Jump to content
Forums forums
PRIMETIMER
arc

John Wick (2014)

Recommended Posts

via imdb: "An ex-hitman comes out of retirement to track down the gangsters that took everything from him."

 

The action and world-building in this are great. For the action, I don't think I've ever seen such a seamless blend of martial arts -- in this case, mostly MMA style grappling -- and gunplay.  The world-building is actually quite reminiscent of Looper: stylish assassins live the high life in a (figuratively) parallel world with elaborate systems built to sustain and support their careers and their recreation.  (fwiw, I was actually thinking "hey, this feels kinda like the assassins' world in Looper" before I read the AV Club review that also referenced Rian Johnson.)

 

I think the storytelling is a bit off, structurally, though.  The tiny flash-forward at the start feels awkward. It takes a while to get to the inciting incident. And most of all, it feels like the story really should come to an end about when John Wick kills the gangster's son who started the whole thing, but instead there's a really long coda that wraps up Dafoe's character, gives Wick a SECOND bout of Needing Revenge, and finishes up Adrienne Palicki's character too, and finishes Dean Winters and Michael Nyquist off too. It's just all-around awkward IMO.

Edited by arc
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

I have to disagree. I think by wrapping up the story the way they did gave the story an ending. I would have left the theater pissed if the movie had just ended with the son being killed. I think the audience needed to see what happened to Marcus and the female assassin (I was so incensed when Harry died, completely needless). It was more than just emotional payoff for the audience, it was finishing the story. It would have been incomplete otherwise.

 

Plus, it was worth it to see the Russian guy's villainous breakdown. Seriously, keep away with a weapon. Hee!

 

I think it was a nice mix of action and humor overall. The violence though... After a certain point, it just becomes funny and I blame my recent viewing of The Equalizer on that. I laughed at the church scene.

 

Daisy was cute though. I can't imagine her/his owner having watched the finished scene though. *shudder*

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post

Daisy was cute though. I can't imagine her/his owner having watched the finished scene though. *shudder*

 

I'll admit it, I was maddest about that. The theater was moderately crowded when I went to see it, and I said, "You fuckers, you killed the dog!"

 

While I've always thought that Keanu Reeves is limited as an actor, when he's playing someone who doesn't have a damn to give,he's excellent. John's tiredness, for lack of a better word for it, starts to disappear as he's digging the hole to bury Daisy, and from there he becomes a sort of juggernaut who rolls on determinedly with little regard for his own safety. I don't know if this can be another Matrix for him, what with the secondary characters (with the notable exception of Ian McShane's Winston) being killed, but not every movie has to have a sequel. I give this one an A Minus. Because they killed the dog.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

I have to disagree. I think by wrapping up the story the way they did gave the story an ending. I would have left the theater pissed if the movie had just ended with the son being killed. I think the audience needed to see what happened to Marcus and the female assassin (I was so incensed when Harry died, completely needless). It was more than just emotional payoff for the audience, it was finishing the story. It would have been incomplete otherwise.

Oh definitely. If I had a chance to 'fix' the structure according to my desires, I wouldn't just end the movie when the son died and call it a day. As you say, there was other stuff to wrap up. But I think it might be possible to move a bunch of it around such that the son dies at the end, maybe together with the gangster father.

Share this post


Link to post

Holy fuck, that was a lot of dead people in a short amount of time.

 

How the hell did everyone BUT Josef know who John Wick was? Ugh.

 

Loved the action, though, as usual, I had to suspend my disbelief at one man basically single-handedly taking out all those people.

 

I liked that the father punched his kid repeatedly when he heard what the kid had done. My only complaint was that he bothered to try and protect his fucking useless, spoiled child. And on that note, why do competent, professional bad guys allow their sons to get that way? I mean, the dude broke into a guy's house, beat him half to death and murdered a dog for a motherfucking car that, truthfully, he could probably have found and bought off someone else if he expended a tiny amount of effort. How shitty a human being do you have to be to do what he did?? I was so hoping that the father was going to call John Wick and be all "my bad, man. My kid's a fucking idiot. I've tossed him out on his ear; he's dead to me. Do whatever you feel is best but can you leave me and my crew out of it? 'K, thanks!"  :) I can't remember though...why didn't Josef just kill John when he killed the man's dog? Did he want him to suffer through the loss of his pet? Bet he regrets that shit! :)

 

I really liked Keanu's performance when he revealed to Viggo why the puppy wasn't just some dog to him. And Viggo's "oh fuck my life, seriously?" reaction killed me. :D

 

I kind of feel bad for Viggo's men. They were all sent to slaughter in order to protect some puppy-killer and they literally all died FOR NOTHING.

