Ex-Hitman John Wick (Keanu Reeves) has retired and left his brutal past behind, but when a gang of Russian yobs break into his house, steal his car and murder his dog, the last present from his deceased wife. His quest for vengeance will stop at nothing.
The good or bad news depending on your opinion on ol’ Reeves is he’s back. Doing his usual deadpan monotone thing on full form in a three piece suit and steel eyed. What Wick lacks in plot originality it makes up on with a slick look, and constant brutality with the at times unnerving violence and point blank headshots. It would be easy to dismiss this as another hitman film but Keanu Reeves is completely rebooted in full action man mode after a few years away from our screens. The film does fall for the odd action cliché however with Black SUVs galore, cut and paste settings and obligatory capture and escape scene. However there is a nice touch within the films setting in which the hitmen and women have their own code, currency and all know each other, which only adds to the mystery of the underground criminal world that the characters exist in.
The whole film is well shot and edited, with a colour palette to match each scenario perfectly, noticeably the over saturated blue and grey hues during John’s wife’s funeral. The pacing is spot on with enough room for us to become acquainted with John and his grief before his world is torn apart. Rather than dwelling on the story of his wife the first part is played almost as a straight drama but as the mood changes from grief to revenge, we are completely onside and amped for John’s return to his old ways.
Thankfully there is no ‘backstory’ or ‘origins’ flashbacks to older jobs, and instead the audience are told all we need to know, John Wick is a bad motherfucker and he will kill you, which he does for around a full hour of unrelenting bullets, punches and stabbings, with the odd dry gag scattered here and there. This is refreshing in modern cinema where so much of the story and characters have to be explained, however with Wick he is a myth and a legend with the bullet marks and bodies he leaves behind telling us all we need to know.
Leave your morals at home, strap in and try to keep up with the body count.