Runtime: 151 Mins (Total)
What To Expect: The return of Keanu Reeves in a movie with balls of absolute steel
John Wick was the manliest movie of 2014. C’mon, little question about that. Keanu Reeves established himself as an action man over 20 years ago with Point Break and Speed. And with the recent Man of Tai Chi, the upcoming ‘Rain’ and of course this, it’s a welcome return for one of the 1990’s originals. If you didn’t see this movie when it came out, there is no excuse now. Get it on Blu-Ray.
The plot is tried and tested manly movie subject matter. A man sets out to seek revenge against gangsters who slayed his dog and stole his wheels. That’s just two things you don’t do, man. You don’t touch a man’s dog and you don’t touch a man’s wheels. Anyone who does deserves all they get. Reeves then digs a set of guns out of his basement and goes on the most satisfying shooting rampage I’ve seen in a long time. Pissants get struck down upon with great vengeance and furious anger, simply because they refuse to give up the scumbag who beat Reeves’ pup to death with a baseball bat. I’m not talking about violent beatings either, rather, wanton executions. The body count probably actually exceeds that of the invasion of Grenada (no, really, that was about 40-50).
Of course, all of this would be near pointless if the action was captured using shaking cameras and completely unintuitive editing. Well rejoice, because John Wick is a devastating kidney shot to the scourge of shaking-cam hyper-edit syndrome. This movie has become highly popular because of its action, which is brilliantly filmed. The camera and cut will remain on Reeves until he has completed whichever move, kill or act of violence it is. Utterly satisfying yet natural choreography can be savored in the moment, instead of figuring it out in seconds later in your bewildered head, like some Bourne movie. The gunfights and executions are some of the best I’ve ever seen. And I just wouldn’t say that willy nilly – I hate poorly choreographed and edited gunfights.
Let’s talk Blu-Ray shop. There’s not much you can say about Blu-Ray picture these days unless it’s an old movie (like Thief), that is aged and requires particular care, unless you’re a hardcore AV-phile they kinda all look the same, as in the now normalized pretty 1080p transfer. Even so John Wick looks beautiful on Blu-Ray and for the quality of the movie and picture alone it should be a top priority purchase this year. There are around 50 minutes of extras, around a half dozen YouTube-sized features, but the best and longest one detailing the stunning choreography found in this film.
Directors Chad Stahelski and David Leitch have also given us a good commentary track. The fact that this was their first feature but also blew the world away means, as you’d expect, they don’t half ass us. Good humour, good trivia, such as Reeves’ training regimen (i.e. training with Los Angeles S.W.A.T) and in particular I like their commentary on the gold coins seen throughout the film.
“I’ll say this, John, you sure as fuck broke the mould, didn’t you?” Good line, kinda sums up how I feel about this movie – I love it.