 

I lost count of how many times I said "oh hey, it's so-and-so!"

 

I was amazed that Bridget Moynahan got such high billing for so very little. I felt that Keanu faltered a little bit at the beginning but goddamn can he do the emotionless yet highly efficient killing machine well! That said, I did get the giggles during his final showdown with Viggo; I think he repeated the last couple words of Viggo's lines multiple times. "....just you and me, now ok?" "...you and me"; "not bullets, just us", "no bullets, just us" etc. I started to feel like Viggo was the drama teacher behind the curtain feeding lines to the star. ;)

 

Goddamn but that beagle puppy was adorable...

Edited by NoWillToResist
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

 

I was amazed that Michelle Monaghan got such high billing for so very little.

 

Hee, that's Bridget Moynahan, not Michelle Monaghan, though I often confuse them too, they have very similar 'just missed it" careers and of course their last names are similar.

 

I thought Keanu was actually strongest in the beginning I've always found him best when he communicates grief (Permanent Record, The Rivers Edge) probs because the man has had way more than his fair share in life. 

 

I also liked that the mobster chose to protect his son, I think it's part of the ethics and honor amongst thieves things they were trying to portray. If it had been anyone else but his kid, he'd have given him up to Wick, but what kind of dick throws their kid to the Boogeyman, without at least trying to save him first? I loved his line about how whatever pain they experienced was due to having done so very many terrible things. Yup.

 

I also liked that rusty out of the game Wick wasn't perfect in the field, he totally needed Willem DaFoe as Angel hitman on his shoulder to attain vengeance.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

How the hell did everyone BUT Josef know who John Wick was? Ugh.

 

I think it was because, as you said, Josef was fucking useless and didn't seem to be good for much of anything except occasionally breaking heads for his father. I also loved Viggo's reaction when John Leguizamo's character explained why he punched the kid.

 

Viggo: "I understand you struck my son today."

Aurelio: "Yes sir, I did."

Viggo: "May I ask why?"

Aurelio: "Well, sir, he stole John Wick's car, and., uh, he killed his dog."

Viggo:(pause) "Oh."

 

Just "oh," in that resigned sort of tone, because he already knows the little punk is a fuck-up, and now he's really stepped in the shit. Like, up to his knees. And no phone call is going to prevent what's going to happen, because John cannot, will not, be reasoned with.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post

 

Hee, that's Bridget Moynahan, not Michelle Monaghan, though I often confuse them too, they have very similar 'just missed it" careers and of course their last names are similar.

 

Whoops! Heh. Thanks for the heads-up. I fixed my post.

 

 

I thought Keanu was actually strongest in the beginning I've always found him best when he communicates grief

 

I felt he did fine in the hospital, but when he was talking to Willem Dafoe at the cemetary, the lack of inflection really took me out of the movie for a moment. I had no problem after that, and particularly liked his angry outburst of grief when explaining why the dog was so important to him.

 

Viggo: "I understand you struck my son today."

Aurelio: "Yes sir, I did."

Viggo: "May I ask why?"

Aurelio: "Well, sir, he stole John Wick's car, and., uh, he killed his dog."

Viggo:(pause) "Oh."

 

I was super impressed that he actually called to get an explanation, rather than just send someone to hurt/kill him for hitting his kid. And yes, his reaction was priceless. I can respect that his instinct was to protect his son, but personally, once he called John and knew that John was not going to let the kid off the hook, he really should have just given the kid up as dead and saved himself a lot of time, money, men, and his own life. ;)

 

 

And no phone call is going to prevent what's going to happen, because John cannot, will not, be reasoned with.

