PDA

View Full Version : John Wick (Chad Stahelski)



Henry Gale
10-23-2014, 02:28 AM
http://media.aintitcool.com/media/uploads/2014/horrorella/johnwick_huge.jpg

IMDb (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2911666/) / Wiki (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Wick_%28film%29) / Letterboxd (http://letterboxd.com/film/john-wick/)

TGM
10-23-2014, 02:31 AM
Really looking forward to this one out of nowhere.

Henry Gale
10-23-2014, 03:12 AM
Really fun, maybe equally dumb, but luckily not generic enough to make it unremarkable.

The action is the biggest and best thing it has going for it, since it just oozes the right sort of propulsion and some jaw dropping, laugh-out-loud (mainly from sheer shock and awe) moments. There's also the less present unexpectedly goofy streak that still weirdly fits its otherwise very self-serious protagonist and overall feel. The initial moment of the bad guy being informed of the inciting incident that sets off the rest of the movie is just a beautifully played bit of humour by Nyqvist (completely making up for every moment missed out by his mostly-deleted villain in Ghost Protocol). The whole theatre erupted there, and I think that was the moment I knew I was pretty on-board with whatever it had in store next.

The Red Circle scene right in the middle is probably the overall highlight and the peak of the action's impact, proving once again that apparently any time an action writer / director chooses to set a massive showdown in a nightclub, it tends to be effortlessly arresting, but there enough other scenes that come close to equaling it along the way.

If you're going to go out for a no-frills, nostalgic actioner, Adam Wingard's The Guest is absolutely the more artistically, viscerally satisfying and forward thinking piece of "Insanely physically-skilled killing-machine wreaks havoc in glorious ways" cinema currently being theatrically exhibited. And maybe that's not exactly fair since The Guest is easily one of my favourite movies of the year, and Wick isn't even my favourite thing I've seen in the last two days -- That victory goes to Ghibli & Takahata's gooooorgeous Tale of the Princess Kaguya -- but together both of them would elevate each other to becoming even more awesome as two halves of a double feature, all the way down to them both featuring Lance Reddick in key supporting roles (and here, also Clarke Peters(!), coming oh-so-close to but not quite crossing paths with Reddick). Wick might have the more uniquely kinetic action, but Wingard's film has just about everything else going for it. So I'd say definitely see that instead if you get the chance, but settling for this will still find its ways of making for a worthy time to the theatre.

People will often annoyingly sling the word "pretentious" at a movie that they likely aren't giving enough credit to for simply having out-of-the-box ideas and unusual ambitions, kinda sullying it as a word which I don't like using in any form of review, but John Wick might succeed simply because it could very well be one of the least pretentious movie I've seen in while, and within those boundaries, it knows exactly what it wants to do, and whaddya know, it manages to do it all just solidly enough, even if it never really grabs ahold of a great story or finds an ending that lives up to the energetic highs of the rest.

*** / 6.8

Pop Trash
10-23-2014, 04:48 PM
This is getting surprisingly decent reviews.

Watashi
10-23-2014, 10:07 PM
I would say it's getting better than "decent" reviews.

Henry Gale
10-23-2014, 10:32 PM
The Tomato-meter is remarkably at 92%, but the actual average rating of its Top Critics is at 6.4/10, and its Metacritic score is more suitably in the high 60's right now, and to me that's a much more well-adjusted expectation to go in with.

But individual opinions should always be the way to gauge, so I definitely know where I sit on it to contrast. (The better end of the middle.) To me, it's an efficiently made late-night movie that employs a lot of well-worn conventions with more punch than usual. It's not an instant classic of the genre or anything.

Skitch
10-23-2014, 10:58 PM
I would say it's getting better than "decent" reviews.

You're not Pop Trash. His scale is 99% of films are god-awful atrocious monstrosities and 1% are masterpieces.

Pop Trash
10-24-2014, 02:39 AM
You're not Pop Trash. His scale is 99% of films are god-awful atrocious monstrosities and 1% are masterpieces.

Naaaaaa. I'm not one of those people. The only horrendous 2014 release I've seen so far is The Fault in Our Stars and even that doesn't count because I shut it off after 15 minutes.

Skitch
10-24-2014, 12:37 PM
Naaaaaa. I'm not one of those people. The only horrendous 2014 release I've seen so far is The Fault in Our Stars and even that doesn't count because I shut it off after 15 minutes.

Well shit, now I like you more because fuck that movie.

MadMan
10-25-2014, 10:41 AM
Pop Trash likes things. Just not as much as someone like myself does, in which case I should clearly hate more things and let the hate flow or whatever.

