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Sunday, February 15, 2015

John Wick



The Best Supporting Puppy Oscar for 2014 goes to John Wick's adorable beagle. Really, every other award is rendered irrelevant. In John Wick, a darker, angrier Keanu Reeves returns to his Matrix action form as the titular character, a retired, recently widowed Russian bratva assassin. His late wife (Bridget Moynahan) gifts John Wick the most incredible little beagle, shining a light in John Wick's mourning heart. Then the spoiled, idiot son (Alfie Allen from Game of Thrones) of his former boss (Michael Nyquist) tries to steal his car and kills his beloved dog, setting off a chain of bloody, ultra violent events as John Wick goes on the warpath. Until John Wick unfolds, you never even knew you wanted to see a vengeful Neo go all out to hunt down and murder Theon Greyjoy. Ramsay Snow would reek of envy.

When John Wick declares war on his former bratva, the movie plunges us into a the shadow world of Russian organized crime in New York City. We move through the places we never knew existed, such as the hotel run by Ian McShane and concierge Lance Reddick from The Wire, which has particularly strict rules about no "business" conducted on its premises. There's also the gloriously decadent nightclub with underground neon pools that John Wick shoots up while trying to shoot up Allen. Meanwhile, Nyquist puts a bounty on John Wick's head, with fellow professionals Willem DaFoe and Adrianne Palicki coming to collect, guns blazing. The slew of terrific actors keep coming; John Leguizamo, Clarke Peters also from The Wire, and even WWE's Kevin Nash pop in to help or hinder John Wick respectively. Through it all, Keanu hits action highs he hasn't achieved in fifteen years, ripping apart the Russian mafia in a brazenly entertaining ballet of gunfire, car chases, and righteous fury. Don't ever, ever harm John Wick's dog is the moral of the story. The Russians learned this lesson the hard way, as the audience watching John Wick giddily go, "Whoa!"