It’s John Woo-meets-Quentin Tarantino in Keanu Reeves’s latest actioner ‘John Wick,’ a violent yet playful addition to the assassin genre exemplified by such previous films as ‘Mr. & Mrs. Smith,’ ‘Wanted’ and ‘Kill Bill’ Volumes 1 and 2. Don’t let the unpretentious title fool you; ‘John Wick’ is a stylish and kinetic bullet ballet akin to some of the best John Woo ‘Gun fu’ movies starring Chow Yun-Fat.
‘John Wick’ is not a particularly cerebral film by any measure, with its simple and straightforward ‘revenge’ storyline about a retired assassin forced back into the profession he left behind all because of some punk ass son of a Russian mob boss robbed the "wrong" guy (this is all evident in the movie’s trailer, so don’t blame me for spoilers), but what makes JW so refreshingly entertaining is the bizarro world of the assassin it depicted. Like the other assassin movies mentioned above, the community of assassins is an exclusive and close-knit one, with its own rules and code of conduct regulating the behaviors of its members. It’s a guild and secret society all rolled up in one, and normal society as a whole are either oblivious, indifferent, or simply ‘tolerates’ them.
Not a knock on his acting skills, but Keanu Reeves is perfect as the quiet and brooding Wick, whose reputation is legendary even within the community of assassins. There were other notable performances from Michael Nyqvist, Willem Dafoe, John Leguizamo, Ian McShane and Adrianne Palicki. AllState Insurance “Mayhem Guy” Dean Winters was also fantastic as the villain’s unlucky right-hand man Avi, who like all the others just couldn’t protect himself from mayhem like Wick.