Like soiled schoolgirl underwear from a Japanese used panties vending machine (oh yeah, they exist), everything old is new again. And because original ideas are rarer in Hollywood than a pair of natural tits, a couple of stuntmen with delusions of grandeur threw 20 different shoot 'em ups from the 90s and early Aughts - mostly John Woo jawns - into a blender and called the resulting concoction John Wick.
Maybe that's where they got the "John" for the title? "Wick" is a more-obvious-than-a-fart-in-a-car stand in for "fuse." Because, you know, once you light John's fuse you better get the fuck outta Dodge. And people say clever wordplay is dead.
I guess they're right.
The elevator pitch for John Wick must have been over before the doors even closed. A Russian mobster's son steals Wick's (Keanu Reeves) car and kills his dog. Wick single-handedly avenges both car and dog by punching, kicking, stabbing and shooting his way through the entire Bratva. The End.
Despite having such a retardiculously simple premise, John Wick relies on so many "Are you fucking kidding me?!" coincidences to get things moving and keep them rolling that if just one more popped up the movie would collapse into a black hole of sheer improbability.
Mere days after the death of his wife, Wick receives a dog delivery from beyond the grave. The very . . . next . . . day, he bumps into the mini-mafioso, Iosef (Alfie "Theon Greyjoy" Allen), at a gas station, which leads directly to the car stealin' and dog stompin'.
Of all the gas stations in all the towns in all of New Jersey, Wick and Iosef just happen to be at the same one at the same time. And though Iosef doesn't know it, Wick used to just happen to work for Iosef's mob boss father, Viggo (Michael Nyqvist), because Wick JUST HAPPENS to be the most badass, unstoppable hitman since Jean Reno's Leon.
And the parade of fortuitous circumstances marches on. Viggo reaches out to Marcus (Willem Dafoe), another crackerjack hitman, to take out Wick. Only it just so happens that Marcus is Wick's bestie ensuring that he won't, in fact, kick Wick in the dick. There's a hotel and a body disposal service that cater to hitmen and hitwomen (hitpeople? mortality acceleration technicians?), and both are, for some reason, gold coin operated. Thankfully for him, Wick always has a pocketful.
But it's John Wick's ending that really breaks the What The Fuck Barrier. I won't spoil it here, but if it doesn't make you - depending on your temperament - roll your eyes, yell, "Aw, hell no!" at the screen or shit yourself in disbelief, you probably thought the freeway bus jump scene in Speed made perfect sense. And I have some beachfront property in Kansas I'll sell you cheap.
Oh, and for the record, there are no self-service gas stations in New Jersey. Crazy as it sounds, that's the law. Yet both the Russki pukes and Wick pump their own gas at what is clearly a Joisey petroleumery when they first meet up.
Cinemavenger - 1. Lazy Hollywood hacks - 0.
And for another record, all the "groundbreaking" bullet ballet in John Wick looks suspiciously like the gun kata bits from 2002's Christian Bale-starring Equilibrium.
Cinemavenger - 2. Lazy Hollywood hacks - 0.
And don't think I didn't notice that the electronic melody that surfaces again and again bears more than a passing resemblance to the title theme for The Matrix follow-on, The Animatrix.
Game, set and motherfuckin' match - Cinemavenger.
Wyld Stallyns couldn't drag me to the inevitable John Wick sequel.
October 26, 2014