John Wick

Obviously there’s nothing new here in terms of the story – a man who is extremely good at killing is given opportunities to kill hundreds of faceless henchmen – but there is some amusement to be had from the sheer relentlessness of the over-the-top violence, which doesn’t let up once it has started; in fact I’m struggling to remember seeing a film with as many exploding blood squibs or ruthlessly-executed headshots as this one. The title role-occupying Keanu Reeves isn’t required to speak much, but handles all the shooting and driving and punching and stabbing well enough, while there are several notable supporting actors to briefly ogle (the casts of Game of Thrones and The Wire have been plundered, bumping up the number of talented people who get a minute or two of screen time… if they’re lucky). As with any movie that is determinedly one-note it actually gets a bit boring after an hour or so, but John Wick does world-building very well and there are far more memorable shots than your average actioner. I can see why its cult status is growing among action fans, and why thirst for a sequel has swiftly been slaked, even if it much of it is treading water. (***)