IHAO on ... John Wick

The best thing about genre films is that they have certain rules they tend to follow.  And then what makes those films great are the little things.  The little extra miles, the little extra details, the little bits.  I cling to those things in film.  My favorite films tend to be genre films that focus on the little things.  Pain & Gain, Labyrinth, Snatch, Robocop ... and John Wick could easily join that group of favorites.

John Wick does so many things right, I hate to talk about any of them.  It is another first time director, though he has done a LOT of second unit and more importantly a lot of stunt work.  He was Keanu's stunt double in a lot of films, in fact.  And it is a very new writer as well, who wrote a very fun script filled with nice ideas and just fantastic scenes and fun dialogue.  The action in this film is incredible.  Some action films are gorefests, but the violence, while prevalent, is not the focus.  The character and his quest, that is what this film cares about, while giving you thrilling but never disturbing action ... except for one sequence very early on.  One heartwrenching sequence that is making me cry this second thinking about it again, even though it has been hours since I watched the movie, and I cried multiple times in theater watching the film and talking about it after because of this sequence.

The action is phenomenal.  And you see Keanu doing a LOT of it.  A lot of the driving, most of the fighting and gun play, is all Keanu, which adds legitimacy to the film and makes it all the more awesome.  On top of that, there are so many tiny acting choices that Keanu makes that elevate what could just be a simple revenge action film and makes it even better.  And it isn't just Keanu.  This film is stacked with great actors: Ian McShane, Michael Nyqvist, Willam Dafoe, Daniel Bernhardt, Kevin Nash, John Leguizamo, Lance Reddick!  Basically, every single role in the film is filled with a great actor, or a legitimate one at least.  And all of them bring that little extra to the table.

The story here is a simple one: John Wick has had his entire life come to a halt when the woman he loves dies of disease.  He gets hope through a simple gift, but an entitled mafia kid ruins all of that, not knowing who John Wick is.  And John Wick spends the rest of the film getting his revenge.

I ... loved this movie.  It is the best straight action movie I've seen this year, hands down.  I implore everyone to see it, action fan or not, because it is a great movie.  It has a hard to sit through moment in the beginning, which I feel was an earned one in the script, but hard to sit through nonetheless.  Damn it, I'm crying again.  Stupid emotional action movie filled with great everything from music to shots to storyboards to acting to direction to editing to EVERY THING IN THIS MOVIE IS GREAT!

Grade: A+++

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