What You Need To Know:
JOHN WICK is a fast-paced, mayhem-filled movie that will likely satisfy action audiences and fans of Reeves. However, after some clever touches in the first half that invent a stylized New York City underworld of hotels and nightclubs that cater to criminals, the movie winds up devolving into repetitive mayhem and brutality. JOHN WICK is too reliant on strong violence and foul language.
(PaPaPa, B, LLL, VVV, S, N, A, DD, MMM) Very strong pagan worldview in a hyper-violent action movie about a retired hitman who goes on a rampage against his former employers in the Russian mob when the mob leader’s son steals his car and kills his dog, with strong theme of revenge and characters try to get whatever they want by any means necessary, some brief morally uplifting content involving hero’s wife, who dies of cancer in the opening scenes; at least 107 obscenities (including many “f” words) and profanities; very strong violence includes non-stop fights involving shootings, stabbings, punching, kicking, beating with a pipe, throwing bodies over ledges and through glass doors, a battle royale of punching, kicking, flipping and throwing in a hotel room between hero and a provocatively dressed female assassin, several battles while driving with reckless racing and smashing into each other and crashing, and an out-of-focus long shot of man beating dog with metal pipe; no depicted sex, though some attractive women are seen in bikinis flirting with bad men who are shirtless and it becomes obvious they are lovers; upper male nudity and some women in provocative outfits or bikinis; wanton drinking by bad guys in a couple of club scenes and hero also uses alcohol to help disinfect wounds he incurs; smoking, brief marijuana use in one scene and a quick shot of a bad guy doing cocaine; very strong miscellaneous immorality includes revenge, lying, betrayals, placing paid contracts on the heads of people to be murdered by hitmen for money, and a criminal son disrespects his father, who winds up allowing him to be murdered easily.
JOHN WICK is a hyper-violent action thriller about a retired hitman who goes on a rampage against his former employers in the Russian mob when the mob leader’s son steals his car and kills his dog. JOHN WICK has a strong pagan worldview due to the anything-goes attitude in its characters, who try to get whatever they want by any means necessary.
The movie follows a former hitman named John Wick, who was the most ruthless hitman in New York City’s Russian mob. He’s been retired and living a quiet married life for five years when his wife dies of cancer in the opening scenes. Shortly after her funeral, he gets a delivery of a puppy that his wife arranged to send him posthumously to help him recover from grief.
Yet, one day when he drives out in his favorite car with the puppy, a young Russian sees his car and tries to force him to sell it. When he refuses, he finds that three intruders enter his house that night, beat him severely, beat the dog to death (implied off-screen) and steal the car.
The thugs didn’t realize they have crossed the line with the wrong man. The rest of the movie features Reeves doing what he did in the MATRIX movies – getting the bad guys in a variety of methods from shootings to stabbings to martial arts, as he tries to kill all the men responsible for the crimes against him. At the same time, after he burns a vault filled with the mob’s money and secrets, the mob leader puts a $2 million, then a $4 million open bounty on his head. The bounty puts Wick constantly on the run both in pursuit of the bad guys as well as away from them.
JOHN WICK is a fast-paced, mayhem-filled movie that will likely satisfy action audiences and the long-starved fans of Reeves, who has largely been off the Big Screen for the past six years. However, after some clever touches in the first half that invent a stylized New York City underworld of hotels and nightclubs that cater to criminals, the movie winds up devolving into repetitive mayhem and brutality, culminating in a half-baked and unimaginative man-to-man battle scene.
As for himself, Reeves alternates between cool calm and a surprisingly effective anger drive. Thus, he manages to hold the screen in compelling fashion for most of the movie. Willem Dafoe is fun to watch in a few scenes as a hitman whose motives are ultra-mysterious throughout most of the story until a surprise twist.
The music in JOHN WICK is propulsive and loud and suits the scenes of John Wick chasing baddies through innovative locations like super-crowded nightclubs. Also, the director knows how to stage fight scenes very well. Ultimately, however, JOHN WICK is too gruesomely violent and lacking in real emotion that it becomes hard to care for its lead character. If you can’t root for the lead, why is he even there?
JOHN WICK has some impressive action sequences, but it’s too weakly plotted and too reliant on strong violence and foul language to give a favorable review. Extreme caution is warranted.