 

I confess I would like to have known what Viggo would have suggested if John had been willing to listen. I mean, did Viggo think he could just return the car, get John another dog and they could call it square?

 

I still cannot fathom how Josef didn't know who Wick was. He was apparently a fucking LEGEND and had only been out of the game for five years. His FATHER feared Wick...no one told stories about Wick's skills? When Josef first talked to Wick at the gas station and got all pissy, I thought the guy who pulled him away and was all "have a nice day" to Wick was trying to protect Josef from doing something stupid...but apparently not. They could have cleared this with a teeny inclusion when Viggo confronted his son. Josef could have been all "Oh shit, what??? Why haven't you told me about him before?" (or something like that). It just blew my mind that Josef, having taken a beating from his father, wasn't remotely worried about Wick, even though his father - who is fucking Russian mafia or whatever - CLEARLY thought they were fucked.

Edited by NoWillToResist

Share this post


Link to post

I liked this movie. It'll probably be something that when it comes on TV, I'll stop and watch it, at least some of it. Little things about the movie made me smile:

 

1) The police officer coming to John's door and them letting him go about his business.

2) The clean up crew.

3) The breed of his second dog (my fave breed!) (BTW, was the ending just a coincidence? He just happened upon a place that had medical supplies, in this case a vet.)

4) He was a total badass that got injured, really injured, and needed some saving. I'm going to say he kept going despite the injuries due to adrenaline.

5) Hotel that caters to that clientele. I would think though that a hotel like that would have a tailor or personal shopper on staff.  

 

As much as I liked the movie, I wonder if someone else would've been slightly better in the role. Keanu can play these types of characters. I just found during the scene when he's talking to the Russian guy before he's about to suffocated, I cringed. That didn't work for me.

 

I agree the dad should've just gave up his son from the get go. He did anyway. He would've saved himself a lot of time, money and men in this situation and in the future. You just know the kid was going to fuck up again. And probably again after that. I totally agree that dad dropped the ball big time in not raising a better kid. Didn't he want someone to take over the family business one day and not run it into the ground?

 

After reading this thread, it made me realize that, yeah, the son should've known who John Wick was.

 

And what kind of dad do you have to be to raise a psycho that doesn't just steal the car but beats the guy up and kills a dog? For what? John didn't insult him or anything. He didn't want to sell his car and let the kid know he understand what he said. It's wasn't that serious.

 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

I confess I would like to have known what Viggo would have suggested if John had been willing to listen. I mean, did Viggo think he could just return the car, get John another dog and they could call it square?

 

I think maybe John might have let it slide if Josef and his friends had just taken the car. He might have even been willing to take a beating. Given the amount of damage that gets inflicted on him during the movie, a few whacks with a baseball bat and some kicks aren't that big of a deal. But the brutality of killing Daisy, the fact that Josef did it for laughs, was what he couldn't abide. You'll notice the body was lying next to John when he woke up, a final "fuck you" from the punk.

Share this post


Link to post
3) The breed of his second dog (my fave breed!) (BTW, was the ending just a coincidence? He just happened upon a place that had medical supplies, in this case a vet.)

 

I confess I worked with the assumption that it was a shelter/pound - I mean, it was in the middle of fuck nowhere (not sure how many people would go there to have Fluffy treated). ;)  Also, I prefer my interpretation because otherwise, John stole someone's fucking dog, thus potentially inflicting similar loss on someone else.

 

 

 

I think maybe John might have let it slide if Josef and his friends had just taken the car. He might have even been willing to take a beating. Given the amount of damage that gets inflicted on him during the movie, a few whacks with a baseball bat and some kicks aren't that big of a deal. But the brutality of killing Daisy, the fact that Josef did it for laughs, was what he couldn't abide. You'll notice the body was lying next to John when he woke up, a final "fuck you" from the punk.

 

Oh for sure it was all about the dog. I mean, I'm sure he was pissed about the car but it didn't have the sentimental value that Daisy had. Also, a car can be returned but Daisy cannot be resurrected. Josef could have simply knocked the dog out to keep it quiet, but that wasn't good enough apparently. Ugh. What an ass. I'm bizarrely annoyed that so many men unnecessarily died because of this waste of skin.

