Some people are always ready for action, just looking for an excuse to start a fight. Take John Wick for example. Wick (Keanu Reeves' best performance in years) has just lost his wife, but he's not about to go full 'Neeson' on us.
John Wick puts his particular set of skills to use when Russian gangsters kill his pet dog. In all fairness, the dog was left to him by his ailing wife, so it's understandable that he must seek vengeance - taking down the men (and women) responsible. About seventy of them.
John has put his mysterious life behind him and is dedicated to living a new, quiet life. But when his dog is beaten to death by Russian gangsters he comes out of retirement and vows revenge. They also stole his car, which probably explains why he doesn't stop killing at say, fifty Russian gangsters? Who's counting anyway?
He isn't particularly sociable either. Great news for the audience, because Keanu is able to tap into the 'strong, silent type' of his onscreen persona. Loosely translated - his limited acting range is never truly tested. The group's young leader is played by Alfie Allen (Theon Greyjoy from Game of Thrones), who nabs himself another meaty role here. At least said meat stays intact in this one.
John wastes no time at all and the fight sequences come thick and fast. The moody greys of Wick's world are brought to life by exquisite visual artistry, courtesy of co-directors Chad Stahelski and David Leitch, who make good use of their background in stunt work. It's intoxicating stuff, and as always, Reeves fully immerses himself in the physical challenges of the role. The outcome might be obvious but this plot-light action fix still feels like a breath of fresh air.
John Wick is tight and compact, hinting at a world we want to explore at greater length. His background, of which we only catch a glimpse, adds layers of intrigue a sequel would surely satisfy. Not only that, Wick's world drowns in honour and conduct and is all the more compelling for it.