BY: ZACH NIX
John Wick is an action film developed by 87eleven, a company specializing in training actors for action films. After training actors for films so long, it makes sense for 87eleven to produce an action film of their own. By making the plot as simple as possible and the action scenes as hard-hitting as they come, 87eleven Productions and director Chad Stahelski have crafted one of the most exciting action films of the year that laughs in the faces of Hollywood’s big budget action films. John Wick (Keanu Reeves) mourns the loss of his wife who died from an illness. When he comes home after her funeral, he finds that his wife prepared a final gift for him: a puppy. Wick takes his newfound friend to the gas station in his ’69 Mustang later that day. Unfortunately, his car attracts the likes of some punks who break into his house later that night, steal his car, and kill his dog. When Viggo Tarasov, the head of the New York Russian crime syndicate, learns that his son stole from John Wick, he reveals what his son has gotten into. Wick was a former assassin who helped establish Tarasov as the head of the mob long ago. Since he knows Wick will stop at nothing to enact revenge, he unleashes his assassins on Wick in order to protect his son.
What follows is action scene, after action scene, after action scene. John Wick wastes no time getting to expertly choreographed shootouts and fights framed with steady photography and backed by smooth editing. The film is an action fan’s dream come true as Keanu Reeves racks up a kill count well over 60 baddies. Unlike most of today’s tame PG-13 thrillers, John Wick plays to the R-rated crowd who like their action bloody and non-sensical.
Reeves does a great job as both the titular character and the unstoppable killing machine that is Wick. After paying tribute to martial arts films in last year’s The Man of Tai Chi, Reeves now pays tribute to the “gun fu” films of Hong Kong with this gun heavy flick. Reeves continues to prove himself as one of the hardest working people in the action industry.
John Wick also has an expansive supporting cast filled with numerous recognizable character actors. The most notable supporting players include main antagonist Tarasov (Michael Nyqvist), the veteran hitman Marcus (Willem Dafoe), the deadly female assassin Perkins (Adrianne Palicki), and Tarasov’s punk son (Alfie Allen). Every supporting character does a great job inhabiting this violent world of mobsters and assassins with gleeful energy.
John Wick is one of the hardest hitting American action films of the year. Keanu Reeves returns to the big screen in a major way with this hard as nails actioner that proves that sticking to basics still makes for great escapist entertainment.