Starring: Keanu Reeves, Michael Nyqvist, Alfie Allen, Willem Dafoe, John Leguizamo, Ian McShane, Adrianne Palicki, Dean Winters, Daniel Bernhardt, Bridget Moynahan, Lance Reddick, Randall Duk Kim, David Patrick Kelly, Kevin Nash, Clarke Peters, Tait Fletcher.
My throwback Thursday isn't going that far back. Only to last year of early April when the anticipated John Wick was released. I don't think it got the recognition it deserved here in the UK, being released more than six months after the US date of September 2014. I remembered seeing the trailers back in early 2014 and was fortunate enough to be excited enough to catch it at the cinema when it was finally released here, which only lasted about two weeks.
There's so much to love about this film, the comic book style mythology, the gunplay, the muscle cars and the actual lack of script. It has a strong cast and also boasts a superb soundtrack and score from Tyler Bates and Le Castle Vania. Tracks like M86's "In My Mind" and Marilyn Manson's "Killing Strangers" suit the film perfectly. The film just oozes style and cool that accompanies the ultra-violence.
The title character is superbly introduced by allowing us to meet John Wick before the urban legends unearth around him. All because of that classic "don't know who you're messing with" premise, Wick automatically earns that hard-case persona of someone you really don't want to upset. Similar to characters like Taken's Bryan Mills and The Equalizer, retired, he's someone that just wants peace and quiet, until a situation awakens that dormant volcano of violence.
We meet other characters of the Wick's world and quickly understand that people either, like, respect or fear John Wick, possibly all three at the same time. The local police, doormen, and other underworld business proprietors. Pretty much everyone that matters, knows who and what John Wick is, and only the extremely brave and equally stupid go up against him. He's the Baba Yaga of course, but not exactly the boogeyman.
Michael Nyqvist (Ghost Protocol, The Girl With.. Series) is the Russian mob boss with Game of Thrones Alfie Allen as his idiotic son who makes the fatal mistake of stealing John Wick's car, gives him a beating and kills his puppy, unknowing who Wick is, evoking a path of carnage. We meet chop-shop John Leguizamo, waste disposal David Kelly Patrick (The Crow, Commando) the cool Continental Hotel owner Ian McShane and resident doctor, The Matrix's Keymaker Randall Duk Kim. Not forgetting fellow sniper Willem Dafoe.
As with a lot of Keanu's movies there is a lack of script, but it works! Sometimes answering with silence gives more impact than the telephone tough guy pitch. It enforces the idea that there's so much brewing under that black suit of his. I have always been a firm believer that letting other people boast about your abilities is more effective than it coming from horse's mouth. This is a classic example.
It's a directorial debut for stunt/fight coordinator/double Chad Stahelski who's worked on The Matrix series, 300 and even the more recent Captain America: Civil War. Which would explain the action, the bullet ballets and realistic punch-ups. It's raw fighting, nothing fancy or over-the-top and uses military grade tactics. Keanu doing most if not all of his own stunts.
John Wick is fast becoming a cult film with a stream of fans awaiting the announced sequel. Keanu Reeves has done what Brandon Lee did with The Crow. In fact I only discovered writing this that director Stahelski got his break doubling for Lee after the tragic accident. I've even dressed my GTAV avatar to look like John Wick, with matching cars. It makes me play better, honest.
"It's not what you did that angers me so, it's who you did it to..."
Running Time: 9
The Cast: 9
Job Description: 10
The Extra Bonus Point: 10 for a refreshing urban myth of an antihero. Having all the right ingredients for the perfect actioner. being full of heart, reminding me of what innocent attraction felt like and for an epic soundtrack.