Anyways this movie looks pretty badass so I'll check it out one way or another, and I do like Keanu Reeves..

megladon8
10-25-2014, 09:22 PM
This was great.

Right when it ended Jen turned to me and said "my favourite part was when he shot that guy in the head!"

megladon8
10-26-2014, 03:23 AM
So yeah this was pretty badass, and Reeves plays a very likeable action hero as always.

Just brilliant action. The choreography (LOVED the amount of grappling and holds), filming and editing is sublime.

In the very first action scene, the siege on his house, there's an incredibly simple yet effective shot, one take, where Wick and a goon wrestle over a knife. They start at one end of a hallway, with the camer looking at them head-on as it simply moves closer to them ever so slowly as they fight, culminating in an extreme close up. It was amazing.

A stripped-bare crime action, with self-aware levity and great performances all around.

Morris Schæffer
10-26-2014, 07:47 AM
Dang. I'm even more pumped for this than Interstellar. Incroyable!!

megladon8
11-18-2014, 12:49 AM
Really want to read 8's thoughts in this one!

number8
11-18-2014, 06:36 PM
Really want to read 8's thoughts in this one!

Never!

Skitch
11-18-2014, 08:04 PM
Never!

I'm gonna assume it's your selection for Best Picture then.

Morris Schæffer
11-18-2014, 09:29 PM
I'm gonna assume it's your selection for Best Picture then.

Assumption is the mother of all fuckups!

Skitch
11-18-2014, 09:34 PM
Assumption is the mother of all fuckups!

Mother, brother, any other sucker!

Morris Schæffer
11-29-2014, 09:37 PM
A yay for me, but I'm a bit letdown though I expected lots!. I think it was a masterstroke to have the bad guys kill the dog because you just don't touch that shit. We're so used to wifes or children taken or murdered in the movies - Well Bryan Mills sure is - that we take it for granted while the dog always lives. So goodbye to that rule. Pay attention Roland Emmerich!

Ever since I've had one, there's something about those adorable puppy eyes looking back at you that are impossible to resist. I was fully on board by the time this happened, aching for payback, feeling the pain, but the movie runs out of mileage and it becomes a shooting gallery, albeit a dazzlingly realized one, but with something of a distracting, incessant, though by no means overbearing, soundtrack. Still, I was dissapointed to discover that when the son got his commeuppance I didn't feel satisfied at all, didn't feel vindication. He just felt like another body, another piece of meat waiting to be perforated. Michael Nykvist, another letdown, adequate as the villain certainly, but somewhat forced, not such a good actor. Keanu still somewhat wooden, straining to do brooding and angry well, but nevertheless one of his better roles. Cool cameos. Sully from Commando and I knew Lance Reddick was in it, but oh man, then there's Clarke Peters in the same hotel! That was totally cool.

megladon8
11-30-2014, 06:01 AM
Still, I was dissapointed to discover that when the son got his commeuppance I didn't feel satisfied at all, didn't feel vindication. He just felt like another body, another piece of meat waiting to be perforated.

Wasn't that kind of the point?

Morris Schæffer
11-30-2014, 08:38 AM
Wasn't that kind of the point?

You'll have to enlighten me. :)

number8
11-30-2014, 03:55 PM
You'll have to enlighten me. :)

Revenge isn't satisfying. It doesn't change anything. This is the message you get in most revenge thrillers.

A lot of action movies tend to be hypocritical in preaching that but delivering a cathartic kill for the audience.

megladon8
11-30-2014, 03:56 PM
His revenge wasn't cathartic at all and was simply another body on the pile.

It wasn't until the very end when he got a new dog that we saw some semblance of hope that he could grieve and recover.

Morris Schæffer
12-01-2014, 11:46 AM
Revenge isn't satisfying. It doesn't change anything. This is the message you get in most revenge thrillers.


Of course it changes something. The imbalance is dealt with and restored. You've taken something from me and now I will take you. Whether it is satisfying would depend on the person. Were I to buy a gun and go in search of the person who had killed my loved ones, pulling the trigger would likely destroy me mentally. Hell, I'm pretty sure I'd never make it to the point where I'd actually be able to pull the trigger. For a professional killer as John Wick, who kills as easily as you and I do do our laundry, I can imagine revenge to contain an element of catharsis. Certainly, our titular hero kills with reckless (and stylish) abandon, but perhaps there were moments in the movie where Wick acknowledged that what he was doing was nasty and unfullfilling. Which then begs the question why he would go on such a rampage in the first place.

