Film: "John Wick"; Cast: Keanu Reeves, Alfie Allen, Bridget Moynahan, Adrianne Palicki, Dean Winters, Ian McShane, John Leguizamo, Michael Nyqvist and Willem Dafoe; Directors: David Leitch, Chad Stahelski; Rating: ***
Who is John Wick? He is a man with a flashy Mustang and a pet dog who was so crazily in love with his wife that he jettisoned his career to be with her.
But alas their marriage was short lived. For after five years of marital bliss, she died due to a mysterious illness. Sensing that he would be vulnerable after she goes, that pet dog was her gift to him.
One day, by coincidence, while filling petrol at a gas station, his car catches the eye of Russian mobster Viggo Tarasov's son Losef. Losef tries negotiating with him but his offer is turned down.
Humiliated, Losef along with his friends, breaks into John Wick's house, thrashes him, kills the dog and steals the Mustang. He then takes the car to a garage to spruce it up, change the number plates and procure aceclean papers.
Aurelio, the garage owner, on recognising the car, tells Losef, "It is not what you did to get it, It is who you did it to!" saying this he refuses to touch the car and packs Losef out of his garage.
Thick-skinned and hardly amused, Losef arrives home to tell his father that he stole "some- nobody's" car.
Viggo shouts back saying, "That f****g nobody is John Wick! He was once an associate of ours, an assassin, not just an ordinary assassin but the best of the best and a most dreaded one at that.
So what is the film about?
Well, with ample double-crossing and back stabbing, bullets and deaths, this is a slick action filled vengeance saga where an infuriated John, with nothing left to live for, is soon drawn out of his retirement. He seeks revenge against the mobsters, leaving a trail of corpses across the city.
Keanu Reeves as John Wick is stylish and unforgettable. He dominates the narration with limited lines and ample action. His brooding, dark and determined performance easily establishes him as one of the coolest action heroes of Hollywood.
Alfie Allen as the pigheaded Losef matches Reeves' histrionics. But it is Michael Nyqvist as the mobster kingpin Viggo, who is impressive. They are well supported by a list of known faces in character roles. Prominent among them are Lane Reddick who plays the enigmatic hotel clerk, Adrianne Palicki as is Ms. Perkins the deadly female assassin who takes a contract to execute Wick and John Leguizamo as Aurelio the owner of the garage where John begins his investigation.
Directed by two former stunt men David Leitch and Chad Stahelski, the film is technically savvy with impressively shot frames, brilliant edits and matching background score. But unfortunately it lacks depth in the scripting department. The plot graph is too simplistic and straight forward and flows through a lot of familiar plot points giving the film a generic feel.
Finally with over the top carnage, this fast paced stylishly violent fare is a must see for all action lovers.