John Wick

Directed By: David Leitch

Starring: Keanu Reeves, Michael Nyqvist, Alfie Allen, Adrianne Palicki, Bridget Moynahan, Dean Winters, Willem Dafoe, John Leguizamo, and Ian McShane

Normally, I pay little attention to Rotten Tomatoes before I've drafted a review.  I just saw the most bizarre thing though as I was pulling together a list of the cast members in John Wick.  This weekend’s John Wick has a 93% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.  My initial thought on this can be summed up in three words.  What the hell???  Did I see the same film that other critics saw?  Have they all gone mad?  In any event, I'm in stark disagreement with them and am flabbergasted by the notion that John Wick is considered by many to be good entertainment.  It's a mediocre action thriller that rests on the shoulders of far better action movies.

John Wick (Keanu Reeves) is a grieving man.  Having just lost his wife Helen (Bridget Moynahan), the only thing he has left is a puppy she gifted him post-mortem.  At the gas station one day, he encounters young thug Iosef Tarasov (Alfie Allen).  Tarasov approaches Wick to tell him how lovely his car is and offers to take it off his hands noting that everything has a price.  Wick has a rather colorful response that infuriates Tarasov.  Later, Tarasov and his henchmen break into Wick's home, murder the puppy Helen gifted him, and steal his car.  Little do they realize that Wick is one with whom you don't trifle.  A retired hitman, Wick was once dubbed the Boogeyman because he was the one people would send on the tough assignments.

When Tarasov goes to Aureilo's (John Leguizamo) chop shop to sell the car, Aureilo instantly recognizes Wick's car and sends Tarasov packing with a black eye to his father, Russian mobster Viggo Tarasov (Michael Nyqvist).  When the elder Tarasov learns of his son's actions, he realizes the beast that his boy has just awakened in John Wick.  Putting out a contract for two million dollars, he sends hitmen such as Marcus (Willem Dafoe) and Ms. Perkins (Adrianne Palicki) after the infamous contract killer.  Coming out of retirement specifically to squeeze the life out of the younger Tarasov, Wick expects the elder Tarasov to make the first strike, and is more than ready for it.

A former contract killer kills 50 people because someone killed his puppy.  Cue the music.  I'm moved.  I've rarely heard of a more ridiculous premise.  Once again trying to revitalize his career, Keanu Reeves couldn't have picked a goofier film to follow up last year's 47 Ronin.  While the action is decent, John Wick is otherwise an unbearably bad film.  Director David Leitch really drops the ball here.  With its nonsensical narrative, unbelievably cheesy dialogue, and the ostentatious subtitles that make Adam West's Batman look like more serious fare, John Wick time and time again demonstrates that it's a mediocre action flick that's not even a good B movie.  It certainly doesn't help that it stands on the shoulders of far better action movies.

The acting is torturous.  Every cast member is goofily in awe of this killer John Wick going around killing people because of his murdered puppy.  As the titular badass, I must give it to Keanu Reeves for proving that he's capable of delivering solid action sequences.  However, he brings no personality to the screen.  There's no menace.  There's no beast.  There's just a boring melancholic killer.  As Russian mobster Viggo Tarasov, Michael Nyqvist does little to spice things up.  He offers us nothing more than a spineless antagonist quaking in his boots.  As Ms. Perkins, Adrianne Palicki is the only remotely interesting character, but she has little to do in the film.

It's clear where I stand on this bland action movie.  It's nothing but a big disappointment.  John Wick gets a 0.09% rating.  Have a few whiskey sours with this one.