John Wick is a mob hit man who, upon falling in love, quits. 5 years later, his wife dies and to make sure he’s not alone she arranges for a dog to be brought to him after her death. Later, some men wanting his car break in and beat him up and kill his dog. When he recovers, he sets to get the ones who killed his dog. He learns that the leader is the son of his former employer. And the man wanting to protect his son, tries to take care of Wick but he’s still as good as he was.
This is very much my kind of movie. Straightforward, lots of good action, our hero never waivers from his path and no social or emotional nonsense. Those who have watched the movie might wonder why I claim that there is not emotional nonsense since the entire plot is driven by John Wick’s very emotional response to his wife’s death and the subsequent killing of the dog that he received as a last present from her. What I mean with “no emotional nonsense” is that John Wick is never second guessing himself, the movie never really tries to portray him as an “ordinary” guy having second thoughts about killing the bad guys and he doesn’t go into some silly “oh should I really pull the trigger” trance and drops the gun in the worst possible moments as is done in a lot of movies. Sure, there are emotions in this movie. Rage and thirst for revenge in particular with the addition of a healthy dose of fear from the bad guys…eventually that is.
The plot of the movie is, as I wrote, quite straightforward and classical. Retired hit man gets wronged by idiot son of big bad guy. Hit man gets pissed off and goes on a quest for revenge. People die (a lot of them). Hit man and big bad guy have a show down at the end. In terms of story that is about it. However, such a story can be told and presented in a good and entertaining way and in a less good and entertaining way. As far as I am concerned the way the story is told in this movie is very, very entertaining.
Keanu Reeves is quite good as the hit man. So are the big bad guy and most of the other actors of any importance. During the course of the movie we get more than a few glimpses into John Wick’s former life and it is a quite cool background that have been elaborated. The secret world that John Wick was once part of and how it works and operates would be worthy a good old-fashioned James Bond movie.
Then of course there is the action. It is an action movie so you do expect quite some expenditure on the action and this movie do not disappoint. There are lots of action and it is good action. Sure, the ease by which John Wick picks off his opponents waiving his gun(s) in all directions without hardly looking is sometimes a bit over the top but it is still done with a fluidness and grace that just makes it … so cool. The gun fights are generally mixed up with some equally good martial arts close combat stuff and it is really well woven together.
One thing that I really like with this movie is that John Wick is the cool, cold, determined, not to be pissed off, killing machine from start to finish. There are really no slow parts or “obligatory” scenes of doubt and self-recrimination. It is “the bad guys will pay” all the way. This of course gives the opportunity to include some other elements that I quite like in a story like this. For instance the parts where the spoiled total idiot son of the big bad guy slowly gets his arrogance replaced by some good, honest to God, fear. Fear of death and fear of the guy he so carelessly pissed off.
Needless to say, I enjoyed this movie a lot when I sat down to watch it with my oldest son yesterday.