Keanu Reeves has taken flack from critics and movie goers alike for his acting. I have to agree with some of the criticism, he is neither a good method nor character actor. However, Reeves is often noted for saying this of himself and justifiably asking the general public if he needed to be a good character actor for his roles in Speed and the Matrix Trilogy. I’m sure the millions of dollars he acquired in the process somewhat distracts from any criticism.
That said, Reeves is perfectly cast for this role – a retired hit man who comes out of retirement to exact revenge on some dangerous folks who wronged him in the worst way. Reeves owns this film from opening to close. And it works well for him since we don’t expect the character to be emotional, just driven, focused, mechanical and to believably pull off action scene after action scene. That seems to be his niche, an action man – light on the dialogue, heavy on scowling, beating the shit out of bad guys and dodging bullets.
If you can get past the plot holes in the first 20 minutes as they set up the revenge fest, you’ll likely enjoy the non-stop action that follows. There were some twists in the plot brilliantly executed by Willem DaFoe, as a double-dealing hit man and Michael Nyqvist, as a ruthless Russian crime lord.
Dialogue, while not the focus, was well-done bordering on the composed-cool, dark-comedy variety found in Pulp Fiction. Me and my fellow movie-goers found ourselves surprisingly laughing out loud.
Stunts were extremely well-choreographed, making the now 50-year old Reeves come across like a super badass. I’m not sure who did the stunt direction and coaching but they did an excellent job.
No one in this film will be nominated for any award, but if you’re in the mood for smack-down action, John Wick is good watch.