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Looneymanthegreat's Movie Reviews (125)

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John Wick 
Keanu Reeves is Back
3/4 stars

John Wick is not a great movie, itís not even a particularly good movie; but I think Itís the movie we needed right now. This yearís action movie roster has been dominated by CGI-fests, comic book adaptations and mediocre Luc Besson productions. It is refreshing to go to the cinema and watch an action movie with a small budget, little CGI and some great energy. Does that mean I donít like the big budget action movies? Not at all; But itís fun to change the pace, and John Wick is a solid enough action movie to stand on its own.

This is also the sort of movie that its star, Keanu Reeves, needed. Last years 47 Ronin was an abysmal train wreck of a movie; But John Wick reminds us how good Reeves can be when heís given the right material. He really struts his stuff in this noir-ish action flick, and when itís time for his character to emote, his acting produces some legitimately chilling scenes. I buy him as a cool hit man with nothing to lose; roles like this really suit him.

The action sequences and cinematography are all phenomenally fun. More then anything the choreography of the gun-foo type action sequences make the movie. The very original feeling and style of the whole thing, from the close quarters gun fights to the blue color pallet, make the movie look and feel all the more slick and cool.

Unfortunately though, the movie really falters in its plot. There is the implication of a very intricate, very unique, criminal underworld in the John Wick universe, but itís never really explained and can become confusing at times. A particular problem that the plot never addresses is Willem Defoeís character who acts like more of a plot device then an actual character.

That said many other movies kill their momentum and their emotional connection to their audience with boring over explanation and exposition. Iíll take a slightly befuddling plot to the boring exposition fest of The 47 Ronin any day of the week. This movie could have easily been a clunky mess, but the end result sacrifices clarity for energy, and in the case of an action movie like this, thatís probably a good thing.

So is it exceptional? No. But I would argue that itís at the very least exceptional within the context of modern commercial cinema. If somebody showed me this movie on DVD without telling me what it was, I probably would have thought it had come out more than a decade ago. Itís over use of digital color fixing and its stylized gun battles are action trends from 2002 not 2014. While other action movies nowadays either try to ride current trends (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,) or are overly nostalgic for baby-boomer action flicks (the entire Expendables franchise.) John Wick on the other hand feels like itís doing itís own special thing, and I would say itís a must see for fans of action, Keanu Reeves or retired hit men who are getting back in the game for one last job.


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