It’s been three years since John Wick last graced movie screens across the nation, and while much may have changed in real life, John Wick is still John Wick.
As one of the good surprises on 2014, the Keanu Reeves helmed series was released with little marketing and a small amount of screens allocated to the film. And when we say surprise, we mean that prior to John Wick’s release, the last widely released film that showcased Reeves as the headliner and which was certified as Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes was The Matrix Reloaded which was released in 2003.
(Sure an argument can be made for A Scanner Darkly, but considering the animation used in that film to potentially cover up any of Reeves emotionless face, and the fact that Robert Downey Jr. and Woody Harrelson were also cast as leads somewhat negated the idea of Reeves being the main draw.)
However, John Wick reminded viewers of why they loved Neo in The Matrix. Simply put, Neo was a man of few words and was more about being a badass and awesome visuals – visuals which relied more on camera work and blood spatter effects due to budget constraints. However, these budget constraints are also what helped spur the film to success.
Not in the fact that indie films have that artistic quality which critics love, but more so in the sense that the movie knew what it was about and embraced it. Instead of backing away by trying to innovate different ways for Reeves to kill his target, they went straight for the jugular of trying to make a movie about a hitman forced back into the world he’d once left.
And while most action sequels would generally go for overkill, with a franchise like Wick’s that’s next to impossible. After all, the guy killed some 80 people and still left audience hungry for a sequel and one that delivers perhaps even more so than the first with the cleverly paced jokes, stunt work, and fight scenes.
Enough so, that if John Wick were a dinner, our appetites would still be satisfied after the appetizer and main course, but we still have plenty of room left for dessert.
John Wick hits theaters nationwide February 10, 2017.