DVD Review: John Wick

JohnDVDSTUDIO: Lionsgate | DIRECTOR: Chad Stahelski | CAST: Keanu Reeves, Michael Nyqvist, Ian McShane, John Leguizamo, Willem Dafoe, Adrianne Palicki, Bridget Moynahan
RELEASE DATE: 2/3/15 | PRICE: DVD $29.95, Blu-ray $39.95
BONUSES: director commentary. six featurettes
SPECS: R | 101 min. | Action thriller | 2.40:1 widescreen | Dolby Digital 5.1/DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 | English and Spanish subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5 dishes): Movie  | Audio | Video  | Overall 

 

John Wick is nothing new, but it is something special, a stylish thriller loaded with first-rate action scenes, memorable set pieces and a Keanu Reeves (47 Ronin) performance that is the best the actor has given since he entered The Matrix.

Keanu Reeves is John Wick

Keanu Reeves is John Wick

An impressive directorial debut from stunt coordinators Chad Stahelski and the uncredited David Leitch, the film centers on the title character played by Reeves, a solemn widower who goes ballistic when the son of a Russian mobster steals his prized ’69 Mustang and kills his cute dog. Turns out Reeves’ Wick is a retired assassin who must re-enter his old stomping grounds while seeking revenge. And that means rubbing shoulders with some pretty surly people, including former boss, a Russian mobster (Michael Nyqvist, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol), father of the canine-slaughtering culprit (Alfie Allen, TV” Game of Thrones), and a hot-to-trot hit lady (Adrianne Palicki, Legion).

We’re in 1970s-1980s Walter Hill territory here, folks, so style definitely goes before substance, but what style is displayed here! There’s poetry in Reeves’ motion whether battling scores of creeps with scintillating shootouts or displaying some marvelous martial arts moves. Lots of mayhem takes place in a sleek hotel (run by an equally sleek Ian McShane of Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides fame) that caters to an array of elite executioners—all the better to stage some furiously violent and intricately choreographed set pieces.

John Wick did a solid $43 million at the box-office, but this is really the ideal movie for Blu-ray. This is one cool film with a high repeatability factor that will look and sound great at home.

Bonus features on the DVD and Blu-ray include a commentary by the filmmakers and a half-dozen featurettes detailing the film’s production, noir-ishness and action sequences.

 

 

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About Irv

Irv Slifkin has been reviewing movies since before he got kicked off of his high school radio station for panning The Towering Inferno in 1974. He has written the books VideoHound’s Groovy Movies: Far-Out Films of the Psychedelic Era and Filmadelphia: A Celebration of a City’s Movies, and has contributed film reportage and reviews to such outlets as Entertainment Weekly, The Hollywood Reporter, Video Business magazine and National Public Radio.