Sometimes, simple is better.
John Wick (Keanu Reeves) is a former assassin for the Russian mob who has just lost his wife, Helen, (Bridget Moynahan) to an illness. While grieving Helen's loss, John is surprised with a letter and a dog sent from Helen. Helen provided the dog as a gift to John for something to watch over and to help move forward with his life. After a chance meeting with a group of Russian men, John's dog is killed and his prized car is stolen from him. As these were the last things in his life that mattered, John plots out a course of revenge. Really, that's the gist of the plot.
Though the plot may sound silly, its not as lightweight as it might seem from the outset. Connecting with members from his past including: chop-shop owner Aurelio, (John Leguizamo) John's mentor Marcus, (Willem Dafoe) and Winston, (Ian McShane) who owns a hotel that houses assassins, John is able to use skills in an attempt to enforce his brand of justice on Iosef, (Alfie Allen) and the other Russian men involved that took away everything John had. Complicating matters is Iosef's father, Viggo (Michael Nyqvist) who John had worked for previously. Viggo is torn between understanding John's plight and still trying to protect his son.
The film follows a simple structure of John going from place to place, mayhem happens and we repeat. This is not a bad thing, though, as John Wick has energy to spare and a solid script written by Derek Kolstad that keeps the film from not dwelling too long in one place. John Wick takes the audience into a world where assassins rule the landscape and are never affected by others around them. Everything from a hotel that caters to assassins to a clean-up service that disposes of victims within the drop of a hat add nice, if unrealistic, touches to this assassins version of New York City.
Directors Chad Stahelski and David Leitch infuse the film with vibrant uses of color and well-choreographed kung-fu sequences to keep the film feeling fresh. Plenty of guns (especially head-shots) are in store, but the directors do enjoy mixing up the film and its action so that the film doesn't feel too repetitive. Even though you have probably seen this film a hundred times before; including knowing who will live and die, the ride and simple structure proves enjoyable for those yearning for a more simplistic film experience.
John Wick certainly wont win any awards, but its not trying to. The film is simple, but elevated by an enjoyable cast and solid directing. As an entertaining film experience, John Wick should satisfy most people who yearn for a solid action film.