Running Time: 102 mins.
Premise: When Russian goons steal his car and kill his dog, they set off John Wick (Keanu Reeves), who goes on a revenge spree.
Behind-the-Scenes: Director Chad Stahelski previously worked with Keanu on the Matrix films as a martial arts stunt coordinator. Eva Longoria, of all people, is a credited producer.
The Good: This is a no-frills, unpretentious B-movie that knows what its audience wants and mostly delivers on that front. The action is kinetic and vicious, relying more on "gun fu" than actual "kung fu." Keanu dispatches hordes of bad guys with increasingly inventive bullets to the head. The supporting cast runs surprisingly deep, with notable character actors like Willem Dafoe, John Leguizamo, Lance Reddick, and Ian McShane popping up every other minute. There are a number of tongue-in-cheek humorous moments that lighten the mood.
The Bad: Didn't we just see Denzel do all this in The Equalizer? I prefer that film because it had more substance to it, and, well, Denzel > Keanu. All the "gun fu" grows repetitive as the movie progresses, and eventually the lack of plot and character become an unavoidable distraction. Michael Nyqvist (the Swedish Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) has had plenty of experience playing the bad guy role in American films for years now, but he still comes across as bland and uninteresting. I'm certainly not a prude when it comes to violence on screen, but I was a tad uncomfortable at times with the extent to which the movie fetishizes and glamorizes gunplay.
Should You See It?: This is for hard-core action junkies only. Everyone else can avoid.
Star Rating: **1/2 out of 5 stars.
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