The man. The myth. The legend. When I first saw the trailer for John Wick, I was in. You put Keanu Reeves in a movie, I will be inclined to see it. You put Keanu Reeves in an action movie, that inclination rises. I didn’t know what to expect when I actually walked into that theater. But when I walked out, my life changed. John Wick is one of the best action movies of the damn decade. It combines the classic 80s style of shoot ’em up action, where the protagonist is a killing machine and takes on an unfathomable amount of people. However, what separates this from those is its sense of realism, which is due in large part to the directing.
One reason to be hesitant about John Wick was the fact that the director, Chad Stahelski, actually had ZERO directing credits to his name. None. Not. One. I mean, usually you want someone who has done some directing before handing him an action movie starring Keanu Reeves. Usually. But it is risks like this that Hollywood needs to do more. A lower budget action movie done by a director trying to show his chops, though Stahelski is not a young gun directing this movie at the age of 45. The movie has such a distinct look and feel and the choreography of the action sequences are up there amongst the best I have ever seen. Stahelski may not have had any directing credits, but he does have 71 credits in the “stunt coordinator” section on IMDb, which makes total sense once you see the movie. And fun fact, Keanu Reeves’ stunt double on The Matrix was, you guessed it, Chad Stahelski.
Another facet of John Wick is the writing, which was written by Derek Kolstad, whose only other feature film writing credit is for a movie called The Package starring Steve Austin and Dolph Lundgren. So where the heck did he pull John Wick out of? The movie isn’t a written masterpiece, but it is a solid script and unravels a world that is nearly fully realized, as Wick has a backstory and the world existed before the cameras started rolling. What I appreciated most about the script were the relationships Wick had with characters, like Jimmy the cop, Aurelio the car dude, and most importantly Winston, Ian McShane’s contractor (?) character. All the people had back stories and a relationship with Wick, which adds to the establishment of Wick being a bad-ass killer.
So, the same team of Stahelski and Kolstead are back for the sequel, which is crucial. They know this world I trust them to add to its predecessor. There are now expectations coming along with this film, so they will have that to hurdle, but it will be exciting to see Wick being Wick again on the big screen.
John Wick: Chapter 2 hits theaters on February 10th. A great Valentine’s Day date movie!