John Wick, released on Oct. 17, constitutes a major comeback for Keanu Reeves, who has not had a major critically acclaimed film since 1999’s The Matrix. Newcomers, directors David Leitch and Chad Stahelski provide a no-nonsense revenge film that hits exactly what its viewers want.
The directors’ previous experience is primarily in stunts, which is easy to see, considering the crazy things that Reeves does on-screen during the film. More surprisingly though, is their ability to capture subtle emotion as a motivation for their title character, especially with an actor not known for his emotional roles.
Visually, this film is stunning. The lighting, cinematography and choreography establish one of the most convincing atmospheres of any movie this year. Once the exposition finishes, the film focuses on Wick taking down less skilled opponents on beautifully lit, albeit dark, indoor and outdoor sets.
Even with the use of darkness, it is never difficult to see what is going on, which has become an increasing problem with some recent action films.
Also enhancing the atmosphere is the film’s score. It evokes the most of the exciting feelings brought up by the film, while not distracting from the incredible action on onscreen.
The visual aspect of this film is what truly makes it special, but that is not to say that the acting is lacking. The directors know that to pull off a revenge film like this, all that is necessary is a competent lead with some emotional range and well-choreographed fight scenes.
Keanu Reeves is essentially perfect in the role, and Willem Dafoe along with John Leguizamo provide great supporting acting with two interesting, albeit underused characters.
They capture the essence of the love that Wick has for his wife and also his struggle with integrating into society after killing people for a living.
Overall, John Wick is an action-packed revenge film that pays homage to 80s action films, yet offers enough new ideas to still feel fresh and new.
Our Take; 4/5