful sets are filled with cleanly shot action and extremely good fight choreography as Wick tears through legions of thugs in increasingly brutal and creative ways, blending martial arts and gunplay. Veteran stuntmen turned directors David Leitch and Chad Stahelski (The Matrix, Live Free or Die Hard, Bourne, 300, and about a million others) bring their stunt expertise to the table for one hell of a nice-looking movie: no shaky camera, no quick cuts. This is the filet mignon of action movie choreography. I don’t know what that means but that’s what it’s like. The bodies and badass moments pile up as if they’re in a race to see who can hit the ceiling first.
There’s also a strange feel to the film in the sense that it does not give an ever-living shit about anything. There is precisely one appearance of a cop in the movie, and after a brief first-name basis exchange, the cop basically says “well, cool. See ya around” while likely very aware of a dead body on the ground right in front of him. And as Wick spends the rest of the movie painting the town red, the vendetta is sprinkled with casual greetings with old friends. The peripheral non-villain characters are bizarrely nonchalant about Wick’s killing spree, so long as none of that killing takes place in The Continental, a shadowy hotel exclusively for hitmen that promises to be a great source of future storylines should the film spawn a sequel.
Last but not least, it’s funny. While not a comedy, John Wick boasts a surprisingly sadistic sense of humor. One of the best audience reactions in my half-full auditorium was Wick running out of ammo, punching a guy in the throat, and using the handful of seconds as the thug was gasping and recovering to reload his gun and shoot him in the face. And Michael Nyqvist, continuing his trend as a popular foreign actor (Millennium Trilogy) recast as a Hollywood villain, is completely off-the-wall as the bad guy here.
John Wick looked like a decent, possibly throwaway action movie from the trailers. The final product is so much more. This isn’t just a decent action movie. This is a killer achievement in the action genre. Like Captain America: The Winter Soldier, this movie shows the boys how to do action right.
This movie KICKS FUCKING ASS.
And it’s even more fun the second time around.