*The last paragraph expresses short analysis* Something kept going through my head while seeing this film. I mean, it was an incredibly blatant, irredeemable plot hole. Where the crap is Morpheus?! . . . And why did Neo have a name change in the first place?
Not much needs to be said. This film is what it is, which isn't much. However - a big however - John Wick is about as entertaining as “dumb” action flicks get. Keanu Reeves plays an angry warrior about as good as anyone in Hollywood. There are, more or less, three things that Keanu can play: a stoner, a pissed off badass, and Jesus (um, I mean Neo). You put him in any scenario outside of that, and it doesn't really work. This is even shown in this film, where Reeves has to display intense sorrow in one of the scenes and it is almost cringe worthy.
Let's step back for a minute though. You need to know what this film is about, do you not. Ex hit-man John Wick comes out of retirement when a group of thugs beat up his car and mistreat his dog. Not much more needs to be said, because this film really isn't there for the story; it is there for the beautifully brutal and blazingly badass action.
This is the reason to watch the film. The action, at moments, is so intensely enjoyable I found myself laughing with glee from how cool it was. It does such a decidedly awesome job of making the fight choreography stylized, but not too stylized, that it would be impossible for it to exist in a hyper-implausable-but-still-plausable, real world setting. At times the visuals run almost a little too slick and uncreative, but the filthy rich and elegant environment of the mobsters works together well enough with the camera work. Plus, who am I kidding, the visuals here aren't suppose to be smart, but fun.
Outside of the use of “boom boom sticks”, it is surprisingly the humor in John Wick that elevates it to something greater than your run-of-the-mill action film. There are a couple one liners in this film that are priceless. This is an unexpected treat and we definitely welcome more of some of this smart and quippy dialogue in future films of the genre.
When it comes to flaws, this film actually doesn't have that many. It's just that the ones it does have are notable. If you are looking for a predictable, clichéd film you've come to the right place. It is so predictable it is a little sad. That being said, it never gets too horrible, because some of the lined dots are thrown just enough off course so it isn't too dumb. A miscalculated Willem Defoe role that surprisingly feels out place - regardless of his talent - also bring this film down slightly, but never enough for an uproar.
Like I said, it is what is is. John Wick is not a smart action film, though definitely not a dumb one, and delivers what it is selling: incredibly fun, balls-to-the-wall action. All you Die Hard fans, all you Rambo fans, all you action junkies, this film is for you. Thanks Keanu. I didn't know you had another good film in you.
Personal Preference: 4/5
Critical Analysis: 3.5/5