John Wick hit me as an ultra-violent but stylized revenge drama that was based on a hair thin plot which again was so well presented that it appeared more than believable. In a time and world where mercenaries congregate in plush hotels which are designed and maintained for them alone, where we have police decently asking questions to killers about noise issue after they have slain a dozen men and in a world where there is a killer who is feared and revered more than the boogeyman, John Wick presents a pretty picture which is engrossing and visually enthralling at the same time.
The story starts with a champion contract killer John Wick (Keanu Reeves) giving up a life of crime for a life of bliss and happiness with the woman of his dream. The woman however doesn’t survive long and succumbs to her sickness but not before leaving John a beautiful present to love in the form of a dog Daisy. Daisy gives the boogeyman a reason to pull through his tragedy which he now shares with the dog. But soon misery strikes and the son of the local enforcer, who believes himself to be all powerful, breaks into John Wick’s house and murders Daisy just to shut her up. He steals Wick’s car and makes way with it. Fueled by his anger for the hooligans and his frustration at being robbed of the last gift of his wife, Wick sets out to kill the perpetrator even as his father, the local kingpin uses the whole Russian mob to stop him from killing his son.
Once the basic premise is set, the film just moves from one action set piece to another. The action though relentless is done so well that that you will neither feel bored nor overdone. The first sequence at John’s home where he single handedly dispatches off a dozen men is done beautifully. The ay he is shown using the gun for firing as well as an assault weapon is note worthy. He just sort of nudges the gun as a stick at eh throats of the enemies when they are at a close range. This scene sort of reminded me of Equilibrium’s “Gun Kata”. The next action sequence that unfolds in a night club is lit and executed with panache. The music playing in the background and the bodies mounting in the foreground only add to its charisma. These are two of the best action sequences of the film. The second half has a few more to offer but they cannot match these two initial sequences. Having said that, the sequences in the second half are still in many ways better than the regular stuff that we see over and over and over again.
One doesn’t expect much in terms of acting from a film like this but interestingly enough, the film is surprisingly well acted. The character and mannerism of John Wick suits Keanu to the t. He not only acts well but also moves beautifully through the action sequences. The physicality and the morose charm that he brings to the character is hypnotic. It becomes difficult to take the eyes of the character when he is on screen. Michael Nyqvist as the Russian kingpin is superb. He looks both menacing and suave in a character which demanded him to be both. He also appears as someone who could actually threaten someone like Wick. Willem Dafoe in a brief essay is effective.
Apart from the electric action sequences, the film also boasts of sparkling editing which elevates the style and effect of the sequences. The film’s score is mighty impressive. The music especially comes to its own during the action sequences. Overall, John Wick is by far one of the most impressive action films of 2014. Quality performances which render the script believable and the wonderful action sequences characterize this sleekly shot film which is bound to get under your skin. Watch it for sure.