FORUMS: list search recent posts

John Wick

COW Forums : TV & Movie Appreciation

<< PREVIOUS   •   VIEW ALL   •   PRINT   •   NEXT >>
Scott Roberts
John Wick
on Oct 29, 2014 at 10:18:53 pm







Premise: Keanu Reeves plays John Wick, a former mob assassin who quit the business to be with his lady, but then she dies of some illness, and on her death-bed she gives him a dog to help him grieve. Then, through a chance encounter with some jerks who have mafia connections, some goobers rob Wick's house and kill his dog. John Wick then decides to kill everybody else in the movie. Pretty simple plot. There's literally nothing else to it, and it doesn't have any twists or anything. It's just a revenge movie about a dog. The second one this year actually (after The Rover).


Pros:

-Pretty decent gun violence. Also some decent knifings; a couple stranglings. But mostly cool gun stuff. Somebody watched a lot of John Woo movies before they made this. I guess both of the directors (David Leitch and Chad Stahelski) were stunt coordinators on about 70 projects before making this their directorial debut. It shows, in a mostly good way.

-Surprisingly good world building, which I wasn't even expecting to get at all from this film. But it created an interesting mafia underworld, where everything is gold coin operated, and they have rules and buildings that are off-limits to violence. It wasn't mind-blowing or anything, but it provided the little extra kick to make this more than *just* a dumb action movie.

-Ya know, Keanu is pretty cool. He gets the short end of the stick a lot of times because he acts so laid back and says "Whoa" all the time, but I enjoy his work. Bill & Ted is pretty cool. Matrix is pretty cool. John Wick is pretty cool, too.

-To be honest, the five minutes of the movie where Keanu is just playing with a puppy were really engaging.

-Theon Greyjoy (no idea what the actor's name is) plays a great punchable wimp. I'm sure that's not how he is in real life, so I give him credit for having that perfectly hateable face combined with a decent whiney acting talent. He'll be playing the smarmy rich guy's son character for the next five years. And one day, he'll eventually be upgraded to the smarmy rich guy who *has* a son character. I'm sure it will bring a tear to his eye.

-There's lots of decent minor roles given to people I recognize: Ian McShane, Willem Dafoe, John Leguizamo, Dennis Duffy from 30 Rock, Daniels from The Wire, Lester Freamon from The Wire, KEVIN NASH (aka Super Shredder).

-Once the film gets its momentum, it never lets up.

-I liked that the John Wick character was unstoppable, but not indestructible. He got messed up, knocked down, shot and stabbed, etc. You'd be foolish to think he wouldn't make it to the end, but at least there were moments of weakness.

-It has a comically stupid ending that I enjoyed.



Cons:

-At fast paced as it was, at a certain point I kind of just wanted it to end. It's probably 15 minutes too long. Also, I pounded down a large soda pretty early in the movie and had to pee by the end. We've discussed this before, and I never learn; I shouldn't drink so much soda during the movies. My bladder can't handle it.

-The villain does that James Bond villain thing where he captures Wick and he's like "Ok, finish off John Wick" then leaves the room instead of seeing it through, and LO AND BEHOLD, John Wick gets out of it alive! Aren't our movie villains above this kind of thing, yet? It's 2014, Russian mafia guy!

-They say John Wick's name like a hundred times in this screenplay. "That's John Wick!" "Good evening, Mr. Wick." "Don't mess with John Wick." "Oh, hi John Wick." WE GET IT, his name is John Wick.

-I don't really like it when filmmakers get cutesy with the subtitles. Personal preference.

-Much like Viggo Mortensen, I've now become aware of Keanu Reeves' weird fingernails, and I DON'T LIKE THEM. Yes, I have issues not worthy of going into here...



Final Thoughts: It's not bad at all. And most of my complaints are more nitpicking than anything. John Wick isn't going to be anything memorable in the grand scheme of film, it won't make that many people's top films of the year lists, it will likely be in a Wal-Mart bargain bin in the next 3 years, and I have no plans to ever pay to watch it again... ...THAT BEING SAID, it's a perfectly fine action movie that's worth watching if it's your thing. I don't regret watching it. Actually, I enjoyed it plenty. It's just nothing that totally shook my world. Can't we just admire dumb entertainment? JOHN WICK JOHN WICK JOHN WICK JOHN WICK JOHN WICK JOHN WICK.

8 out of 10


Return to posts index

Tim Wilson
Re: John Wick
on Oct 29, 2014 at 11:03:22 pm

My peeps at Grantland.com (what? You're STILL not reading this site every day? BEST WRITING ON THE WEB, including PULITZER PRIZE-WINNING FILM CRITICISM) wrote a great article about this.

It's by John Lopez, not even their PULITZER PRIZE-WINNING FILM CRITIC, but a nifty columnist nonetheless, and it's called How Many Dead Mobsters Would You Trade for a Puppy? On the Moral Calculus of ‘John Wick’

It's worth quoting at some length.



