There is something about a man lying, bleeding on the streets on a dark night, and watching his beloved wife call out to him lovingly on his cell phone camera.
There is something special about him when he wakes up daily to a little, cute beagle. The same, gifted to him by the beloved wife to help him grieve over her death.
There is something appealing about his deep unrest and anguish when drives his black 1969 Mustang around like a mad man burning in helplessness. After all he is an ex hitman who has sworn off anything bad or wrong.
A speeding swanky car, a dead wife, an adorable dog and a wounded, grieving ex gangster who happens to be The Matrix’s Neo, none other than the cool and sexy Keanu Reeves. Add to that, an image that creates fear and fascination. The name: John Wick.
There is an undoubted adrenalin rush in the blood spilling out of this premise; hard to resist.
So when some rich young Russian brat steals his precious Mustang and kills the dog gifted by his dead wife, you know that it is the ultimate death wish.
When John Wick is someone referred to, in hushed tones, as “he was the guy you called to kill the bogeyman”, by the rich young brat’s father, Wick’s ex mafia Russian boss (Michael Nyqvist); it gets even better.
And indeed this scarier and angrier man than boogeyman gets his long buried guns and shining knives out.
Hell hath no fury like a man whose dog is killed.
Soon there are a few dead bodies lying around on his house floor. When a cop comes calling at night and sees the wreck, he asks casually, ”you working again?” Wick shrugs and replies, “Sorting some stuff out”. The cop bids him good night and walks away.
John Wick is back in the world of crime.
The rest is of course stylised action, gun mayhem that match videogames, the popular as always car chases, a regular Russian villain, a loyal old time friend (Willem Dafoe), a killer of a lady and a dapper and a black suited and scarred Keanu Reeves.
This is one neat retro action flick with slickly choreographed neck breaking scenes thrown in, with the ease of a confident handshake.
An amusing and polite hotel manager is the only light break in the otherwise minimal dialogue, maximum fight film. A neon lit nightclub chase of the victim in a towel, aided by the right soundtrack, is perfect in its killing spree tempo buildup.
There is plenty for all types of audiences: dog lovers, video game addicts, gun fanatics, the car crazy and of course, Keanu Reeves fans.
If nothing else, there is always something about a long shot of a wounded guy walking with a dog, down a rainy street, into the dark night.