Directors: Chad Stahelski, David Leitch
Cast: Keanu Reeves, Michael Nyqvist, Willem Dafoe, Alfie Allen, Adrianne Palecki, John Leguizamo, Ian McShane, Lance Reddick
Running Time: 101 minutes
Synopsis: John Wick (Reeves) is a retired hit man who finds himself drawn back into the dangerous world of organised crime after the local mob boss’ son Iosef (Allen) breaks into his home and murders his dog, a gift left to him from his recently deceased wife.
In recent weeks we at THN have been taking a walk down the memory lane of Keanu Reeves’ career in our series Keanu Classics. The series has looked at past victories BILL & TED, MY OWN PRIVATE IDAHO, POINT BREAK, SPEED and THE MATRIX. Since THE MATRIX though it’s all been a little quiet on the Keanu front. He popped up in Christmas 2013 release 47 RONIN briefly and then vanished again. All that is about to change this week however as JOHN WICK lands in the UK.
JOHN WICK in many ways parallels the 50 year old’s career. Once at the top of his game, he disappeared for a number of years, only to return in this adrenaline fuelled, action packed revenge thriller. His character, the titular Wick, has a similar story, once the head assassin for the New York based Russian mob, he traded it all in when he met and fell in love with his wife. Cruelly his happiness is short lived and a few years later he finds himself caught back up in the seedy weld he tried so hard to leave behind. The film is littered with references to whether or not John’s back, echoing the thoughts of the audience watching Reeves, and the answer is a loud resounding yes, Keanu Reeves is back!
JOHN WICK does for Keanu Reeves what TAKEN did for Liam Neeson. Similarities between the two films are obvious. Although whereas all the TAKEN films were very po-faced, taking themselves fair too seriously, JOHN WICK injects humour into the proceedings and knows how to have fun with an audience. Reeves is not above poking fun at himself or the situations his character gets into, making the film a much more enjoyable affair. The true comedic genius of JOHN WICK though, is Lance Reddick’s manager of The Continental, a luxurious hotel and neutral ground for assassins. His dead pan delivery gives way to some surprising laughs.
Perfectly cast by his former MATRIX stunt double, Chad Stahelski, Reeves shows that he is still a force to be reckoned with, who has lost none of his charm or athletic ability. Undertaking around 90% of his own stunts JOHN WICK highlights that The One hasn’t lost his flair for fighting. And John Wick knows a lot more than Kung Fu this time around, the film is crammed full of winch-inducing fight sequences that will leave you breathless. The movements are so fluid that you’ll whole-heartedly believe that Reeves can take down an entire nightclub of henchmen; Keanu has never been cooler.
It’s not just Reeves who shines in this epic movie, as he is supported by a stellar cast which includes John Leguizamo, Willem Dafoe, Alfie Allen, Adrienne Palecki, Michael Nyqvist and Ian McShane. Palecki is finally given more to do than be a damsel in distress (LEGION) or look pretty for the teenage boys (GI JOE: RETALIATION), with her taking on a brutal no holds barred hand-to-hand combat battle with Wick.
The neon visuals dazzle, and the techno soundtrack pulses. Each fight scene is accompanied by a pounding dance heavy score, with the occasional rock song thrown into the mix – THE MATRIX soundtrack anyone? Perfectly complimenting both the action pieces and the thumping soundtrack is a glorious visual style. Think graphic novel come to life and you’re along the right path. Fans of Alex Proyas’ THE CROW will enjoy all the different colour filters that cast a vivid red, blue, green or purple hue over everything.
Action movie perfection, JOHN WICK is an adrenaline pumped action masterstroke. Welcome back Keanu, we’ve missed you. Roll on JOHN WICK 2!
Reconnect with Keanu when JOHN WICK arrives in UK cinemas from Friday 10th April.