Editor’s note: We all love movies, but rather than ask a syndicated columnist who has never visited our beautiful High Desert, we commissioned our own local movie critic: Nolan P. Smith to review films and give us a local perspective. Enjoy!
By Nolan P. Smith
(Victor Valley)—The world loves a great tale of revenge. A story of comeuppance where you root for the good guy to right the wrongs of the world; John Wick is billed as this type of movie. The Keanu Reeves led film has built up some steam, but does the film mark the triumphant return of Reeves to the action film genre, or is it another recycled revenge plot gone sour?
John Wick is a rare beast when it comes to wide release films. It crosses the line of being a simple, but entertaining action flick, and shows what it takes to be in the conversation for best film of the year. Reeves plays John Wick, retired killer for the Russian mob, but a broken man as tragedy took the love of his life. There is no rest for the weary as Wick is brutally attacked, and loses another loved one right before his eyes. This is exactly what it takes to ignite what lies in the hearts of men.
The character John Wick is a monster; let’s not try to soften the truth. He is, he is an absolute monster; and that’s why we cheer for him. A man who has lost everything has nothing to lose, and that is the driving force behind Wick’s motivation. A ruthless, second to none killer takes on a crime family in the search of revenge; tell me that doesn’t sound like a perfect film.
What we get is a unique, fresh entry to the action/revenge genre. The shots in the film are done in a manner that speaks to the viewer in ways most run of the mill action flicks don’t. Wick’s methodical style for dispatching enemies is a sight to see, as we see exactly what kind of monster is within. Reeves does a fantastic job with Wick, showcasing his talents to a whole new generation of viewers.
The world created in this film is outstanding: the hotel specifically for hired killers, the fellow assassins that inhabit the world, the cleaning service made for a violent occasion or two; it all helps build a world familiar to ours, yet remarkably different. The cast of characters, including assassins, mafia hit men, and even the crime boss himself (Michael Nyqvist), shine throughout the film, all the way to the very end.
I have always considered the original Taken with Liam Neeson to be the best revenge driven action flick in modern history. I now bestow that honor to John Wick. A gripping, hypnotic film, I hope the world sees we need more John Wick and less recycled and tried plots like we usually get.