Monday 26 September 2016

Review: John Wick: 'what it lacks in plot innovation (and a decent script), it easily makes up for in aesthetics'

Tanya Sweeney

Published 10/04/2015 | 15:30

Action/thriller, starring Keanu Reeves, Michael Nyqvist, Alfie Allen, Willem Dafoe, Dean Winters, Adrianne Palicki, Bridget Moynahan. Dir: Chad Stahelski/David Leitch. Cert: 16

3*

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Of all the A-listers I was hoping would stage a McConnaissance-style career revival, Keanu Reeves was top of my list. For now, however, that leap remains at large.

Hot on the heels of the rather shoddy 47 Ronin comes this slick, high-octane shoot out. Reeves stars as John Wick, a widower who inherits a puppy posthumously from his wife. No, bear with me...

After meeting a trio of Russian gang members at a filling station, the three follow John home, killing Daisy the dog and stealing his car. Alas, the trio tangled with the wrong dog owner, because, for all his unassuming manner, John Wick is known as a lethal assassin. And now, he is forced back into the seamy underworld he left behind years ago. Sound familiar? It should do: it's a narrative as old as the proverbial hills.

Yet, what John Wick lacks in plot innovation (and a decent script), it easily makes up for in aesthetics. It transpires that directors Chad Stahelski and David Leitch were Reeves' stunt doubles on The Matrix. It explains a lot, and the two are certainly versed in the visual language of a good blockbuster.

All in all, John Wick is an enjoyable enough cinematic romp. It's not a classic of the form by any means, but with a decent handful of action sequences peppered throughout, the audience will forgive it that.

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