Length: 101 minutes / 1.68 hours
I’ll be honest and say that I initially thought this film was just another action movie. Of all the action movies that come out these days, there wasn’t much that intrigued me enough to spend the time with this particular one. However, after some of my friends were raving about it and I saw a few YouTube videos describing why it was so great, I decided to give John Wick (2014) a chance. To say I was pleasantly surprised would be an understatement. This film was not just another action movie. In fact, it was quite exemplary in its breaking of traditional action movie tropes.
The most noticeable difference this movie has compared to other action films is its camerawork. Ever since The Bourne Identity (2001) changed the action movie genre, the cameras have been quite shaky, and the action is, therefore (increasingly) hard to follow. Not so with John Wick. The smooth and steady camera shows off the incredible talent of its titular main character as he performs a highly choreographed “dance of death,” killing all who might confront him or impede his progress toward his vengeful goal. Surprisingly enough, because everything happens so quickly, the violence is almost toned down despite the enormous body count.
Additionally, I liked the character of John Wick (portrayed by Keanu Reeves). Not only is he calm, cool, and calculating, but the universe in which he lives shudders at the mention of his name. The whole “infrastructure” put in place to support Wick was just as fascinating and entertaining as the stories people would tell of his previous professional exploits. And while the premise for John Wick leaving retirement was flimsy at best, it drove home the point that you should never, ever cross this character.
A revolutionary new way to do an action film, I give John Wick 4.0 stars out of 5.