Keanu Reeves returns with “John Wick”

“John Wick” might not be the most complicated movie to be released this year, but it is one of the most satisfying.

Surprisingly refreshing in its simplicity, Reeve’s latest contribution to movie goers is well worth the cost of admission. Primarily because it doesn’t try and break the mold of the action genre that audiences have grown used to. If anything, it’s a story that we’ve heard and seen before. A former villain is pulled out of retirement to address an injustice done to him by meeting out vengeance and violence until he disposes of whoever caused his retirement to end. Sounds familiar right? This is the basis of “John Wick’s” storyline. And, oddly enough, it is this straight forward no nonsense approach that is the films greatest positive.

Going hand in hand with the movies simplistic approach is an abundance of action and combat. While the writers and directors may have skimped a bit on the film’s storyline and plot, they certainly did not cut any corners when it comes to the fighting sequences. Filled to the brim with copious amounts of gun fights and hand to hand combat, this is where the movie manages to keep audiences on the edge of their seats. Reeves reminds us all within the first half hour of this flick that, while we might not always like hearing him speak, we do like seeing him fight. With fight choreography including Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Judo and Tae Kwan Do, it is the fighting that makes the movie such a hit with moviegoers.

Working alongside Reeves we see amazing character work from actors Willem Dafoe, Ian McShane and Lance Reddick. Sadly, some of the other castings fell well below acceptable levels, but this is to be expected.

One example comes in the form of Iosef Tarasov, played by Alfie Allen. The majority of people will recognize Allen from his work on “Game Of Thrones,” where he plays the easily despised Theon Greyjoy. Sadly, he is more convincing in this role than he is playing Tarasov, the young man who is Wicks target throughout the beginning of the movie. A poor Russian accent combined with an overly shallow character makes Allen tremendously boring throughout his moments of screen time. This is slightly made up for with his characters father, Viggo Tarasov, but not by much. Tarasov, played by Michael Nyqvist, is relatively competent in his role as a Russian crime boss, but his performance waxes and wanes as the movie goes.

Regardless of questionable casting, “John Wick” was a pleasant surprise and marks Reeve’s return to the good graces of audiences worldwide. Hopefully this marks the beginning of a new career path for Reeves and we can go back to enjoying his films, and not cringing whenever we see his name connected with some outlandishly awful bid budget Hollywood nightmare. Since this formula has worked so well with “John Wick,” directors and producers should take note of the things that this film did correctly and plan accordingly for Reeve’s next flick.