Scar
01-23-2015, 03:29 AM
Had a lot of fun with this one. Even though I knew the puppy was going to get killed, it damn near killed me when Wick wakes up to see that the dog crawled over to him in his dying moments.

Goddamnit....

Scar
01-23-2015, 03:39 AM
I agree with 8. Revenge is not satisying.

number8
01-23-2015, 03:53 PM
Regardless of whether you think you would personally be satisfied or not (though I highly doubt you would), the point is that there are a lot of action movies where the main character seeks revenge, is told that it's not going to bring anything back, and then does it anyway and doesn't get anything. Or they have a realization that they have to move on some other way and end up happily ever after with the side love interest, etc. It's a standard narrative, but they rarely land because they would have these final boss fights and kills that make the audience cheer. So you're sitting there feeling, "Fuck yeah, fuck that guy!" but the hero is all emo and broken about it. I like that in this one, you're deliberately made to feel that feeling of, "That's it? What now?"

Irish
01-23-2015, 05:33 PM
I'd buy into that more if the movie ended with the kid's death, but it doesn't. It awkwardly invents a reason to keep going (via Willem Defoe) and then plays to a bunch of action tropes. Captured hero. Chatty villain. Escape. More revenge. Big action climax.

number8
01-23-2015, 05:44 PM
I dunno, I like how they established that the dad doesn't even want to go against Wick or kill Dafoe, but is pretty much forced to because his son is killed, even though he pretty much seems resigned from the beginning that his son's gonna die eventually if Wick's after him. It makes "revenge" seems like this irritating but necessary chore rather than a catharsis for any of them, which lines up with the absurdity of Wick's quest to get his car back.

That "big action climax" was also equally unsatisfying for me. I mean, it's just him killing a useless lawyer and then stabbing an old man trying to run away. There's no fuck yeah moment to it after the initial car chase. The one villain who's established to be on Wick's physical equal, Adrianne Palicki, is also dispensed away without any confrontation.

It was hilarious how his "moving on" happy ending was him stealing a dog, though.

Irish
01-23-2015, 06:28 PM
I like your interpretation better than mine, but it also seems like they wrote themselves into a corner.

The reversal is good and entertains. Would-be villains, actively scared of Wick. ("Why did you let this man slap my son?" "It was John Wick" "...Oh").

But the problem there is that Wick is too powerful, and those villains aren't really villains. They're just thuggish assholes. He tears through them without breaking much of a sweat. By the end of the movie, the script has no good way to resolve dangling subplots and loose-end characters (like the father, but especially Aubrey Plaza's assassin). They can't let two "bad guys" walk away from the story so it sorta bends over backwards to invent an excuse to kill them.

The action climax didn't satisfy because it felt so tacked on and inconsequential, but only because the script failed to build any consequence or real connection between the characters. Not so much because the movie successfully made a statement about the emptiness of revenge.

Dead & Messed Up
02-15-2015, 09:47 PM
The film doesn't bend over backwards to kill the female assassin. We are told over and over that the hotel is neutral ground, to the point that she gets a huge bump in the bounty for attacking Wick there. What happens to her is the logical conclusion of her choices.

transmogrifier
02-28-2015, 12:58 PM
67/100


Some choice choreography, it's a blast seeing familiar character actors pop up everywhere, and Reeves is engaging. Some silly cliches and repetition fatigue start to creep in at the end, however.

Irish
03-01-2015, 01:35 AM
The film doesn't bend over backwards to kill the female assassin.

It does in the sense that it's forced to break narrative point of view in order to end her story, and more or less invent reasons for doing so. (If you clipped her final scene from the movie, what would it change about anyone else's story? Nothing).

I can't imagine the audience cares about her, but the movie is smart enough to know she just can't disappear abruptly.

That's awkward.

megladon8
03-01-2015, 01:57 AM
How did it invent reasons to end her plot thread? It is mentioned several times both before and after we even meet her character that doing business on hotel grounds is punishable by death.

She screwed herself when she went after Wick in his hotel room, and also killed the other dude in his room.

We saw the consequences to her actions carried out the way they were foreshadowed.

Irish
03-01-2015, 02:54 AM
How did it invent reasons to end her plot thread? It is mentioned several times both before and after we even meet her character that doing business on hotel grounds is punishable by death.

Not quite. Perkins is introduced in the scene where John walks into the Continental. Neither the hotel nor its rules are mentioned before that.