 

I was a little gutted when John put his wife's bracelet (necklace?) on his bedside table and it was shortly afterward joined by Daisy's collar. It was just a sad little collection symbolizing the devastating emotional losses he'd endured in so short a time.

 

Anyone have any idea what the value of those coins was? Clearly it could only be used by someone in their criminal circles but I'd love to know how you determine its worth. One coin for a room...one for each dead body you clean up...

Edited by NoWillToResist
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

I like the idea of it being a pound as well. Stealing dogs is not cool.

I wondered about the coins as well. I wondered if they were particular to this organization. Or is it some kind of Russian money?

Share this post


Link to post

I think it's just criminal underground money. Actually, I can't 100% recall if the hotel rent is paid in gold coins, but the killers themselves are paid that way whether they're full time employees (as Wick used to be) or freelancers... maybe.  I mean, the contract on Wick's life was set at "2 million", probably dollars and not coins, but OTOH Wick offered that other freelancer a coin to hold the female assassin captive for a day and that guy definitely wasn't either freelancing to work the Wick contract nor a mob employee.  Similarly, the cleanup crew was paid in coins and presumably they're not directly part of Viggo's empire.

 

I wonder if the writer or directors ever drew out org charts for the world of this movie.

Share this post


Link to post

I enjoyed the movie. Yeah, it was a bit weird that the kid had no idea who John was, but maybe he was just that kid who paid no attention to those who worked for his father and did this sort of thing regularly. That is still a bit of a stretch, though, and I am not sure why it was important that John actually worked for Viggo in the past.

 

I wasn't quite sure what the point was with Harry. Sure, I liked the character, and I guess that one could consider him to be a guardian angel character, but he seemed to be more and more like Checkov's bullet recipient as the movie progressed.

 

The assassin hotel was an interesting idea. I was spoiled about the plot point that Adrienne's character would die by Ian's goons, but I was under the impression that it would take place at the hotel. I had this scenario in my head during the fight between her and John that hotel security would show up just as John is about to kill her, Ian's character would remind him of the rules, and then security would kill her for violating the rules. Or something like that. That she didn't die then and there was a bit disappointing and she did not really have much to do in the movie after killing Clarke Peters.

Share this post


Link to post

 I mean, the contract on Wick's life was set at "2 million", probably dollars and not coins,

 

Viggo even doubled the amount on the contract to four million, provided that someone was willing to kill John in the Continental itself. That was why Ms. Perkins ambushed John in his room after he'd been hurt at the night club.

 

Also, trivia - the actor who played Charlie, the cleaner that came to John's house to deal with the bodies of the hit squad, is David Patrick Kelly, who was in the 1979 classic The Warriors, which I recommend to those who haven't seen it.

Share this post


Link to post

They did mention dollars in the movie, didn't they? They didn't just say 2 million or 4 million, right? Did we see dollar bills in that thing in the church?

Share this post


Link to post

I went to see this last night with my brothers and my SO and we all loved it.  I was of course there for the Keanu and sort of made the others see it, but they had a good time.  My youngest brother tried to understand the plotholes, I had to tell him to let it go.  One would think Iosef would know who John Wick was, but Iosef wasn't the kind of guy who was too concerned about history.  He saw what he wanted and he took it.  He also couldn't understand why Marcus just didn't kill the female assassin when she went into John's room at the Continental.  He shot the headboard to warn him, but he could've taken her out.  

Share this post


Link to post

I want to see a movie about that hotel and its inner working.  Hell, an Ian McShane movie is worth it, anyway.  The ONLY thing I don't like about this movie (other than the killing of the puppy) is that he winds up with a pit bull.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

He also couldn't understand why Marcus just didn't kill the female assassin when she went into John's room at the Continental.  He shot the headboard to warn him, but he could've taken her out.  

