Movie Review: “John Wick”

Starring
Keanu Reeves, Michael Nyqvist, Alfie Allen, Adrianne Palicki, Willem Dafoe
Directors
David Leitch & Chad Stahelski

“John Wick” is loud, as in ‘bring earplugs’ loud. It is muscle cars at full throttle, hailstorms of bullets, and shattered glass. There is an offbeat humor to it that vaguely recalls the wave of post-Tarantino crime movies of the ‘90s, but the story is a bone-straight, and therefore dull, revenge thriller. It is blood, death, and noise. There is “Keanu’s best since ‘The Matrix’” talk circling around this film. The very fact that that may be true is damning with faint praise.

Keanu Reeves plays the title character, a retired hitman who has just buried his terminally ill wife. He runs across some Russian thugs, who admire his car. They ask how much he wants for it. John tells them it’s not for sale. Later that night, the thugs break into John’s house, beat him up, steal the keys, and murder his puppy, a parting gift from his wife. The lead thug Iosef (Alfie Allen) is the son of Viggo Tarasov (Michael Nyqvist), the gangster John used to work for, and Viggo tells his son that he done screwed up good, as John’s nickname within the organization was The Boogeyman, and now The Boogeyman has lost literally everything that ever mattered to him.

If Wick worked for Iosef’s father, how is it that they have never met before, even accidentally? Even if Iosef doesn’t know of Wick, you have to think that Wick knows of Iosef, and might recognize his boss’ offspring when he sees them. It’s a lot to ask of the audience, and honestly, there is no movie otherwise. This is the part where Basil Exposition appears and tells us to just go with it. Yep, it’s that kind of movie.

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Adrianne Palicki stars in “G.I. Joe: Retaliation”

Adrianne Palicki has been breaking hearts ever since she first appeared on NBC’s football drama “Friday Night Lights,” but these days, the Ohio-born actress has been making a name for herself on the big screen with roles in action films like “Red Dawn” and the upcoming “G.I. Joe: Retaliation” as fan favorite Lady Jaye.

Though she’s a far cry from the more butch version of the character we grew up watching on the 1980s animated series, it’s not the first time that Palicki has played an iconic female warrior. Her stint as the title character on David E. Kelley’s “Wonder Woman” reboot may not have made it past the pilot stage, but if early stills from the show are any indication, it’s certainly not because the actress didn’t look the part.

It remains to be seen how her version of Lady Jaye will be received by longtime “G.I. Joe” fans, but we’re digging the updated image, which combines Palicki’s natural beauty with her tough, don’t-mess-with-me personality. In other words, she can kick ass and look good doing it.

  

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