John Wick

"John wasn't exactly the boogeyman. He's the one you sent to kill the boogeyman."    - Viggo

release year: 2014
genre: action
viewing setting: home Bluray 12/8/17 and 4/24/16 and 6/3/15 and 3/1/15

synopsis: Thugs rob some guy...who turns out to be the most dangerous retired hitman in town...retired no more.

impressions: This was about as efficient as a violent action movie can get. There was no love interest to bog things down, no reporter or whatever to chase the protagonist around and analyze what he's doing to no avail. No, this is a story about a really dangerous guy who tried and failed to have a normal life, and then when he gets pushed, there's hell to pay. Lots of violence here - a typical John Wick kill consists of either him shooting someone in the head and dropping them right away, or him shooting someone in the arm or leg then finishing them off with a head shot a couple seconds later. His hand-to-hand skills looked rusty at times, and he didn't always seem super-efficient, but since the character was grieving and distracted, I can deal with him not being at 100%.

acting: Keanu Reeves won't ever win an Oscar for dramatic performance, but here, he's just what's needed: a guy who doesn't talk much but kills a lot. Michael Nyqvist is good as the head of the Russian mafia. Alfie Allen is good as his idiotic, spoiled son who starts all this trouble. Willem Dafoe is another assassin who may or may not be Wick's friend (it's kind of cool that they never make it clear.) Adrianne Palicki is a female assassin who gets a little too daring. Ian McShane is the owner of a secret hotel for assassins, one that comes with its own unusual rules. Lance Reddick is that hotel's clerk, also an interesting minor character.

activation point: 16:20 - this is when it becomes clear that someone's going to pay

body count: 77 confirmed kills (70 by John Wick, 7 by others)

"haven't I seen that actor before?" instance #1: David Patrick Kelly, perhaps best known for being "let go" in Commando, shows up at 33:15 the head of a group of cleaners here

"haven't I seen that actor before?" instance #2: Kevin Nash, aging wrestler and one-time Punisher opponent, has a brief but humorous appearance at 47:00, as a bouncer outside a nightclub that Wick is about to attack

final word: Stylish, efficient action movie.

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