Some movie fans won’t find the following statement a surprise in least. John Wick, which opens on the nation’s screens Friday (Oct. 24), is dumb fun.
Starring Keanu Reeves, it’s little more than an action film that wants to entertain. That it does. Hell and it even has a semblance of a plot – cliché riddled – but one nonetheless.
But Derek Kolstad’s script at least shoots for something original that adds something, however superficial it may be, to the proceedings to the story of John Wick?
And who is he? Well, it’s complicated. The movie opens with Wick (Reeves) burying his wife after she died from an illness.
After the funeral Wick isn’t exactly looking forward to grieving alone. A mysterious delivery changes things when a card from his now-deceased wife along with an adorable puppy arrives to help him mourn. This is a guy set to go about his business. Fate won’t allow this.
After he rebuffs a Russian thug’s offer to buy his sweet, sweet Mustang, the nutjob and his buddies show up at his home in masks and heavy accents (Duh!!) beat him, kill the dog and, of course, steal the Mustang. Of course, killing the dog was the mistake and the audience soon learns of Wick’s former life.
Dude was a contract killer, the type that sends shivers down the spines of anyone he deals – cops, chop shop operators and Wick’s former employer Viggo Tarasov (Michael Nyqvist), who just happens to be the father of the dog-killing thug – Josef (Alfie Allen).
All Wick wants is the d-bag son, but Viggo makes that a wee bit difficult, deciding to unleash hell upon himself and his organization.
That’s where Kolstad’s originality reveals itself. He sets up an entire subculture for the contract-killing industry – one with rules, hangouts and regulars. He fills that aspect of the film with humor along with crosses and double crosses.
Without that element, John Wick would be fairly routine. Action films need something – anything – to set themselves apart. It works for Wick.
Co-directors Chad Stahelski and David Leitch milk that for every drop of fun, but they also know exactly what to do with Reeves and in his case borderline cool and stoic has always served him best.
John Wick is a low-grade actioner with cheap laughs, cheap thrills and a lot of fun.
Movie: John Wick
Director: Chad Stahelski and David Leitch
Cast: Keanu Reeves, Willem Dafoe, Alfie Allen
Rated: R for strong and bloody violence throughout, language and brief drug use
Running time: 101 minutes
George’s rating: 3-of-5 stars
Check for theaters and showtimes at Atlas Cinemas, Cleveland Cinemas, Fandango.com and MovieTickets.com