John Wick is a special film, a surprise to say the least. When I saw the trailer for the first time, I quickly brushed it off, knowing that it was bound to go the same route as Liam Neeson's recent filmography. I was actually a little sad when the reviews ended up being good, because that meant I had to spend money to go see it. I will tell you, it was money well spent.
I went to see it with my sister, who isn't a huge fan of violent or gory movies. She reluctantly agreed to see this movie she knew nothing about, despite a heartbreaking scene that the trailer depicted. (If you watch the trailer you'll know what I'm talking about) Caroline got great enjoyment out of the movie, giggling and wowing at the absurd, intense violence taking place at the hands of a vengeful Keanu. John Wick is an action movie at its core; it's almost too violent in that it is comically violent, like a caricature of an action movie that fictional characters in a movie or tv show would be watching within their fictional world.
The reason John Wick is so successful is because of its unapologetic simplicity. John Wick is a man we don't know much about, other than he was a hitman of some sort in a past life. The character is developed by other characters that show up who he happens to know from his past work, casually bumping into them and sharing with the audience a small peek into the "gory days" (pun intended) of when Wick was a legend in his field. Keanu's character doesn't say much throughout the movie, but his fists and guns do most of the talking anyway. The trigger to all of the mayhem (ironically the "Mayhem" All-State commercial guy is in the film) is easy to comprehend and feels justified after a series of heart-wrenching scenes which seconds into the film, strikes about a thousand emotional chords with the audience.
I think what takes this movie a step above a film like Taken is the attention to detail and care that the creators put into the cinematography, soundtrack, and the acting in the movie. The film was full of long shots, which in a True Detective-esque way, makes action scenes so much more intense. It's not full of terribly nauseating shaky cam; everything is far more intentional and is shot the way to progress the story. One of the antagonists of the movie describes John Wick as someone who has "commitment and focus", which was reflected in the choreography of the action scenes. The way that Wick even kills someone was so thorough, leaving no doubts that the guy he just shot was definitely dead.
This movie is just a super satisfying action movie with a clear beginning and end. The plot is simple, answers the questions that it asks, and tied up a very tight, simple story. Some of Keanu's dialog just sounds kinda awkward, but he's generally a pretty quiet character so it doesn't end up being a big deal. He does get some pretty great lines sprinkled in though. If you want to enjoy a movie and just watch people get the ever-loving crap beat out of them, you'll love John Wick. It's just so fun and easy to watch, while also driving emotion into the audience. It's 16 year old Will's dream action movie, and 22 year old Will doesn't have a problem with that.