People love violence on screen but at the same time it is a guilty pleasure. Movies like Rambo or Terminator are fun indeed despite not really having much of a story, and yet they are serious in terms of the violence they show. But only once in a while there are movies like The Matrix or Kill Bill which despite being violent are not only fun but even the violence in them is not to be taken too seriously.
Keanu Reeves is an actor loved by all. He is always first to arrive on set and last to leave. The Matrix established him as a fine top notch actor. John Wick on other hand will be the role for which he will be remembered. Keanu is 50 years old. It is hard for him to be an action hero but he does it so effortlessly that what was supposed to be a single movie has turned into a 5 movie franchise. Each movie being more violent than others.
John Wick is setup in New York with some serious neo noir vibe. He is part of a mysterious organization of assassins who all work “under the table”. This organization is like a club for killers. They maintain hotels all around the world and have strict rules which everyone must obey.
John Wick has retired from the profession as he has found a wonderful women. It is unclear how he managed to leave this world but it is hinted that it involved piling up a very large number of bodies. Wick has earned his retirement. However, the fate would not be kind to him as his wife dies of some terminal illness and Wick is not all alone. To his surprise his wife has arranged for a parting gift, a puppy. He is supposed to remind him of her.
This is a very simple premise until John Wick’s former boss’s son finds Wick in his beautiful Mustang car and demands that John sell this car to him. John refuses and drives away. The same night the jerk breaks into John’s home, kills his puppy and steals his car.
Now, a dead puppy is what ended up creating the movie and subsequent franchise. John is out for revenge but more bodies he piles up more trouble he gets into leading up to three movies. Telling more would be like giving spoilers but the producers have brought in some of the best martial artists and showed a hell lot of gun violence in the movie. Keanu himself has showed his proficiency in all sort of weapons including a legendary pencil.
But what makes this movie amazing is not just the violence but the elaborate world building of this secret world of assassins, Continental hotel, the “high table”, “bowry king”, “the elder” and what not. People transact not just in money but in gold coins, blood markers and secret tokens hidden in New York public library.
My favourite bit of the movie is where they show the Pope himself to be the part of this secret underground organization.