The Horror Honeys: A Ballet of Carnage...

A Ballet of Carnage...

A Revenge Honey Review by Linnie


John Wick (2014)

My name is Linnie and I am an unashamed Keanu Reeves apologist. Since I was a small child, I have been a huge fan of his work. I would watch the Bill & Ted movies and Parenthood relentlessly, and enjoyed Speed and Point Break with my action-movie-loving father. Later, I discovered his indie films on my own: My Own Private Idaho, Even Cowgirls Get the Blues, A Scanner Darkly. His forays into romance were when I struggled, but his horror and sci-fi films reminded me why I loved him, especially when it came to his performance in The Gift. When others made fun of him for what I refer to as his "minimalist acting style," I would point out that not every actor needs to turn in Jim Carrey, "LOOK AT ME" performances. And now, thanks to the gorgeous revenge thriller that is John Wick, it seems others are finally getting a chance to see what I've known for years...

When the movie is right, Keanu Reeves is actually one of our living greatest actors. So join me, as I share the brilliant cinematic experience that is John Wick.

The Plot: John Wick's beloved wife has just died after a lengthy illness. After her passing, she leaves him a puppy so he has something to love and love him back, to prevent him from getting lost in his own grief. But when a chance encounter at a gas station leads to a Russian mobster's son stealing John's mustang, beating him senseless, and worst of all, killing the puppy, John is drawn back in to his former life as one of the most feared and respected hit men in the business. He will get revenge, or he will die trying...

I'd murder Theon Greyjoy for you too, Daisy. I really, really would.



John Wick was directed by Chad Stahelski and David Leitch. Stahelski is a former stuntman, and in fact, worked as Keanu Reeves's long-time stunt double, as far back as Point Break. (He was also Brandon Lee's stunt double on The Crow and after Lee's tragic death, was chosen to perform as his photo and performance stand-in on the unfinished scenes). After John Wick, I am convinced that only the brave and talented men and women who have worked as stunt people should be directing action films. Every shot was as perfectly framed as it was choreographed. The fight scenes in John Wick were raw and visceral, yet gory and beautiful. Certain scenes called to mind the best revenge/action films from the 70s and 80s, from Point Blank to The French Connection, all kinetic camera angles and natural lighting. The film is stylish, yet not overly-polished. Stahelski and Leitch are poets and John Wick is their first true epic.

The performances in this film are just as on par with the direction, without a doubt. Reeves is completely mesmerizing, equally awe-inspiring in moments of rage as in silence. I was, literally, on the edge of my seat, during a scene when John has his moment of true revelation and finally unleashes all his rage upon Michael Nyqvist's mob boss. It has been ages since I've seen an untethered Keanu Reeves, and it made me wish I was watching John Wick at home so I could rewind the film and watch the scene again. I can't say enough about Nyqvist either. The actor plays his role with enough touches of humor that when he goes full crazy, you find yourself totally unsettled. Supporting roles from Dean Winters, Alfie Allen (Theon Greyjoy, the dog murdering asshole), Ian McShane, and Willem Defoe in dialed down, straight man mode were just as perfect. I couldn't find a false note in the whole film.


With the exception of Bridget Moynahan as John's wife, the film's sole female role belongs to Adrianne Palicki, as an assassin with no motivation outside money. I've never been a huge fan of Palicki's, and while watching John Wick, I despised her. I wanted her to die brutally and immediately. But eventually I realized, that meant she did her part well. While film was full of villains, Palicki stood out as particularly venomous, because while others fought over revenge or family or power, she only wanted to get rich. It was a one-dimension role that she elevated quite nicely.

I never imagined I'd view an action film as the future of American cinema, but that is absolutely what John Wick is. This movie is a masterclass in pacing, style, writing, performance, and direction. I was invested beginning to end, because no matter what John does, you are rooting for him. Why? Because as any pet parent knows...

It's never just a dog.


Revenge Honey Rating ~ 
5 Boogey Men out of 5