Keanu Reeves’ career is a difficult one to describe. To state his career has had its ups and downs would be an understatement. At one moment he makes “Speed” and is an actor in demand. Then he makes “Johnny Mnemonic” his star starts to dim. He makes “The Matrix” and his star skyrockets. After he makes the Matrix sequels he falls back into obscurity. He is still searching for that next IT movie. “John Wick” which opens today, October 24 is not it, but he proves he is still relevant and can carry an action movie on his own.
John Wick (Reeves) is going through a very tough time as he just lost his wife. He discovers she left him a gift, a dog, so he can learn to love again. He doesn’t get much time due to a chance encounter with a mob thug at a gas station where soon after these men break into his house, steal his car and kill his dog. That turns out to be a very big mistake.
The usual formula for this kind of revenge movie is that a spouse or child is killed and that sets everything in motion. There are countless pet people out there, so it’s kind of cool to see a guy like “John Wick” go on a bloody rampage due to the loss of a pet. John and the dog do not have much time to bond in the movie, but the dog is more of a symbol of the love he had with his wife. Still, it is a little different than from what we normally get.
The typical thing we do get from first time directors Chad Stahelski and David Leitch are a lot of needless slow motion shots. When John Wick is taking a shower and it is revealed he has a lot of bad ass tattoos, that is a slow motion shot. When John Wick goes to get his weapons for the first time, it’s in slow motion and what action movie is complete without our hero walking away from something blowing up in slow motion? You can’t blame the directors too much. They have a long stuntman background and are likely just copying from other movies they have seen. It would also explain why a deep bond is not formed between any of the characters, including the dog. Touchy-feely material is probably not going to be these guy’s strong suit.
However, coming from a stunt background the action is quite good in “John Wick.” There is not one bad or dull action sequence in the movie. The scenes are all nicely choreographed and run very smoothly. There’re often quite fun too. The movie is violent, but often in an amusing way. There are some laughs in the movie. If you took out the guns and shooting, the sequences would probably look like great dance scenes.
Keanu Reeves does not have the best reputation as being a great actor. He is fine here, but there is a scene where he cries, but he never sheds one tear. William Defoe and Adrianne Palicki have some nice roles in the movie and John Leguizamo proves that there are no small parts, only small actors in the few scenes he is in.
“John Wick” is not one of the best action movies to come along and it will not put Keanu Reeves back on the map, but it is a good reminder that he is still out there and can carry a movie if need be. That special movie may just be around the corner for him or at least a third Bill and Ted movie.