John Wick is a bloody, entertaining action movie that has no business being this enjoyable.

When was the last time Keanu Reeves starred in a decent movie? Last year’s 47 Ronin was an international bombshell of racist proportions that threatened to kill Keanu’s career. Now, Keanu is savagely slaughtering everyone in sight in attempt to salvage his career in this B-quality action movie.

Does this mean Keanu Reeves is back?

I'm Back

The universe has not been kind to Keanu Reeves in the new millennium. Since 2000, Keanu’s career has been virtually non-existent and completely irrelevant. While The Matrix was the role of a lifetime, it’s also been proven to be a bit of a curse—especially after The Matrix Retreads were miserable failures. The last watchable role I can recall was as the alien Klaatu in The Day the Earth Stood Still.

I wouldn’t say I like Keanu Reeves. I wouldn’t say I hate Keanu Reeves.

But he does have a unique presence and approach to acting. In a serious role, Reeves falters because all of his faults are on full display. In an appropriately cheesy and outlandish context, Keanu’s unorthodox brand of unintentional comedy works wonders to elevate an uninspired story. The Replacements will always be a guilty pleasure because of Keanu’s performance as Shane “Footsteps” Falco. And Point Break is a national treasure as a time capsule of late 80s/early 90s action movies.

Don’t mistake my praise as proclaiming John Wick a great movie. However, this movie happens to be so comically over-the-top in terms of violence that it actually becomes endearing. While it’s not for everyone, John Wick should find an audience willing to soak up mindless entertainment.

John Wick does not start off seamlessly with a bang. Well, there is a bang of sorts as Keanu’s car collides with a loading dock. One of my biggest pet peeves in film is the flash forward introduction that then travels back to present time to tell the story. It ruins all suspense. Since you know the destination, it’s difficult not to keep that in the forefront of your mind while watching the journey unfold.


If you’ve seen any trailer for John Wick, you know his wife dies (of cancer) and her last gift is an adorable puppy dog. Perhaps my biggest pet peeve is the exploitation of animals. Too often, a loving family pet dies or the threat of violence at least looms. I won’t forgive I Am Legend for that miserable attempt at tweaking the audience’s emotions. Although you see it coming a mile away in this movie, the only redeeming aspect of that animal exploitation is that is propels the story forward.

Once that unforgivable act happens, shit goes down.

Keanu is unquestionably back as he begins on his road to revenge. Along that path, roughly 83 people are murdered by either a headshot or vicious stabbing. That death count may be slightly higher or lower, but I did my best to keep count throughout the movie. And that’s just from John Wick.


The primary antagonists are the Tarasovs—father Viggo (played by Michael Nyqvist) and son Iosef (played by Alfie Allen). In my eyes, Alfie Allen will forever be the dickless wonder Theon Greyjoy, which also makes him the perfect piece of shit to fill this role as the entitled son of a mob boss. At least Viggo has the sense not to fuck with John Wick. When the victim of Iosef’s most recent attack is revealed to be John Wick, Viggo informs his son that he once saw him kill three people with a pencil.

The supporting cast around Keanu Reeves in John Wick impressively employs Willem Dafoe, Dean Winters, and Adrianne Palicki with enjoyable cameos from John Leguizamo, Ian McShane, and two veterans from The Wire, Lance Reddick and Clarke Peters. Even Diesel himself Kevin Nash makes an appearance.

With a surprisingly entertaining action story propelled by over-the-top violence, there’s enough here to overlook the obvious faults and enjoy John Wick as a dumb, B-quality movie. But couldn’t they have come up with a better title? The character’s name itself is fucking stupid and should never have been considered as the title. A more creative title might have earned the movie a half-star.

It’s just so difficult to endorse a Keanu Reeves vehicle with such a throwaway title.

But John Wick is that damn good.


3.5 out of 5 stars


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