I’m telling you, I was totally onboard, and not just ’cause it’s good to see Neo back in black. I morally sanctioned Wick’s biblical wrath. The nuanced, hyper-aware 21st-century self I pretend to be shattered like so many Slavic crania; and for more than 100 minutes, I devolved to an Old Testament, lion-baiting son of a bitch.

....After all, Taken has built a trilogy on Liam Neeson’s Odyssean quest for parental vengeance. (And Tarantino will tell you just how foundational the revenge plot is to cinema high and low.)

But at least in Taken, we’re riffing on a parent’s very real and understandable protective instinct. Sure, it’s a fortysomething’s fantasy, but one built on a solid grain of truth: Any parent would go through an infinite mountain of Eurotrash thugs to save his or her baby.

What’s remarkable in John Wick is that the moral equation has been reduced to its basest terms. There’s no one to be rescued, no mitigating purpose to the carnage. It’s simple: One dead pet is worth exactly one bajillion dead bad guys. That is a mathematical truth that transcends reasoning. We know it in our gut, and that’s why John Wick works.


He goes on to observe that Keanu slaughtered so many Russians that it surely had a negative impact on the Brooklyn economy, but hey, the Russians killed a dog, so Brooklyn's gonna have to sort out it's own problems.

The implicit question becomes, What doesn’t this sanction? How far is too far when it comes to puppy-inspired vengeance? The most amazing thing is that after watching John Wick turn lower Manhattan into the killing fields, I still do not know. [Author's emphasis]


The question I haven't answered for myself is, does my pleasure over vengeance supersede my desire to not see any movies where dogs die as a plot device? The answer so far is probably not, but like you, I'm glad for Keanu's sake, and the sake of his stunt pals, that the movie turned out well as a piece of work, and that people are digging it.

Worthy of particular note: Chad Stahelski wasn't just a stunt guy. Specifically, he was Keanu's stunt double. There's a pretty cool story about how he came to helm John Wick, and as soon as I find it again, I'll provide a link.....

As always, thanks for the review!


Return to posts index

Stephen Smith
Re: John Wick
on Oct 30, 2014 at 4:01:20 pm

[Scott]

-It has a comically stupid ending that I enjoyed.

You have me curious, are you willing to spoil the movie and just tell me what is was?

Stephen Smith

Utah Video Productions

Check out my Vimeo page


Return to posts index


Scott Roberts
Re: John Wick
on Nov 3, 2014 at 6:11:44 pm

[Tim Wilson] "It’s simple: One dead pet is worth exactly one bajillion dead bad guys. That is a mathematical truth that transcends reasoning. We know it in our gut, and that’s why John Wick works."

Haha, that's pretty true. Everything felt abnormally justified. We know that the Russian mob is full of terrible people that should either die or be put in jail, but the dog murdering was just the tipping point where you go "OK LET'S FINALLY DO SOMETHING ABOUT THESE PEOPLE."



[Tim Wilson] "The question I haven't answered for myself is, does my pleasure over vengeance supersede my desire to not see any movies where dogs die as a plot device?"

As weird as it sounds, the fact that I knew going into it that the dog would die in the beginning, that I knew it wouldn't just be a minor tidbit of a villain's evil ways, that it would actually be the catalyst for the entire film, and that I had time to prepare for it ahead of time to reassure myself that the puppy is actually fine in real life; I was kind of fine with accepting it in order to see all the bad guys die.



[Stephen Smith] "You have me curious, are you willing to spoil the movie and just tell me what is was?"

If you really want to know, I'll spoil it for ya! Here's a bunch of spoiler lines so no one who doesn't want to see it sees it:

SPOILER BELOW
SPOILER BELOW
SPOILER BELOW
SPOILER BELOW
SPOILER BELOW
SPOILER BELOW
SPOILER BELOW
SPOILER BELOW
SPOILER BELOW
SPOILER BELOW
SPOILER BELOW
SPOILER BELOW
SPOILER BELOW
SPOILER BELOW
SPOILER BELOW
SPOILER BELOW
SPOILER BELOW
SPOILER BELOW
SPOILER BELOW
SPOILER BELOW
SPOILER BELOW
SPOILER BELOW
SPOILER BELOW
SPOILER BELOW
SPOILER BELOW
SPOILER BELOW
SPOILER BELOW
SPOILER BELOW
SPOILER BELOW
SPOILER BELOW
SPOILER BELOW
SPOILER BELOW
SPOILER BELOW
SPOILER BELOW


After of the final fight of the film, John ends up COINCIDENTALLY near a dog shelter, where he goes in, looks around, picks out a dog he likes, and starts to walk down the sidewalk home with it. I don't know, it was so stupid and obvious that it made me laugh.


Return to posts index

<< PREVIOUS   •   VIEW ALL   •   PRINT   •   NEXT >>
© 2017 CreativeCOW.net All Rights Reserved
[TOP]