The Legend of The Baba Yaga strikes fear in all of those he comes in contact with. He is a man of conviction, is set in his ways but willing to walk away from a situation if he wants to. The Baba Yaga makes his own rules, unless he is staying at the famed Continental, otherwise, he abides by those rules… for now. You may ask how do you unretire an assassin who left the life to start a family? You make one hell of a mistake and pay for it with your life. We are living in a time called the Keanussance of Keanu Reeves and what a resurgence this man has had. Its Keanu’s world and we all are just living it while watching this man thrive as an assassin. It pains me to say that I missed this one in theaters, looking back I was so naïve and not the huge movie fan I am today. I absolutely made up for it and was blown away by not only the film itself but by Keanu’s training videos. Have Y’all seen those videos on social media? I mean he was born for this role and it’s my belief that there are certain actors and actresses who were born to play certain roles. Keanu has 3: Ted, Neo & John Wick.
John Wick is an assassin who meets a woman and decides to leave the only life he knew. Unfortunately, His wife Helen gets sick and passes away only to leave John with one last gift; a beagle puppy named Daisy. While John is running errands with Daisy, a man named Iosef offers to buy the 69’ Mustang but gets declined. Iosef and a couple friends break into John’s house, beat him up and commit such a crime that it’s hard to even write about. The men bring the stolen car to a chop shop only to get their service refused by the owner Aurelio. Aurelio calls Iosef’s father Viggo and informs Viggo of what his son just did and to whom, a man Viggo used to employ with the nickname ‘Baba Yaga’. Viggo sends men to kill John Wick but the order proves to be unsuccessful as John is prepared for any situation that gets in his way of justice. John goes to stay at the hotel known to house the criminal underworld, The Continental where ‘business’ cannot be conducted on hotel grounds.
Viggo (Michael Nyqvist) looks to employ John’s (Keanu Reeves) mentor Marcus (Willem Dafoe) to kill John Wick. John Gets tipped off that Iosef (Alfie Allen) is held up at a club and decides to pay him a visit. John nearly gets his man taking out a majority of his enemies but gets stopped by one of Iosef’s henchmen allowing Iosef to escape. Viggo puts a price on John’s head to anyone who is willing to break The Continental’s rules and Perkins (Adrianne Palicki) takes the shot (pun intended) but fails. John, injured, hits the Russian owned Church, and burns money, tapes, cd’s, and anything that gave Viggo blackmail power in the city. John Ambushes Viggo and his men but winds up getting captured, but Marcus saves John, breaking the contract he agreed upon with Viggo. John breaks Viggo which gives up Iosef’s location. John goes to kill Iosef and his bodyguards all over a f***ing dog. Viggo realizes Marcus helped John and broke his contract and kills Marcus in cold blood in his home. John discovers this, chases after Viggo to his helicopter and the two fight to the death. Winston (Ian McShane) figures out who broke The Continental’s rules, revoked her membership, and executes Perkins.
If there ever was a character that is so hated in film history his name would be Iosef. To kill a man’s dog after beating him up and stealing his car is the one thing to have the entire world on John Wick’s side and that’s what makes this film glorious. Now, I’m sure Alfie Allen is one of the nicest people on earth, but he sure knows how to play characters that make people hate him (Theon Greyjoy from Game of Thrones, until he redeems himself). It takes a special kind of actor to bring an audience to hate his character and Alfie possesses that skill.
We all know John Wick is the good guy, but we root for him even more to get his vengeance against those who took the last bit of hope from him. Although limited, the dialogue for John works as he comes off as more of threat to those who would go against him. Keanu pulls off that limited amount spoken with his stature and body language. He also shows his toughness by being the best at what he does. John is always prepared and aware of his surroundings and who is around him. He doesn’t need to say the most eloquent lines, his actions and skills is what makes him the most feared in the underworld.
A film like this doesn’t need to be dialogue heavy for us to sympathize with John. That doesn’t mean he’s a simple character either, he’s an extraordinarily complex person. It’s more than “just a dog” to him and those layers we see in the opening scenes really hit home because I, like I’m sure everyone else would go on a rampage if someone did that to my animals. The emotion hits you right in the gut as we suffer with him at all the loss he’s experienced in this short amount of time. The action is some of the best that’s displayed on screen and the choreography really emphasizes that action.
All the sequences are done beautifully as if you’re watching a ballet. Most action scenes with firefights can be sloppy (and there’s nothing wrong with that) but John Wick’s action scenes are so poetic and precise that it elevates the movie as a whole. I don’t think the movie works if the action sequences aren’t so tightly wound together, it’s almost hypnotizing to watch Keanu move with so much grace and cause all that carnage.
If I have any negative things to say about this first John Wick film it’s this; I want more. Now obviously all three movies have been released and we are confirmed for a fourth film and a spinoff titled “Ballerina” (it’s kind of fitting if you ask me) so seeing them is fairly easy. If you’ve only seen this first one, there is a thirst and I definitely had it, for more John Wick. There is a need to know more about the character, his relationships, the world itself and its lore and mythology, and of course the gorgeous action. I mean, come on, who doesn’t want to see Keanu rip apart a squad of men that are all trying to kill him. It’s also interesting to me that the word “Baba Yaga” doesn’t mean “Boogeyman”, it means ‘Witch that eats naughty children’, but it’s similar to the Boogeyman. We absolutely get that in the next two chapters. I can’t wait to share my thoughts on the next two film with you so, stay tuned! If I were to rate John Wick, I’d rate it a 4.4 out of 5.
So, tell me guys, have you seen John Wick and if so, what do you think about it? Do you agree or disagree with me? Comment below or send me an email and let me know what you think.
John Wick is directed by Chad Stahelski is Rated R and has an 86% on Rotten Tomatoes. John Wick was released on October 24th, 2014 and has a runtime of 1 hour and 47 minutes. John Wick can be bought online by retailers including Vudu and Itunes.
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