What. A. Blast.
I went into the film with a pretty good idea of what it was going to be: Keanu Reeves kicking ass. And it lived up to its billing, and then some.
It’s been far too long since Keanu has done something that amazed me, but this is it. John Wick is a brilliantly paced film with great action, great choreography and is a perfect vehicle for Keanu Reeves. He really channelled the character, and given his own life experiences, it seems almost perfect for the man (much like how Birdman is a reflection of Michael Keaton). He does a brilliant job of portraying the deep anger and pain of John Wick, and frankly, it was quite intense.
But the main point of the film was the action, and boy was it good. There was no ridiculous shaky cam to cover up poor choreography, just a lot of great shots of well-choreographed fights. The fights were gritty, brutal, and felt so real; The Expendables could learn a lot from just the physical combat.
And then the guns. Oh my goodness. HOLLYWOOD HAS LEARNT THAT GUNS RUN OUT OF AMMO. It thrilled me to see Keanu reload his pistol, and even if there was an ungodly amount of muzzle flash, impossibly silent suppressors, cars acting as bullet shields, obvious digital squibs and explosions that were too fiery to be real, just to see a gun needing a reload was brilliant. The way the film integrated the reloading into the fight so seamlessly only made it that much better.
Also, props to the scriptwriters for keeping the dialogue simple and the backstory clean. I wouldn’t say they were extremely fantastic lines, but they didn’t detract from the action, and allowed the characters to breathe and live beyond the simple concept of assassins or crime lords. It was a far more subtle attempt at character development than plenty of action films these days, and it succeeded in giving characters that bit of life that allows the audience to connect to them.
I loved the fact that the film also didn’t treat us all as idiots by keeping things suggestive, to encourage the audience to think a little and thus connect to the film. None of the characters tried to deliver awkward exposition, and they looked so natural in their world as a result. I love that kind of storytelling, which is a form I try to mimic.
What can I say? Stallone, eat your heart out. This is what The Expendables should have been. This isn’t Bourne, but it doesn’t have to be. I usually don’t advocate for sequels, but I’ll watch the hell out of a John Wick 2.