Saturday, October 25, 2014

Tag-team review: John Wick

When we first heard about John Wick it sounded like some direct-to-video cheapie starring the once great Keanu Reeves. Then the first trailer showed up and HOLY FUCK! Gotta see!

So that's what Basement contributor Matt Bellamy and I did tonight (along with some guy who works with the CBC). Does John Wick live up to the great trailer? Stick with us!

Matt: Now, I'm not really much of a tattoo guy but I figure that if I ever actually do get drunk enough to decide on getting some ink, it'll have to be some sort of cool looking latin phrase on my back--only badasses get latin tattoos. And angels of death, yeah that, too.

Jason: Yeah. And it's only fitting that the dude who has all those tats on his back is an almost literal angel of death -- the titular John Wick. The movie, along with the character, are as direct as you can get. This is a full-on, 80s style action flick that knows exactly what it wants to be, and delivers on that level. I doubt there will be a better movie this year. Better films sure, but not a better movie.

Matt: Maybe even the best movie going experience of the year, just a whole crap load of fun, one that makes you long for the types of movies Cannon Films used to put out. If you grew up with, or just love those types of movies, then you're going to have a blast with this one. It's such a simple setup too which is a serious breath of fresh air compared to the often over convoluted messes that befall modern action flicks--get to the point, and the killing! John Wick does not mess around in that department, we get to know our main character, what he's all about, and then when shit hits the fan, turn that mother loose!

Jason: Yeah, credit must be given to Reeves here. He can be hit and miss, but he brought his A game to John Wick. Not only does he give the character a vulnerability and world weariness, but he goes balls out with the fight scenes, doing his own stunts and fight choreography, which includes a brilliant mix of martial arts and gunplay. We care about Wick and his quest, and we cheer when he beats the living hell out of pretty much everyone. Don't fuck with a nobody's dog, people. Seriously.

Matt: The filmmakers came from a background in stunts, and it shows here as they know exactly how to stage a very kinetic action scene without resorting to confusing shaky cam effects, or rapid MTV style editing--fluidity is the name of the game here, and it's a ballet of blood, and bullets. The violence is also never TOO over the top which is nice, you're very rarely taken out of what's happening on screen, and for a throwback action flick like this one, that can be a tough thing to pull off. Kudos to everyone who had a hand in putting this thing together, they all deserve a gold star, and a back end cut of the profits.

Jason: There's some nice world building here too, which you don't often see in movies like this. We're introduced to the clean-up crew that mops up after a mob hit, and a kind of safe haven hotel for assassins where breaking the rules is a big no no. I dug me that aspect of the movie a lot, not to mention the killer supporting cast, if you'll excuse the pun.

Matt: Oh hell yeah, that cast! HBO lent out a lot of their talent here, as there are vets from shows like The Wire, Deadwood, and even Oz. Willem Dafoe also has a nice little part as a former "colleague" of Wick's who may, or may not still be on his side. Jay and I could really go on and on about everything we loved about this crazy Good action flick but we'll save you some brain power instead because we're just like you, lazy at times.

Jason: Give me John Wick 2 already. And John Wick 3. Four even. Wick is that Good!

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