Movie review: Keanu Reaves' new action flick "John Wick" burns lean and mean

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

I realize that the blurb declaring “John Wick” to be “the best Keanu Reeves movie since ‘The Matrix’” may not seem like much, as the dude hasn’t been in a lot of blockbusters of late.

But, man, if you want a nice, airtight blast of bloody, stylish action, you want to see “John Wick.” Whoa.

Reeves plays the titular Wick, a man who is quietly mourning the recent death of his wife. His coping mechanism comes in the form of a gift from her: a puppy.

I normally do not like to spoil plot points, but this is an early one, and one that a lot of people want to know before they go in. So, yes, Wick’s dog dies at the hands of the son of a Russian gangster. There’s actually a website to check this for all movies (

This turns out to be an unwise decision on the part of this Russian gangster’s son, as Wick’s former life comes into focus. He was a ruthlessly efficient assassin. And soon he gets to ruthlessly efficient assassinatin’.

“John Wick” is a get-what-you-expect movie of the highest order, but it pulls off some of the slickest, sickest video-game-style action I’ve seen this year.

All you really need to know about the movie is who co-directed it: two top-notch stunt coordinators. David Leitch has been a stunt double for Jean-Claude Van Damme and Brad Pitt (“Fight Club”), among others. Chad Stahelski was even the stand-in for Reeves in “The Matrix.” So they’ve been around for some impressive on-screen action and learned a lot.

Reeves’ zen stoicism is perfectly suited to Wick, even as he’s piling up more headshots than a pro video gamer. This really is his best movie in years.

There are some fun twists, some great supporting acting (including Willem Dafoe) and just enough plot to stitch all the bloody mayhem together. It doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but if you want your action fix, you want “John Wick.”

"John Wick"

3 stars out of 4