Director(s): Chad Stahelski, David Leitch (uncredited)
Cast: Keanu Reeves, Michael Nyqvist, Adrianne Palicki
Release Date:February 3, 2015
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 9/10
Disc Rating: 9/10
When sadistic young thugs senselessly attack John Wick – a brilliantly lethal ex-assassin – they have no idea that they’ve just awakened the boogeyman. With New York City as his bullet-riddled playground, Wick embarks on a merciless rampage, hunting down his adversaries with the skill and ruthlessness that made him an underworld legend.
John Wick used to be the best assassin in the business, but after accomplishing a seemingly impossible task was allowed to retire so that he could marry the woman he loved and start a new life. After losing his wife some time later he has little keeping him sane, nothing but his car and a puppy which was a last gift from his late wife, and when a group of ruthless thugs break into John’s home and take everything he had left that was dear to him, he finally snaps. Now John will stop at nothing to find the thugs responsible and make them pay for what they’ve done, even if that means having to go through the entire Russian mob in order to do so.
After many years working behind the scenes, Chad Stahelski and David Leitch make their directorial debut with ‘John Wick’ (although David Leitch is uncredited in the final film) from a screenplay by mostly unknown (at least to me) screenwriter Derek Kolstad. Stahelski and Leitch do a fantastic job at the helm of the film and the breathtaking action sequences along with all of the other beautiful imagery is well handled and you can really see the love these two have for what they’re doing shine through in their work. The film also benefits greatly from a well selected cast, including Keanu Reeves in one of his best roles yet, along with the likes of Willem Dafoe, John Leguizamo , Adrianne Palicki , Ian McShane , Lance Reddick , Michael Nyqvist, Alfie Allen and more, all of whom deliver performances that couldn’t be more spot on and fitting to the film.
‘John Wick’ is action-packed insanity with some real style. It delivers in every possible way, easily placing itself in my book as one of the best American action films in years, and up there with even some truly impressive recent foreign treasures. The entire movie looks gorgeous from start to end, the rich and prominent colors ever-present throughout contribute greatly to the overall feel of the film and give it a unique touch that also adds a beauty to the action sequences that feels like a nod to many similar films, such as some of John Woo’s older efforts. In short, ‘John Wick’ is not to be missed for those who enjoy a solid action film and it’s a rare treat of an action-packed gem that is certainly also going to get a lot of replay value and therefore well worth a blind buy on Blu-Ray in my opinion if you haven’t yet had the pleasure of the film.
The Blu-Ray release of ‘John Wick’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing the film’s original 2.40:1 Cinemascope Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks fantastic, the rich and vibrant colors that are so prominent in the film look absolutely gorgeous and every aspect of the video presentation looks sharp, detailed and spot-on, with no faults to speak of found throughout; even the frequent fast moving and action packed sequences hold up admirably, never resulting in pixilation or any other issues as a rest of the frenetic activity occurring. Fans and newcomers to this fantastic action film alike will be more than pleased with this top notch high definition video presentation.
The Blu-Ray release features a lossless 7.1 channel Dolby TrueHD/Atmos Mix soundtrack which sounds phenomenal and hits full force, never holding any punches (or gunshots) back. The numerous action sequences take full advantage of the soundtrack, hitting hard at every opportunity and sending bullets, debris and anything else currently present scattering into every available channel and really immersing the viewer into the action, while never detracting from the audibility of any dialogue that might be occurring simultaneously. Even during many of the quieter moments the film’s score, along with numerous natural background elements are frequently present in the surrounding channels, providing a consistently active and immersive soundtrack for the majority of the runtime. This is another very impressive Dolby TrueHD/Atmos Mix soundtrack that easily gets top marks.
The Blu-Ray release of ‘John Wick’ also includes some fun and worthwhile bonus content. Included on the release is an Audio Commentary track featuring Director’s Chad Stahelski and David Leitch. Also included are the Theatrical Trailer and a number of Behind the Scenes Featurette’s that explore numerous aspects in the process of bringing the film to life, from the fight choreography to a look behind the directing duo. The Included Featurette’s range anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes or so in length and include: ‘Don’t F— with John Wick’; ‘Calling in the Cavalry’; ‘Destiny of a Collective’; ‘The Assassin’s Code’; ‘The Red Circle’ and ‘NYC Noir’.