This film caught me completely off guard regarding the level of enjoyment I had watching it. The story itself may not be anything earth-shatteringly enlightening, as it is pretty straightforward, one focused around the theme of “revenge”. The real beauty of the film lies in how the separate parts that make it up are combined and presented. More than just a revenge ride padded with action, the story and the way it develops is used to lay the foundation on which the path of revenge is walked. And the way in which John Wick (Keanu Reeves) travels that path entertains you thoroughly.
Thanks to the way the film begins, you find yourself quickly connecting to John Wick and quickly wondering “just who the hell is John Wick?”. Once you get a taste of what exactly John Wick is capable of, you become increasingly engrossed in his character and supportive of the path he has decided to head down towards. The benefit of having the viewer connect with John early on means that when John begins down the path of revenge, the viewer is less concerned about his humanity and showing compassion and more about John actually making those who harmed him pay.
The action is the real highlight of the film and the element which brings all the other parts of the film together. It may have been brutally presented, but I found it so so beautiful as it handles action in such a realistic way that it becomes immensely memorable. Rarely do you see action so smartly and effectively weaved into the story and themes of a film, but John Wick does it incredibly. The actual threat of bullets are real and rather than opt to rush guns-blazing into a mass of enemies, John Wick’s thought process and analytical skills of the situation are highlighted. The action further immerses the viewer into the film by taking into the account the reality of guns and the need to reload them. John is constantly aware of his ammunition supply and is even forced to improvise when he is low on bullets and has no time to reload. As a viewer, I can’t help but respect a director who values a viewers intelligence and makes the effort to push forward realism in an action film.
More then the action being too dramatised and flashy, each move by John Wick and each bullet he fires is meaningful and has value. The style of fighting John Wick utilises is comparable to the CQC (Close Quarters Combat) of Metal Gear Solid. Seeing as I am a huge fan of the Metal Gear Solid games and my favourite video game character is The Boss, I was extremely excited to see a combat style similar to CQC in a live-action film, and done extremely well. The action exist to flesh out the story not drown it. There is another similarity with this film and Metal Gear 4 in how it begins with the focus on an event that exist near the end of the story. That constant awareness of what John’s fate will be only adds to the thrill and realism of the action throughout the film.
John Wick is easily one of my favourite films of 2014 and I highly recommend anyone looking for a smartly presented action film to see this. I would also recommend to avoid watching the trailer in favour of viewing it with a fresh and open mind. I skipped watching any trailers for this film before seeing it in the cinema, but watching the trailer after seeing the film I feel the trailer does a poor job of presenting the film and may serve to diminish the overall enjoyment anyone seeking to watch this film may have.
Enjoyment level 10/10