 

The hotel was supposed to be a neutral zone. If Marcus had killed her, management would have been the one to kill him. If nothing else, John, Marcus, and Harry honored the "rules." TV tropes has some good info about the movie, if you guys and gals are interested.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

Something that just occurred to me, that I laughed at when I saw it.  All of the hordes of Russian bad guys that John kills in the Red Circle are, literally, red shirts.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

If it's the organization's $, can you get it exchanged for $ to use in the real world? Pretty sure McDonalds isn't taking those coins. What's the exchange rate?

The assumption is that this movie takes place in the real world and that there even is a McDonalds in that city. If someone said the word "dollars" or if we see any American currency, then it is settled. I just don't remember either being in the movie.

I want to see a movie about that hotel and its inner working.  Hell, an Ian McShane movie is worth it, anyway.  The ONLY thing I don't like about this movie (other than the killing of the puppy) is that he winds up with a pit bull.

Me too. Then again, I also wanted to see more of the daily life in the apartment complex in The Raid.

Share this post


Link to post

I think pitbulls are tough to love due to their (I think mythic) reputation as being bred for aggression. And I mean my niece was scarred for life by a pitbull, but I blame the owner not the poor animal. I thought it was a  meta thing that Wick was "rescuing" a dog breed with a bad reputation.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

Yeah, pitbulls have a bad reputation, but they're not so much bred for aggression as they are abused into it. I'm not saying they haven't attacked people, but generally if they do it's because the owner is an asshole and shouldn't be allowed to have any dog, period. The dog John picked up will probably have a better life with him than he did with his last owners.

Share this post


Link to post

I don't think it would have mattered if Josef knew who Wick was. He was the over compensating type, raised by a bully, who makes himself feel better by hurting others. I also liked that Wick chose a pit bull in the end. I think he identified with a pit bull.

Edited by bubbls

Share this post


Link to post

Keanu had me feel in some type of way, dude made my lady parts sing.

Love watching a sexy man, go on a righteous killing spree.

I cackled when the Cleaner guy showed up, all giddy over John's return to the biz.

Dude was literally counting the future earnings in his head.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post

Just saw the movie and loved it. I screamed out loud when Daisy, the cutest puppy alive was killed but I am happy he found a new pup. For those of you who were wondering, the note on the pup's cage said "to be put down", so John saved a (very cute) life by committing that bit of theft.

Edited by corinne
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

I finally watched this movie and as expected, I enjoyed it immensely. I've always liked Keanu Reeves. His reputation as a genuinely kind actor in the business really helps and he seems to be a private celebrity. I think he can act, but his range is limited. He did well in the beginning with the grief. He does have screen presence and I believe that is an asset for a lead actor especially in action movies. I don't believe everyone can be an action star, but Reeves has been a major one at least once in the last three decades. Not many other actors have those kind of chances or the ability to do that. With the announcement of a sequel to this movie, he's set to be in another action franchise.

 

I don't have many issues with the plot since I naturally check a lot of disbelief out the door when going into these movies. However, Iosef not knowing John seemed believable to me because assassins are not spoken of in the same way as crime lords. John retired and seemed to be very private. He did his jobs and that was that. Only his bosses knew what he did for them. Also, Iosef was an idiot. I hope Alfie Allen doesn't keep getting typecast as sociopathic arses.

 

The revenge premise and the style reminded me more of European and East Asian action films. Not surprised that these movies and styles inspired the film alongside anime. It did feel very anime in certain action sequences especially the club scenes.

 

While it was dark and seemingly humor free, I thought the movie knew what it was and didn't take itself too seriously. I actually laughed out loud and found it amusing at times. There were lots of funny deadpan moments where the audience would get the humor (Viggo's interactions with various characters, the cop scene, etc.) Even John's whole stick about killing Iosef because of Daisy reminded me of The Princess Bride's Inigo Montoya. This movie is Taken but with a puppy. It works extremely well for all of us animal lovers and those who love action films. I felt in all the serious moments, there was just enough to be like, "Hey, this is just a fun action film," Addictive and entertaining stuff.

 

Good world building, some very memorable supporting characters, and a good action flick all around. I look forward to the sequel.

