Keanu Reeves kills a bunch of people because some punks stole his car and killed his dog. That’s it. That’s the movie. If that sounds bad to you, then my work is done and you don’t need to read the rest of this review. If you think that could be cool or fun in a popcorn kind of way, you’re wrong. No, shut up. YOU’RE WRONG! However, if you think this looks awesomely bad and a great movie to make fun of, then you would be right. This movie is all kinds of stupid and a lot of things about it just don’t work. But for the sake of professionalism, lets give you the premise and some positives about the movie because there are a few. A couple. One. There’s just one.
Mourning the death of his wife, John Wick, played by Keanu Reeves, receives a dog from his late wife posthumously to help him through his grieving. He runs into three Russian gang members at a gas station who later break into his house, kill his dog, and steal his car after he refuses to sell it to them. We then learn that John Wick is actually a former assassin for the Russian syndicate who left the life behind but will now go up against his former employer to take down the three Russian gang members, one of which is his former boss’ son.
When Keanu Reeves has a gun in his hand, it makes for some entertaining action scenes. He’s cold, calculating, and focused. The accuracy he has with handguns, assault rifles, and shotguns is impressive and it makes for some entertaining takedowns, as well as a few trick shots. And that’s it. That’s the one good part of this movie. Now for the bad…
The plot is STUPID! John Wick literally goes on a rampage and takes down an entire syndicate BECAUSE OF A DOG HE HAD FOR MAYBE 24 HOURS WAS KILLED! And yes, it’s all about the dog because the car and the break-in is never mentioned again in this movie. What follows is the plot going through typical action movie spiel except without anything memorable. He destroys something that makes the boss mad, he goes after his target early on but fails, the bad guys capture him but don’t kill him. This is all run of the mill stuff that would be fine if the action was well choreographed, which leads to my next complaint.
Keanu Reeves doesn’t look like the badass the movie tries to portray him to be. Like I said, when John Wick has a gun, he’s awesome, but when he doesn’t, you realize he doesn’t know how to fight. None of the hand-to-hand combat is very good and it looks like no one involved with this movie knew how to fight or choreography fights. A lot of the action scenes aren’t very well shot either. There’s a severe lack of tension in any of them, the soundtrack doesn’t help, they’re paced badly, and there’s a sense of emptiness to them. The only good action scene is the second one and even that one ends badly.
There is no attention to detail in this movie at all. There are numerous nonsensical actions and even some continuity issues. Why does everyone know John Wick? Shouldn’t people fear him? What’s the story behind the coins he uses to pay for everything? Who runs the Continental that is so powerful, then can oppose the Russian Syndicate? Why does no one notice a gun fight happening on the dancefloor? I’m not really spoiling anything because none of this is in the movie. Not to say that there isn’t non-spoiler stuff that doesn’t make sense? For example, why did it rain all of a sudden? Why did it stop just as suddenly? Why is he dry now!?
The characters in this movie don’t have any development or memorable qualities. There’s a sniper who I guess is close to John Wick, an female assassin who is given more time than she deserves, a right hand man who does literally nothing until the end of the movie and the son who started all of this who literally does nothing but run for the rest of the movie. All of these characters are in the movie sporadically and usually leave unceremoniously. I mean I forgot about the female assassin until she reappeared and then she leaves the movie when ANOTHER character I forgot about comes back and then immediately leaves.
The only other character in this movie that matters besides John Wick is the Russian crime boss Viggo, played by Michael Nyqvist. For being the main antagonist, he’s just as unintimidating as Keanu Reeves. Throughout the movie, I can’t figure out whether he fears John Wick or is just waiting to die but still tries to stop John Wick because he’s bored, I guess. I don’t even believe that he wants to protect his son or get back at John Wick for harming his syndicate or be motivated to do anything really. Needless to say, Nyqvist’s performance isn’t very good and neither is anyone else’s for that matter. Everyone is definitely phoning it in.
The weirdest thing about this movie is it actually ends two-thirds into it. The movie should end 20 minutes before it does. The last act plays out like what the sequel would’ve been, which would’ve been just as thinly written, and just like this movie, could’ve been wrapped up in twenty minutes. That second movie would have been worst though because the third act is where this movie goes into full blown nonsense. The movie before this part takes itself so seriously, needlessly so in fact, but then the third act drags itself out into nonsensical car drifting while shooting, a horrible fight with Viggo, and some random plot point for John Wick to come back.
It just occurred to me that this whole movie could have been two episodes of a new half-hour long action TV show. Maybe if Taken was made into a TV show. But no, instead we get this mess of a movie that should be laughed at more than enjoyed. You know what’s the cherry on top this shit Sunday of a movie? This whole movie could have been avoided with the very end. John Wick does something at the very end that could have prevented the whole movie. It’s like a middle finger to the whole crowd. Unless you want to make fun of a bad B-level action flick with your friends, don’t watch this movie.