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John Wick

John Wick

USA 2014 - with Keanu Reeves, Willem Dafoe, Michael Nyqvist, Alfie Allen, Adrianne Palicki, Dean Winters ...

The Frankfurt-Tipp rating:

Movie info

Original title:John Wick
Genre:Action, Thriller
Direction:Chad Stahelski, David Leitch
Cinema release:29.01.2015
Production country:USA 2014
Running time:Approx. 101 min.
Rated:Age 16+
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John Wick (Keanu Reeves), once the best hitman in the business, has actually retired from the business to live a quiet life with his wife Helen. But now she has died and all he has left of the love of his life is a small dog. A final gift from Helen that will always remind him of her and help him come to terms with his loss. But he doesn't have time when psychopathic gangster Iosef Tarasov (Alfie Allen) kills the dog after John refuses to sell him his beloved 1969 Boss Mustang. Now John is out for revenge. He begins a bloody search for his car and for Iosef, the only son of John's one-time partner, Russian crime boss Viggo Tarasov (Michael Nyqvist). He, of course, wants to protect his son's life and so sets New York's best hitmen on John. But it's not without reason that John Wick's reputation is legendary - and so it's not long before the city streets turn blood red on his merciless quest for revenge.

Experienced stuntmen Chad Stahelski and David Leitch are now venturing behind the camera with their company 87Eleven. Their first production is the action smash John Wick starring Keanu Reeves, with whom they have previously worked on the two Matrix sequels. The script by Derek Kolstad they chose for their debut as filmmakers actually offers very conventional B-movie fare. It's brimming with clichéd characters and flat dialogue, so it shouldn't really work. But Stahelski and Leitch have managed the seemingly impossible and have conjured up an extremely cool thriller out of the very simple basic framework, which has given Keanu Reeves his long-awaited comeback in the USA.

This has succeeded because the directors have concentrated on what they do best: staging first-class action with breathtaking stunts. Plus, as second-unit directors on films like The Bourne Legacy and The Tributes of Panem, they've learned how to make that action look good visually. So here they bring to the screen a fascinatingly gritty picture of the New York underworld that looks stylish and menacing at the same time. In the resulting atmosphere, they really let it rip and pull out all the stops of their skills. It may not be quite as mercilessly painful to watch as the two great The Raid films, but it's undoubtedly in the same league.

That the acting performances are relegated to secondary importance shouldn't really surprise anyone. But while characters like Russian mobster Tarasov or ice-cold assassin Miss Perkins (Adrianne Palicki) aren't exactly spawns of originality, the actors leave a positive impression throughout. Their acting is either peppered with refreshing self-mockery (Willem Dafoe, Ian McShane) or stripped down to the essentials (Keanu Reeves), so the high fun factor of the action is only bolstered by this.

Sure, John Wick is not a particularly intelligent film, not sophisticated brain food. But it is a refreshingly uncompromising, adult action flick that ignites a fireworks display of stunts and martial arts without much in the way of special effects, thereby stylizing the thin story into a rousing vendetta. So if you appreciate action of the more tangible kind and like movies like The Raid, you definitely shouldn't miss John Wick. Absolutely worth seeing!

An article by Frankfurt-Tipp


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Cinema trailer for the movie "John Wick (USA 2014)"
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