  • Like 6

Share this post


Link to post

Keanu had me feel in some type of way, dude made my lady parts sing.

Love watching a sexy man, go on a righteous killing spree.

 

Like the funniest thing I've read on here today! And ITA!

 

For those of you who were wondering, the note on the pup's cage said "to be put down", so John saved a (very cute) life by committing that bit of theft.

 

I didn't see that sign. Makes me love John even more. I've owned a "pit bull". Sweetest dog ever!

 

When I heard they were making a sequel, I got excited.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

After months of delay I finally put this one on last night. Holy Shit, this will be a Cable Movie I watch scenes of for years to come! I do need to go back and watch the first 15 or so minutes again to pick up on everything with his wife and Marcus and whatnot, since I'll probably rarely catch those again.

 

Anyway, some of the fun explanations I worked out in my head after watching.

 

Iosef's lack of knowledge of Wick - I buy this on the following premise. Wick says he's been out of the game for 5 years and change. Assuming Iosef is 21, which given his maturity may even be a stretch that would put him at 15-16 the last time John was relevant. At that age, I'd assume Viggo would have been sheltering Iosef from his dealings. Having him away at some boarding school, or otherwise isolated. As Iosef becomes involved in the family business (probably around 18-20) Wick is but a memory. Maybe he hears stories, but I'd get that he wouldn't know the face. Wick retiring in the Tri State area, makes it reasonable to assume he's still living in the area of Viggo's "business" dealings.

 

The Gold Coins - My idea here is that The Continental is the laundering front for the coins. We see the US currency in both Viggo's safe (at home) and in the Church Vault, so American currency is relevant. Paying the assassins/hitmen in the currency keeps them tied to the criminal underworld, as they can only be redeemed at The Continental or with others who deal with The Continental (Other hitmen, the cleaners, etc.). Winston (Ian McShane) is the one who can get the gold to the unsavoury buyers who redeem it for cash. If the Hitmen want to cash out their coins, they're probably taking a far more painful exchange rate than by using The Continental's services.

 

Viggo making his last stand against Wick - I imagine it takes some cojones and a violent past to rise to the top of the Russian Mob. I'm sure Viggo was a fighter in his day and figured he could last against Wick long enough to at least get the knife on him. Get Wick to throw down his gun out of pride, and try to get the jump. But I like that the filmmakers still kept it as a reasonably short fight. Viggo was overmatched.

 

The pound/dog shelter - Winston tells John that a "certain helicopter is being fueled at a certain helipad" and John knows where to go, meaning this is Viggo's standard helipad. It wouldn't surprise me at all that they have an "animal shelter" front there to have medical supplies nearby in case something goes wrong and they need to heli somebody back but can't take him to a hospital. Give it a "legitimate" front (animal shelters in low rent places like docklands make sense) and have your medical supplies nearby.

Edited by Traveller519
  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post

 

I think the storytelling is a bit off, structurally, though.  The tiny flash-forward at the start feels awkward. It takes a while to get to the inciting incident. 

 

It's funny, I watched this and thought the same thing: uh-oh, it's not following the "rules". And my thought was actually sarcastic! I actually appreciated that part of it and am frustrated by the dogma that's hammered into the brains of aspiring screenwriters. This was a good change-up. It was a slow build that introduced many aspects of the character, but left the most important part for last... it's like slowly lighting a small fire and revealing at the last possible moment that the fire is lit in a room fool of dynamite.

 

The main thing that didn't jive with me about the film was the music selections. But it was overall a pretty well crafted and the assassin underworld stuff was interesting. The music really took me out of a lot of scenes, but I guess that just comes down to a matter of taste.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

So, I just watched Chapter 2 and it was awesome, the ending was excellent and depressing though.

Spoiler

Poor John will have to look over his shoulder for the rest of his life. And worse, I didn't buy John as being angrier at Santiago than he is respectful of Winston and the Continental. But maybe Winston was right and John should have asked before refusing. There was really no way out of the situation for John, even if he knew the request before asking for Winston's advice. And Santiago should have known better than to tie up a loose end. 

Edited by PrincessEnnui

Share this post


Link to post

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...

Customize font-size