REVIEW ~ “JOHN WICK” (2014) Lionsgate

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john wick

It’s been quite sometime since I sat at a movie and completely & totally rooted for a character so much so as I did John Wick. Even though you know he’s really not a ‘good guy’ per se’ you really truly can’t help doing so in this movie. But before you even head into this movie you know it’s going to be in-your-face non-stop, kick-ass, kill ’em, violent. And it is..I mean the trailer tells you this..what it doesn’t tell you is how much fun it’s all going to be. Not funny ha-ha..but just plain fun – entertaining -go for it – good time action packed movie. Betcha ya didn’t expect all that now did you?!!  Because I didn’t, but I really enjoyed myself at this movie and coming from a someone like me who loves movies, but can be super picky..this film was a nice surprise for me.

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First of all can we talk about Keanu Reeves for just a quick moment.  No one ever said he’s the best actor, but damn this is his movie..no if’s, and’s or but’s..it’s all him and his wooden acting style fits this movie like a glove, as let’s face it,  it’s always best when Keanu doesn’t have a lot of dialogue and the amount here is just perfect for him to carry out and boy does he do it well, in probably his best performance in a decade or so. He performs so well as the cool, calm demeanoured “John Wick” a retired assassin code named “The Bogeyman” and moves with such ease during this super fast-paced, heavy stunt-fest so smoothly, that you will never even realize that hey..Keanu is now FIFTY yrs. old, no way..not a chance.

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So to set it up, in his hey-day the now retired, Wick/Bogeyman was the ‘go to’ guy if you…well..needed someone assassinated. And within minutes of the start of the film, the stage is set for what exactly John Wick can do, when the son “Iosef Tarasov” (Alfie Allen) of Russian mob boss “Viggo Tarasov” (Michael Nyquist), runs into Wick as he’s just randomly pumping gas in his badass Mustang and Iosef likes the Mustang, offers to buy the muscle car, which John politely refuses. Next thing you know, the Russian thugs break into his home to steal the car and take the one thing that he could share his grief with, a dog his wife “Helen” (Bridget Moynahan) gave him before she passed, AND then kick the crapola out of him to boot. Well that’s all it takes to reeaally piss Wick off as we ALL know..you don’t hurt an assassins dog for chrissakes, so off he goes to his basement with a sledge hammer and breaks up the floor and unearths a clearly long forgotten stash of weapons and some odd gold coins. Then things get ugly – for the mob that is.. Word gets back to his former boss, Viggo, from chop shop car owner “Aureilo” (John Leguizamo), who’s recognized his friend Wick’s Mustang.  Viggo informs his son in no uncertain terms that he’s royally screwed up, then sends in in a dozen or so guys to meet the threat head on. But you’re gonna need a lot more than that against John Wick!! And that my friends is when the non-stop action and fun really start.  This is pure high-energy, in your face, revenge flick and ladies and gentlemen, hold onto your hats as you’re in for a rollercoaster of a damn good time. john wick 4

Along with Keanu’s great action spin, there are many fun supporting roles here and one of my favs is the hit-mans hotel of choice, Continental’s manager “Charon” (Lance Reddick) This is a ‘special’ hotel where you can check in only with those ‘special’ gold coins Wick had in that cache he dug up. You’re not supposed to do ‘business’ at this hotel but Viggo entices our one female hit’man’ “Ms. Perkins” (Adrianne Palicki) to do just that and go after Wick for an extra payday. There is also the wonderful Willem Dafoe as “Marcus” a former colleague who is taking names and kicking some ass for a short time here with Wick, the always fun Ian McShane as the Continental owner, “Winston”, Dean Winters as “Avi” the wimpy-ish inept sideman to Viggo who can’t understand a word of Russian and there entails a few funny moments with his lack of ‘understanding’, and Clarke Peters as “Harry” the old-school assassin. All of them add loads of flavour to this movie, but again, make no mistake..this is Keanu’s movie and he kills it..john wick 3

This film rocks and this film rolls..all in the right ways and it’s truly loads of fun!  Of course there are plot holes, like how is Wick even functioning after what he goes through, but it doesn’t matter, because you’re too busy cheering for John Wick!! There were times I wanted to just scream out a big WHOOOO HOOOO! And you will too. I take ’em as I see them and I had a great time watching this movie. Enjoy people..enjoy!!!

Grade:  B-

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Grading Scale:  A = Oscar-worthy;  B = Above average – must see;  C = Average – should see;  D = Don’t waste time or money, VOD or cable at best; F = yeah, don’t see the movie under any circumstances  (+ or – gives it an edge up or down)

Check out my review of ‘Cuban Fury’ #peggyatthemovies

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“Cha..cha..cha.. Cha..cha..cha”… Yep.. that’s what you will want to do after you see this fun little romp called “Cuban Fury.” and I enjoyed every minute of this lovely little screening I was able to attend on Wednesday..and as an added bonus I might add..the “Mad Men’ premiere just happened to be going on at the same time so I was able to catch some of my favs from that show on the Red Carpet.  But, back to the movie,  Let me just emphasize this movie is not what you think it probably is.  It’s a lovely little British comedy starring Rashida Jones (Julia), as the American boss, Nick Frost (Bruce), as the Salsa dancer, Chris O’Dowd (Drew), as his ‘friend’ or foe as you will see, and Olivia Coleman(Sam), has a great supporting as Bruce’s salsa partner/sister. Ian McShane (Ron) & Rory Kinnear (Gary) also have great supporting roles that will make you laugh..Best supporting character is by far is Kayvan Novak (Bejan) who has some of the funniest delivery of lines I’ve seen in awhile..You might not recognize all their names, but you will recognize all of them from the ton’s of movies/shows they’ve all been in combined.

Basically, Bruce and his sister were Salsa dancers as kids and won every contest far & wide, except for one.. And then Bruce quit because of what happened before that last contest, which of course involves bullies..  years later as he’s just living an ordinary life, Julia comes in as the new boss at his company and she’s lovely..But she seems interested in Drew rather than Bruce because he’s now overweight and a bit schlumpy. But he finds out her one thing she loves is Salsa.. And there you go.. won’t tell you the rest as yes, it’s as corny as end all..but somehow it works..It’s funny – in the British humour way..if you don’t like British humour..this might not be for you..it’s sweet, it’s got GREAT music in it and you can’t help but move in your seat to the rhythm of it all.  It’s not the best movie, but it’s entertaining and fun..and that is all I really ask for in a movie nowadays.  Grade: C+

#peggyatthemovies