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He Said, She Said Review Site

John Wick

What She said:


Keanu Reeves is back at it again, giving life to totally stoic characters that have about as much charm as sandpaper. In John Wick, he plays the title role. The character is not particularly complex, vengeful, and does not elicit much of an emotional attachment. But the movie is less about character development than it is a show for stylized violence.  John Wick will probably resonate best with teenaged boys, but for me it was visually exhausting and mentally numbing.

John Wick

John is a man dealing with a lot of loss. His beloved wife has just died after a bout of illness, and some carjacking gangster thugs beat him up, took his Mustang, and killed his dog. Turns out, John has a very low boiling point. That's because he's actually a retired hitman who is a little bit nuts...scratch that, a lot bit nuts. Soooo, the carjackers/dog killers messed with the wrong fella.

These recent developments are simply more than John can stand for and so he decides to seek out revenge. He wants to kill the kid who murdered his dog specifically--the son of a prominent gangster--and plans to pretty much wipe out the entire group as well. He will stop at nothing, and that means that we have a very high body count in this film. I mean ridiculously high. As John avenges his dog's death, and gets some sort of therapy as they attempts to cope with the passing of his wife, we get to watch all kinds of over-stylized kung-fu, pistol whipping, throat-cutting casualties.

If you're not really into the assassin action genre, you're probably going to react to this film the same way that I did. You'll cocoon yourself in a protective shell of desensitization in an attempt to shield yourself from the blood and violence. With no actual compelling plot to drive this film forward, it feels like its tires spin for most of the hour and a half. I basically just took to daydreaming as I watched fight sequence after fight sequence unfold on screen. Unfortunately, the annoyingly loud and thumping music kept distracting me from my mental escape, and assured that I would certainly not be able to catch a nap during the film.

John Wick

If there's one good thing that I can say about John Wick, it's that it's visually unique. The cinematography is nice, and does as much as possible to try to make the on-screen events interesting to watch. Unfortunately, to me it could not make up for the stagnancy of the plot and the boring nature of the incessant killing.

The acting in this film is meh. I cannot complain too much, because honestly, the actors here are not given too much to work with. John is probably the only character with any real depth, and even he is not fully developed. Keanu Reeves doesn't do much to blow viewers away, delivering his lines with the same one dimensional monotone voice that we have come to expect from him.

According to Rotten Tomatoes, the critics actually really liked this movie. Maybe I'm just too much of a chick, but I cannot agree. I was bored senseless watching John Wick and was actually relieved when it was over.

Thumbs down.

John Wick

What He said:

John Wick

I’m not spoiling anything by saying this, because it’s scattered throughout the marketing for this movie, but this is a revenge story about a man who lost his dog. Not just any man either, but a retired hitman. So when he gets his revenge, you know it’s going to have a little more flair than the average guy.

John Wick (Keanu Reeves) used to work for the Russian mob, but he’s a different man now. He’s retired, married, and very happy – for now at least. His wife suddenly dies one day, leaving him broken. His wife was sick for a little while and I think she knew she was going to pass, so she got him one last gift to remember her by.

One day, after her funeral, John gets a package. It’s a dog. A puppy in fact. There’s a note attached to the package saying something about how she wanted him to have something to love to help him grieve the loss of her. She clearly did not expect to make it and was concerned about his well-being.

John has an encounter with the someone who happens to be the son of his former employer. Imagine someone who is a brat and times that by about 1000; due to the fact that his daddy is the head of a local crime family. This guy thinks he is untouchable and sneaks into John’s house in the middle of the night. He trashes the place, steals his car, and…kills the dog. Not a lot of movies go there, but standard movie rules go out the window when a movie is Rated-R.  John spends the rest of the movie trying to find this punk and get his revenge. Due to the fact that he’s the son of a very powerful man, there are a lot of men between John and Iosef (the son). This means a high body count.

John Wick

That’s pretty much it as far as the story goes. It’s not much, but that’s pretty much what I expected based on the previews. Plus, it’s a revenge movie and there isn’t always a lot to them. I was prepared for a thin story, lots of action, 8and high body count.

The problem is I found the movie to be pretty boring. The action was very matter-of-fact. There was no emotion to it. John Wick simply strolls through the movie and easily mows through his adversaries. Nothing was hard for him. If you know anything about me, you now I a pretty lenient if I like something. I do not hide that I am willing to forgive a lot, but one thing I can’t forgive is a boring action movie. There’s no tension or drama to perfectly choreographed fight scenes. It doesn’t look real, it doesn’t feel real, and it kills any sense of tension.

I didn’t think the acting was all that great either. I was happy to hear that critics liked this movie. I like Keanu Reeves, but he hasn’t had a hit in a while. I was happy to see him catch a break with this movie’s success. He was actually fine. John Wick was not a deep character, but that’s not on him and I didn’t have an issue with his performance at all. But he was just about the one that was any good. The two actors who played the mob boss (this guy particularly) and his kid were pretty bad. Their performances came off as amateur. Adrianne Palicki was pretty bad too. She played one of the hitman (is it hitwoman in this case?) hired by the mob boss to kill John. Her performance was the definition of trying too hard. She was trying to be funny and confident, but it simply came off as a rookie going out of his way, and failing, to impress the rest of the team. She was like the new kid in class who tries to be funny and gets no reaction other than dead silence. Willem Dafoe was also in it. He played another hitman who might have been John’s mentor.

I was so disappointed in this movie. I wanted to like it, I was ready to like it, but I didn’t like it. I struggle through it. The only thing I liked about it was the puppy, which was absolutely adorable.

Rating: Thumbs down.

This review was written for your reading pleasure on February 12, 2015.