Movie Review: John Wick

Story by Mykaela Cross, Assistant Editor

Action movies have never really been my thing. I’ve always thought if you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all. How many times can we blow something up and still call it entertainment? The box office hit John Wick, now available on Blu-ray and DVD, is one of the few action movies I’d consider to be more than spectacle, even with it’s stereotypically easy-to-follow and violent plot.

As a fan of The Matrix series, the only reason I agreed to watch the film was because of Keanu Reeves, and he didn’t disappoint. The movie, a revenge-tragedy of sorts, begins with the death of John Wick’s love. With early clues hinting to a past in Russian crime, Wick is a dangerous man brought low. Reeves’ portrayal of Wick’s grief, despair and anger were phenomenal, each emotion perfectly performed. It’s always hard to see a grown man cry, and it’s even harder to watch when it’s Neo.

From the beginning of the movie through the ending credits, I was compelled to feel sorry and root for the protagonist John, whom is mostly referred to in the film as Wick. When his old Russian boss’ son stirs up bad dirt with Wick, just after his wife’s passing, Wick is forced on the offensive and is thrown back into the violent world of assassins and crime he’d left behind for love.

In a story this tragic, not only is Reeves’ acting believable, but so is his character. Revenge-driven and emotionally distraught alongside the protagonist, I found that I couldn’t stop watching until I knew he’d taken his revenge and found inner peace. Reeves and his character made the movie. It was no surprise to me the only title necessary was his name.

After losing seemingly everything, Reeves’ character faces impossible odds in enacting his revenge, yet he overcomes those odds in an almost realistic way. Where most action movies are filled with that-would-never-happen moments, those times when I roll my eyes, shake my head and think “Oh, Hollywood,” John Wick’s trials and successes are actually feasible. There wasn’t a moment while watching that I had to stretch my mind to believe that what was happening on screen could happen in real life, and it made a huge difference in how much I enjoyed the movie.

John Wick is not any more complex in its plot elements than any average action movie. There are gunfights, Russian mobsters, car chases and a body count greater than 50, but the arrangement and execution of each scene and plot element was amazing. The fights looked authentic, the sets constantly changed and fit the story perfectly, the dialogue was just cheesy enough to sound comic-book, and the realism in the emotions of Wick and the plot elements was the icing on the cake.

All in all, John Wick was a great movie. Keanu Reeves’ performance, the realism behind its characters, story and explosions were all worth the watch. I’d recommend this movie to anyone with a strong heart and stomach, as some of the scenes are violent and heart-wrenching. Filled with assassins, tears, blood, bullets and a dash of comedy, John Wick is a fun film for friends and is ideal for a loud surround-sound system experience.