John Wick (2014)

Keanu Reeves was miscast in this movie. It's a shame that he was, as he actually does a good job with his role in what is otherwise a very good action movie. The story is very simple, so there isn't much to go wrong with it, and action movies of this kind are fairly easy to plot out from a camerawork perspective. Really, there isn't much to make this movie stand out, and that's why pretty much no one has ever heard of it.

The actual fight choreography is the reason to show up and watch this movie. It's not Tony Jaa in Ong Bak kind of fighting, but it is its own way of doing things the right way. Keanu does most of the fighting using guns, and his gunplay is very good - nearly at the level of Tom Cruise in Collateral - but probably more in line with The Way of the Gun. The quick moves and rapid acquisition of fresh targets is stellar, but it is combined with a systematic finishing off of opponents that most action movies never get around to. He puts a man down, engages the next guy, and he never forgets to go back and put a finishing round in the head of the first guy. The movements that he uses are fluid and organic, and the effect makes for a series of exceptionally entertaining scenes.

There are places where the near God-like ability to dispatch enemies is sorely tested for no good reason. There's a point at which he sets up a trap, and he springs it by... walking straight at them with guns blazing. We are told about how fierce he is, and we witness his extreme abilities, but he only sometimes uses tactics that will even tip the odds in his favor. This is the kind of sloppy script that detracts from the otherwise enjoyable romp through extremely precise action.

I thought about who might have been better in the lead role, and my mind immediately went to Statham, but I think the style of action would have been adapted to Jason's fighting style, and that would have made it a less enjoyable movie. Is it possible that Keanu was actually the best choice for the film, and my concerns over his rather wooden delivery of most of his lines are baseless?

I find myself wholeheartedly recommending a movie that I think might not - in the grand scheme of things - be very good. What does that say about me or the way I look at entertainment? This movie was enjoyable, it was well shot, it was artistic in spots, it was action packed, and the story existed only to make the action scenes make sense. What's not to like? It's an action movie, for crying out loud.

Acting was good enough
Effects were good
Action was exceptional
Story was not great, but not the worst
Dialogue was okay

Bottom Line: One of the best action movies of 2014. Who'd have thought?

4.0/5

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