Nothing much is surprising about the latest action thriller “John Wick,” except for the fact that it isn’t completely terrible.
The plot is raw and unoriginal — vengeful assassin Keanu Reeves takes out a lot of bad people after they steal his car and kill his dog, a final present from his dying wife.
Every indication points in the direction of an absolute bust of a movie. The trailer is downright comical in the worst possible way.
It shouldn’t make sense that “a vengeful Keanu Reeves” is something anyone really wants to see, given what poor quality Reeves has put out over the last decade.
Yet somehow, despite all the tell-tale red flags of a poor movie, “John Wick” overcomes them all and is actually a pretty serviceable traditional action film, reminiscent of a more modern homage to “The Boondock Saints,” a film about vigilante killers who don’t really have, or need, a good reason to kill the bad guys.
Forget the plot. It’s unimportant. Skip over the uneven acting of leads Reeves, Michael Nyqvist, Willem Dafoe and Adrianne Palicki.
What “John Wick” excels at is replicating the action and excitement of “The Matrix” films without any science fiction jargon or the overly technical philosophical implications.
People need to die and John Wick is the guy who needs to kill them.
That kind of film isn’t for everyone, but ardent action fans will appreciate a quality traditional action thriller that isn’t burdened with too many stars (“The Expendables” series) or too many sequels (“Taken” series).