The action thriller genre has sunk into a bit of a slump in recent years, with a strangely family-friendly approach watering everything down and making each latest Liam Neeson punch-fest feel like a series of cookie-cutter imitations. ┬áThis is a shame, as there is often terrific craft and skill employed in mounting films like this, and the genre itself loses credibility the more bland and ubiquitous it becomes. What’s interesting about John Wick is how much of a throwback it is to a more simplistic type of movie, while also displaying great sophistication that has been lacking in most of its recent peers.

Co-directed by a former stuntman, the principal draw here is an old-school appreciation of fight sequences, not taken to the extremes of something like The Raid 2, but kept grounded in a reasonable semblance of reality. The plot is utterly, almost ridiculously basic (though consistent and oddly believable) – merely a skeleton on which to hang the meat of a series of colourful, imaginatively-staged set pieces which showcase the old-school art of punching people in the face. Movies like this used to be ten-a-penny; now that they’re a dying breed it’s hard not to appreciate the better examples.

JOHN WICK
A nice antidote to the bland genre the action thriller has become lately8
Still an utterly straightforward film though6
Some of the finest stunt work (no wires, no CGI, nothing too unrealistic) you will ever see9
A total lack of anything interesting going on related to plot or character (some nice use of colour though)5
Sometimes those things don't matter so much7
Bechdel Test Passes
  • Features more than one named female character
Bechdel Test Failures
  • I can't remember a scene where two women talk to each other
7Overall Score

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