Friday, April 1, 2016

John Wick

Year 8, Day 92 - 4/1/96 - Movie #2,292

BEFORE: Well, the original plan was to be deep into the Batman films by now, so that I could pick an animated one with the Joker in it for April Fool's Day - so much for that plan.  This is why I need to keep the schedule somewhat flexible and not plan too far ahead at one time, because then the addition of extra films to the skeleton-like schedule then pushes things too far from their targets.  Like right now the film I want to watch on Mother's Day is still about two positions away, but I've got like 3 films in mind that could play on premium cable between now and then, which I'm holding possible open slots for, I just need for two of them to come through - heck, even one would work, I can always take a day off.

Willem Dafoe carries over from "XXX: State of the Union", and after this I'm done with spies and crime films (at least until I can link to the Liam Neeson chain) and getting ready for some superhero action.  

THE PLOT:  An ex-hitman comes out of retirement to track down the gangsters that took everything from him.

AFTER:  Between the "XXX" films and this one, which both feature a variety of classic cars and a lot of shooting, I'm getting that old itch to play "Grand Theft Auto" again - after I mastered "GTA 3" and "GTA: Vice City", two of the best video-games ever, I got halfway through "GTA: San Andreas" before giving up, and never even started "GTA 4" or "GTA 5".  My wife's going on a business trip next week, I think it might be time for me to go back to Liberty City and kick some ass again.  I can probably get through GTA3 in a weekend if I buckle down.

This is another film in the style of "Taken", where a professional agent or hitman has been out of that life for several years, and then gets dragged back in when his life or his family is threatened.  Here Wick runs into members of the Russian mob, and they work him over when they steal his car, and it just so happens that one is the son of his former employer, a man he did a lot of contract killings for in the past.  This allows him to have enough knowledge of the organization to get revenge, but having these prior connections seems a lot like a coincidental short-cut for the screenwriters to take advantage of.  A few references to a past we haven't seen, bing bang, and we've got enough a character with both the skills and motivation to go on a revenge-filled killing spree.  

There are no fancy gadgets here that spread biological toxins, no villains with plans for world domination, just a guy killing evil people.  That seems like both a positive and a negative, for while the story seems very realistic, it doesn't feel as big somehow as a Bond-style action film.  But there is an insight into the world of contract killers, which includes a hotel that specifically caters to them (providing medical service and supplies as needed) and also a look at the underground "cleaning crew" that takes care of things when you kill the entire hit squad that comes to your home to take you out.  I suppose it would be a bit unrealistic for one man to dispose of 12 bodies by himself - something they never teach you in hit-man school.   

Also starring Keanu Reeves (last seen in "A Walk in the Clouds"), Michael Nyqvist (last seen in "Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol"), Alfie Allen (last seen in "The Other Boleyn Girl"), Adrianne Palicki (last seen in "Legion"), Bridget Moynihan (last seen in "The Recruit"), Dean Winters (last seen in "Conspiracy Theory"), Ian McShane (last seen in "Scoop"), John Leguizamo (last seen in "Moulin Rouge"), David Patrick Kelly (last seen in "Wild at Heart"), Lance Reddick (last seen in "White House Down"), Omer Barnea, Toby Leonard Moore, Daniel Bernhardt, Clarke Peters, Randall Duk Kim, with a cameo from Kevin Nash (last seen in "Rock of Ages").

RATING: 5 out of 10 stitches


  1. I must agree with you that GTA Vice City and GTA III are some of the greatest games ever. Still TIE Fighter tops my list, with Dark Forces coming in second. I didn't care for San Andreas as much, mostly because requirements for silly things like clothing shopping, haircuts and eating. It felt more like barbie dress up at times.

  2. I'm definitely going back to GTA3 this weekend. There are also two other games set in the worlds of GTA3 and Vice City - Liberty City Stories and Vice City Stories. All 4 games are fun without getting bogged down by making the characters eat and shop for clothing.