The dialogue alludes to "heavy penalties" if you "do business" on site. Perkins gets a bonus for breaking "the rules." But nothing in her demeanor (or anyone else's) suggests she's risking her life twice over by attacking Wick at the hotel.

Willem Dafoe's character snipes at Wick (effectively to warn him about her) while John rests in his hotel room. But nobody seems concerned that he's broken "the rules" by doing that.

It's not until an anonymous goon squad surrounds Perkins toward the end of the film that the "penalty" is revealed to be death.

Perkins is the only woman in the film and the only adversary John Wick doesn't kill. (He leaves her alive for no good reason, something completely contrary to his character.)

I suspect the producers didn't want their hero to kill a woman on screen, out of fear that it would make him less likeable. That's why everything about her is so labored. John Wick is a bro movie and as "the girl," Palicki is shoe-horned into it. And it shows.

transmogrifier
03-01-2015, 03:00 AM
It's not Aubrey Plaza. It's Adrianne Palicki.

megladon8
03-01-2015, 03:08 AM
He didn't kill her because he was on Continental grounds. He didn't want to break the rules either.

Irish
03-01-2015, 03:11 AM
It's not Aubrey Plaza. It's Adrianne Palicki.

Christ! You're right. I always get them confused. Good catch.

transmogrifier
03-01-2015, 03:59 AM
Christ! You're right. I always get them confused. Good catch.

Didn't want to be picky, but I for one would have been mightily disappointed waiting for Plaza to turn up :)

DavidSeven
03-03-2015, 06:27 PM
The script is a little dopey, but I have to appreciate a film that commits so fully to capturing action by camera instead of program. Stated differently, it's just refreshing to see action rendered through choreography and stuntwork over 1s and 0s. In its own way, John Wick is one of the more purely cinematic actioners in recent memory precisely because it relies so purely on the camera, the cutting, and the staging to elicit its thrills. I appreciated the film's back-to-basics approach; a skeletal, yet workable, narrative combined with cinematic and character elements that lift it above humdrum. As a dramatic experience, it's fairly lacking. The stakes never truly feel real, and the climax lands with a thud rather than a bang. The film, however, is wise enough to stay mindful of the protagonist's simple, if shallow, goal and allow the filmmaking to carry the rest. It bucks the modern action trend of over-stuffed plots and over-done digital work. Although it's far from high art, I'll take this modest bullet ballet over physics defying explosions and super-hero feats most days of the weak.

MadMan
03-03-2015, 06:37 PM
This was a great throwback to 80s and 90s action movies. Reeves does fine work and the Red Circle sequence was one of the coolest and well shot club shootout scenes since Collateral.

Pop Trash
04-12-2015, 09:10 PM
Yeah I dunno. This was OK, but it had even less meat on its bones than The Guest, which I didn't even like that much either. Ultimately, I think in a few years all I will remember about this is that it's the one where Keanu kills a bunch of dudes (and one hot chick) over his dead puppy.

I did like the style, the architecture, and the art direction. The "New York" here is like Leon meets Eyes Wide Shut.

Grouchy
05-07-2015, 06:40 AM
It was hilarious how his "moving on" happy ending was him stealing a dog, though.
Heh, from a dog kennel. Animal lovers would cheer.


Willem Dafoe's character snipes at Wick (effectively to warn him about her) while John rests in his hotel room. But nobody seems concerned that he's broken "the rules" by doing that.
Because he's not, it's a warning shot like you said.

I found this movie a pleasant surprise. It can be perfectly described as Point Black with action lifted from John Woo... and it works. Keanu Reeves must be the most likeable bad actor since Harrison Ford.

dreamdead
05-31-2015, 07:02 PM
This was decent. Reeves has a limited range, as has long since been proven, but this is the kind of project where his commitment secures the right tone. If anything, the filmmakers could have worked with John's relationship with the dog even more; she was only starting to prove her use as therapy when Alfie Allen's character eliminates her.

The script is where this one lacks. There's a little too much of a template where everyone fears Wick and then undercut their own internal logic, whether it's the big bad leaving the scene without putting a bullet in Wick himself, to the odd refusal to kill the woman and thereby endanger others. It's an odd refusal situated, as others note here, on not tainting the heroic factor of John Wick to the audience but it feels utterly out of character.

Good stuff overall, though I'm leery of a sequel not merely further deifying him as a god of destruction.

Dukefrukem
05-31-2015, 07:22 PM
I love the universe this movie is set.

dreamdead
06-01-2015, 03:31 PM
I love the universe this movie is set.

