John Wick (2014): Keanu Reeves Is Invincible Except Without Slow Motion This Time

That’s it. That’s basically it.

But I really enjoyed it. I mean, a retired hit man (Keanu Reeves) who decides to get back into the game and hunt down his ex-contractor after his wife’s death and is still really good at what he does and is so good his name is basically a pass to anywhere.

Okay, it looked like your typical action movie. Not much plot or character, just powpowpowpowpow and BOOM! And maybe some cool music.

This is also the first rated R movie I’ve watched in theaters. Being able to watch R movies is the reason why I was excited to turn seventeen.

I enjoy action movies quite a bit, especially those with cool effects and intense choreography. John Wick (directed by David Leitch and Chad Stahelski) had both and also some cool explosions. But mostly cool choreography with the invincible Keanu Reeves and the stunts people (whom I really admire–stunts are scary).

However, despite all the very, very impressive special effects and Keanu Reeves’ amazing ability to be invincible even without slow motion, I enjoyed characterization the most, particularly the one of Viggo Tarasov (Michael Nyvqvist), the head of the Russian crime circle in New York, or something like that. He’s a big name in the New York crime ring.

It wasn’t anything extremely deep or meaningful or philosophical, but it was interesting. And it had more depth than your typical action movie character, which usually contains a name and a face that doesn’t seem so important. Not so much with Viggo.

Here he is.

Viggo knows that when his son has stole John Wick’s car and killed his dog, things are going to be bad. Throughout the entire movie, it seems very apparent that Viggo knows that he is screwed, whether he sends one or one hundred of his men after the infamous John Wick.

Other than Viggo, I felt like all the characters in the movie felt human. They felt like real people, rather than just props in the background for movie casualties or nameless faces in the crowd. Sure, there were a lot of nameless security guards, but the ones that had even just one line seemed more human. They seemed like characters, however minor.

My theory is that they were all portrayed as, to some degree, selfish. In an understandable way, like wanting to not die and not having utmost loyalty to their boss when their life is in danger. See, and you may disagree with me all you want, I believe that all humans are inherently selfish and it is a part of human nature. John Wick shows that selfish part of humans and I find that more illuminating than most movies who don’t really like to show that part.

Now going into detail about that selfishness will start to leak into spoilers, so I’ll avoid that for now. I’ll just say that it has to do with Viggo and his son, Ioseph (Alfie Allen).

And here is Viggo and his son. I feel like this will give off an inaccurate portrayal of what their relationship is, but it is a crucial moment.

However, I don’t think this should be mistaken for character development. I didn’t really see much development was a character. None of these characters were particularly deep or complex. They were just established, and understandable.

Yes, this is a movie where most characters would probably be static, but that doesn’t mean there can’t be development. What I’m trying to get at is that characters don’t have to change to develop, but John Wick does not develop its characters. These characters are given one angle, and they go with it for the rest of the movie. They have a consistent, but not exactly well-rounded character.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that. This is much better than the nameless and faceless people of most action movies. Or rather, two-dimensional people with only a name and a face. And I’m pretty sure the point of John Wick was not to make people question the philosophical meaning of life, although you could if you wanted to, I guess.

Conclusion: With thrilling action scenes and impressive choreography, the invincible Keanu Reeves makes John Wick an enjoyable ride for the audience, throwing in more than just a little pleasant surprise with the establishment of characters and simple but captivating plot line. 7/10.

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