At its best moments, John Wick reminds you of the first Die Hard movie where a rated-R is well earned and well used and the main character is not made of steel.
Man, this was a good movie. It's what action movies should be: swift, stylized, creative violence that gets your blood going. Add a decent chase in there, and you've got yourself something really hot on your hands.
John Wick is what Keanu Reaves should have been doing for the last ten years. John Wick is what the remake of the remake of Point Blank should have been. John Wick makes me think there might be hope for the action genre.
The two men who directed it are basically stunt guys who have worked with all of the great directors around these days and also worked on the Bourne movies. It feels like they just got their favorite character actors together, worked intensely on the action sequences, and let the actors do their thing. A ton of cameos and delights abound with the cast, many of whom I recognized from my favorite HBO stuff. I loved seeing them on the big screen. And you can't help but ask where Keanu has been for so long. He's better at this role than any other he's ever played.
The action is tight and smart. I actually flinched at some of the gun play and cringed at some of the hand-to-hand stuff, which for once you can actually see! I can't tell you how disappointed I was with the Bourne sequels and The Dark Night; they bragged about all the work they did on the fight scenes and then shrouded them in drums, darkness, and shaky-cam, Who knew Keanu could fight like this?
The gun play was efficient and kind of beautiful. It reminded me of Equillibrium at some points and a little of early John Woo films. Phenomenal, really!
Then, there's the cars. Big American muscle cars from various years screeching on runways, docks, and wet streets. A few Europeans thrown in there for good measure.
And lastly, I loved the way women were treated in this flick. There are no damsels or screaming threats of lady-torture. All the women are strong, even a bartender who's kind of obviously into the protagonist. There's a lady assassin who is sexy but doesn't seem to actually use that for anything. It's her confidence and air of danger that's sexy.
I need to see this thing again. Finally a smart, well-made action movie. Moar please.