The Continental Hotel is a legitimately great idea for this sort of throwback, but rather than being populated by Expendable-era movie stars of the past, the cast propels the idea forward by centering on character actors who are interesting and not what is usually presented. If the sequel doubles down on this idea and finds an adversary worth detailing, it'll be the sort of series that bests the original film.

Dukefrukem
06-01-2015, 03:50 PM
Has a sequel been confirmed?

TGM
06-01-2015, 04:20 PM
Yup.

megladon8
06-01-2015, 07:40 PM
I just really hope they don't jump the shark with the action.

Bigger set pieces could ruin this.

Dukefrukem
06-01-2015, 07:43 PM
Agreed, but you know they're going to.

I love how feared John is even with the police. It really gives a sense of how deadly he is- which kind of takes away from the scene where he allows himself to get captured.

Morris Schæffer
06-01-2015, 09:37 PM
Sometimes I wish protagonists were more average and less improbably skilled. That whole nightclub scene is well shot, but Wick is so good at what he does that it undercuts the tension by a significant margin.

megladon8
06-01-2015, 10:36 PM
I've seen that complaint a lot and I don't understand why people pick on this film for it when it's a trope in almost every action movie ever made.

Plus it's not like he's unscathed. The guy gets his ass handed to him multiple times. In fact he's only alive because someone saved his ass.

TGM
06-01-2015, 10:51 PM
I've seen that complaint a lot and I don't understand why people pick on this film for it when it's a trope in almost every action movie ever made.

Plus it's not like he's unscathed. The guy gets his ass handed to him multiple times. In fact he's only alive because someone saved his ass.

Precisely, and in fact, it's this element that helped make this movie standout all the more in comparison to, say, something like The Equalizer, which came out around the same time with pretty much the same premise, only whereas Denzel Washington was legitimately invincible in his movie, Reeves is actually shown to be quite vulnerable in this one. In fact, I'd probably go so far as to say that Willem Dafoe's character helping him out from the shadows quite possibly perhaps even played quite a role in what lead to his "invincible" reputation.

Morris Schæffer
06-02-2015, 05:19 AM
Perhaps i'm just feeling this way because the shootouts got a tremendous amount of hype and although they're very good visually, they're not quite as pulse-quickening as I had hoped.

Irish
06-02-2015, 07:08 AM
the action is good but by the time we get to the nightclub, we've seen Wick be Wick. There's some nifty edits against the choreography but there aren't any new ideas. No new action beats.

that was the first time the movie dipped for me and became a little something of a chore. it doesn't hold up well on multiple views.

Dukefrukem
06-02-2015, 12:48 PM
I like how holds the gun.

Scar
03-04-2016, 07:01 PM
I like how holds the gun.

Was just re reading this thread. Care to enlighten me on this post? Typo or what your extended thought was?

Dukefrukem
03-04-2016, 10:05 PM
Was just re reading this thread. Care to enlighten me on this post? Typo or what your extended thought was?

If I had to guess... it was how he holds the gun.

http://www.electric-shadows.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/John-Wick-Keanu-Reeves-gunfight.jpg

Skitch
03-04-2016, 11:32 PM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9u0auA-NWZo

Damn, son.

Gittes
11-16-2016, 06:47 PM
I liked the knowing silliness of this movie. An oscillation between carnage and control seeps into a lot of the proceedings. There's this delightful rhythm wherein the barbarism of the eponymous assassin in one scene abuts against the decorum of a hotel concierge in another, and so on. These commingling sensibilities are there in the script, but also in the finessed choreography of the film, and Reeves' assured navigation of spaces that do not present bona fide threats but, rather, involuntary participants that he can draw into the orbit of his own idiosyncratic dance.

It's this undulating course of simmering portent and propulsive action. The skirmishes are nimble and varied: delirious spectacles that feel fascinatingly dynamic from moment to moment. All of this is deftly abetted by the visual and aural trappings (particularly in the flashy night club scene). The film works best when it really leans into its kinetic and lurid excesses (again, the night club scene), framing Wick as a marionette in a carefully calibrated dreamscape. To a certain degree, these aesthetic strengths are sapped by the end, as the visual palette becomes much more drab and industrial.

Still, the clarity of the action was startling. I think Christopher Nolan should sit down and watch this a few times, and perhaps consult with Stahelski.

Ezee E
12-29-2018, 05:54 AM
This had a 25-2 ratio? Wow.

Wasn't a fan.

Dukefrukem
08-01-2019, 09:58 PM
Wait for it....Wait for it......... (in all seriousness it's crazy what you can do in post production)


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yNuIK1hnmzE