Review by Paul Preston
Welcome to Today I Watched…, a series of posts documenting my new challenge – watch a movie a day for the rest of my life. Keep coming back to TheMovieGuys.net to find out what I watch each day…and get my take on it.
Feb. 15, 2017 – John Wick
If they’re going to go through all the trouble to make John Wick: Chapter 2, then I feel like there must be some magic in the first one. So I went back to give it a once-over. Going in, I was pretty sure I was going to love it based on the preview we gave the movie on our podcast back in 2014 – Russian tough guys steal a guy’s car, in the process they kill the guy’s dog. The guy turns out to be a badass hitman who goes ballistic on everyone in his path.
That’s it. And that’s plenty.
But think of the checklist getting thoroughly crossed off here:
– He’s the best of the best.
– Just when he thought he was out, they pull him back in.
– They messed with the wrong guy.
That’s a success no matter who’s making your movie. John Wick goes one step beyond, though, in that it’s more elegant than a genre picture of its type should be. The shots are gorgeous and the locations are stylish. Also, in the middle of it is the wacky conceit of a building where assassins reside and have a code of conduct that is so sincerely played out, it’s fun. In the end, it’s just lining up a slew of people for Wick to turn into corpses.
So let me re-iterate again that they killed his DOG, so he goes on a rampage. Just in case you missed the potential awesomeness in that plot. The dog was a gift from his dying wife, so it really was the last string to coax him out of retirement. And the reverence with which everyone treats Wick and his legend is so great. Even the bad guys seem to know their days are numbered ‘cause they angered a sleeping giant.
And if you’re wondering if you can watch this with your life, just a reminder that in the end, it’s a doggie movie.
Between the 2008 bomb remake of The Day the Earth Stood Still and the bomb 47 Ronin, Keanu made pretty much forgettable films. Things weren’t looking good. John Wick has made him relevant again, and I welcome it! There aren’t many more noble film stars than him (if you research the stories), and he deserves this upswing in his long career. I’ll be watching the sequel this week.
Directed by: Chad Stahelski
Release Date: October 24, 2014
Run Time: 101 Minutes
Distributor: Summit Entertainment