My criteria for movies is not complicated. I want to enjoy myself. Doesn’t matter how the enjoyment comes about or what emotions it elicits. I understand there are people who dislike the Matrix Reloaded and Revolutions. Those people are wrong, and terrible, and obviously didn’t see the human controlled mechs fighting thousands of Sentinels pouring into the crumbling foundation of Zion. That’s entertainment.
But I digress.
John Wick. A wonderful, tasty, bloody, delicious smoothie. A smoothie comprised of one part Shoot ‘Em Up, one part Only God Forgives, and one part The Way of the Gun. It’s ridiculous and gratuitous, and I got every bit of my money’s worth. Now arguably, I ponied up to see Keanu shoot a lot of people, and do it with style, which is exactly what I received, so if you’re looking for something else, perhaps you’re approaching the film incorrectly. I’ll buy the need to see a movie which provokes good conversation after the credits roll – and though I personally had a giddy monologue at-length after seeing Apocalypse in Days of Future Past, I realize that’s not always the type of discussion people are looking for – and those films absolutely have their place, but if they do, so does the popcorn movie, like Transformers, where I pay my entry fee to watch giant robots fight on a highway for two-and-a-half hours. Wick is the latter. This isn’t to say Wick is dumb or mindless. It isn’t. Dialogue is sparse, which is good and fine, and what’s there is more than above average. There’s ample amounts of world-building as well, numerous peeks beneath this underworld curtain hinting at deeper players and networks and politics. Most of these nods are ignored (or, better, not discussed or explained), an outcome I actually prefer in this instance as it makes the setting and the story more… hefty. There’s an incredible level of suspension of disbelief with Wick – when bodies get close to triple digits and no one is on a beach in France, there needs to be – but the possibility of a fleshed-out assassin-run city makes that suspension less necessary. Maybe I’m stretching because I want to believe something like that exists, who knows, but the point is: I like what they did. Could all be groundwork for a sequel, which is fine, though it didn’t feel as such, and that’s why I think it worked. And the movie is pretty. Stahelski actually lets you see the action, choosing not to pursue the epileptic Bourne route. So there’s that.
Wick is good. Well directed, well acted, well written. People are calling it Keanu’s comeback vehicle, whatever that means, and I suppose it is if they thought he was gone in the first place. 47 Ronin certainly wasn’t it. 47 Ronin certainly wasn’t anything. That’s an example of a movie which should have been awesome – there was a dragon in the trailer! – and it got bogged down in bad. Too much talking, not enough golem samurai (yes, that’s one thing) and dragons. Let that be a lesson.
Wick is recommended. Lots of guns. Lots of shooting. And a dog.