When more than one of us has strong feelings about a film, we’ll present both sides.  Our ultimate mark is an average of our review scores. Here are dueling reviews for John Wick:

Justin:

I’ll probably get shot in the face for saying this, but John Wick rates a big fat “meh”. There was nothing bad about it, but nothing great either. You can find better fighting, gunplay, car chases, vengeance, cool characters, badass villains, plot, dialogue, etcetera elsewhere.  Its only chance at glory would have been to fully embrace the clichés and take them to the next level. But that opportunity died out quickly.

Many action movies have slow parts. But if I’m yawning during a fighting scene, then something isn’t right. The Russian mafia fodder guys got the same treatment: a couple of punches followed by a bullet to the head. And the bodycount is so high that tedium sets in.

Korea does revenge flicks WAY better. I’m off to watch Oldboy again to wash the Wick out of my mouth.

johnWick2

Tim:

John Wick is the kind of stylishly satisfying action film that we don’t get often enough.  Imagine Tony Scott having directed Taken and you’re halfway there.  The action is over the top and intensely choreographed, celebrating the Gun-Fu style promoted by films like Equilibrium and the Matrix.  Gun fights are rarely carried out at a range larger than a few feet, making the audience connect with the action much more profoundly than in typical action fare.  Surprisingly, the film is as humorous as it is visceral, eliciting as many laughs as it does cringes.  I wasn’t expecting the B-Movie tone, but the film carries it proudly and to great effect.

Keanu Reeves is cool and calculated as John Wick, speaking very softly and carry many large boom-sticks.  He carries the emotion of the character well and his physicality as an actor is demonstrated in the many amazing action sequences.  He plays Wick like the lead character in a video game, coldly working his way through unnamed (and often faceless) baddies, building up to the ultimate confrontations with the few named and known villains in the story.  It’s hard to fault the film for its large number of shallow undefined characters because, let’s face it, it doesn’t really matter.  This is a straight up revenge tale, and John Wick dishes out revenge in spades.

My only real issue is with the less-than-satisfying ending. There are so many great set-ups and set pieces earlier in the film that by the time we get to the “finale”, it simply can’t live up to the expectations that have been set.  It’s too bad, because the ending sucks a bit of the overall satisfaction from the film.  There is certainly a feeling of final vindication, but an air of sadness remains, even while the all-too-abrupt conclusion is likely supposed to appeal to the audiences hope for fulfillment and redemption.

John Wick is an easy recommendation for action fans, but it’s nothing revelatory in the genre.  It’s well made and entertaining throughout, which is more than we get from many films these days.

Rated R for shooting literally everyone in the face

John Wick Review
Consensus: Good, but not great. Stylish, but repetitive. Still recommended.
Storytelling4.5
Craftsmanship7.5
Performances6.3
Satisfaction6.5
The Good
  • Stylish, Visceral Action Sequences
  • B-Movie Sensibilities
The Bad/Ugly
  • Doesn't Stand out within Genre
  • Can become repetitive
  • Weak Ending
6.2Our Average
Reader Rating: (0 Votes)
0.0

About The Author

By day I’m a producer/director at a video game development studio. By night, I’m… um… yeah, i’m usually just a more tired producer/director at a video game development studio. BUT, by weekend I’m a husband, father, and critic of all things.

  • http://mastercritic.com/ Tim

    My fingers are crossed for a sequel that focuses on the Continental, the secret “safe-house” hotel where hit-men (and women) can let their guard down because “business” isn’t allowed to be conducted within the hotel.

    I’d pay good money for a prequel too, based on all the teases we got to John Wick’s history.

    • Justin

      *SPOILER* For the sequel, I’d like the owner of the replacement dog he stole to (amazingly!) also be an international assassin and come after Wick with a great vengeance.

      • http://mastercritic.com/ Tim

        Ah, interesting. I actually assumed that was a shelter and the dogs were all orphaned. I really like your setup for the next film though – that would be awesome.