Movie review: John Wick (2014)

John Wick is pretty much non-stop violence. It is a revenge flick. I sided with the main character, who takes out bad guys, but then paused when I thought about how tenuous his reason is.

John Wick seems to live a joy-filled, prosperous life with a beautiful wife. We suddenly see her fall from his arms and then die on a hospital bed. Through a post-mortem letter to John, we find out that she had been battling an illness for some time.

Along with the post-mortem letter, she has a puppy delivered to him, urging him to care for the puppy as something to love. He does. And we think that maybe the puppy will help with the grieving process.

Only this is cut short by bad guys from a Russian mafia of sorts. (The film takes place in New Jersey and New York City.) He crosses paths with them at a gas station where one covets his Mustang. It’s not for sale. So that night they break into his house, beat him up, kill his dog, and steal his car.

Then we learn that John Wick was a former hitman who worked with the father of the thug who stole his car and killed the puppy from his deceased wife. That’s when all hell breaks loose.

John is a person to be feared. The Boogeyman, he was called. He hunts for the son who is protected by layers and layers of his father’s men. John methodically works his way through them all. Near the end of the movie, I realized that I should have counted the number he slaughtered. The numbers really were mind numbing.

I’m not entirely sure what the point of the movie is except to show killing after killing after killing, catering to the teenage male in American society.

One saving grace is Willem Dafoe, though his role is minimal and his character not well developed. Alfie Allen plays the mafia leader’s son who inadvertently initiated the killing spree. (Allen might be better known as Theon Greyjoy in Game of Thrones…another role of a whiney, disappointing son.) Keanu Reeves plays the main character, John Wick. No matter how much time passes, I still think of Reeves’ role in Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure from several decades ago. (“Whoa.”)

John Wick received good reviews and was decently made. As an action movie of continuous gunfire, it hits the mark. After about the hundred kill, I was ready for the movie to wrap it up.


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