John Wick (2014)

Violent, intense, artsy. The fight scenes are choreographed and executed well, but all of the fancy artistic elements added to this movie seem to reiterate the superficial storyline. Recommended? John Wick is a fun action movie where not much thinking is required to watch it.

Photo Credit: IMDb

Photo Credit: IMDb

For a great deal of time, there is an intense feeling that something great is going to happen. The story starts off so simply and builds up like there is a twist of the proportions of movies like Fight Club, The Usual Suspects or even Kill Bill. The positive critical reception that this movie received upon release fueled this feeling even more. But as the movie goes on, there is nothing universal or deep that runs underneath and the story can only really be taken at face value. Sure there’s some love, vengeance, loyalty, family values and forgiveness in the mix, but these themes only go skin deep.

The one element of this movie that was impressive beyond all others was the action sequences. The combat scenes ranged from shooting to chases to hand to hand combat and all were driven by a sense of intensity. The visual effects and art direction were also impressive, as the wide variety of places added to the confrontation and action in each scene.

Also notably well-done was the sound effects and editing. The editors and mixers knew what to emphasize where and often let actions ring louder than words, not that there was much to be taken from that which was said. The music was eclectic, but fit the scenes of the movie well. Overall, the artistic elements of this movie were well thought out and executed, probably as a means of masking what lacked everywhere else.

The acting in this movie runs along the same continuum as the quality of the rest of the film. Keanu Reeves held his own in his role as the title character, but he typically delivers in roles that don’t require him to speak much or show a lot emotion. The cast also included big names like Willem Dafoe, Adrianne Palicki and John Leguizamo, all of whom did what they could to bring out their one-dimensional characters.

John Wick is thoroughly a fun and exciting experience with an unfortunately predictable story. There is so much potential for something clever and surprising that would take the story out of its action/revenge flick mold, but the fact that the plot in this film is so easy to call and the production was overly flashy (including “creatively” bolded and placed subtitles for Russian dialogue) degrades the quality of the film substantially.

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