Keanu Reeves Back on Top in John Wick
It's your typical action movie but it's awesome anyway: critics
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 24, 2014 10:41 AM CDT

(Newser) – An ex-hitman gets back to business after losing his wife and his dog in John Wick. The flick starring Keanu Reeves, Swedish actor Michael Nyqvist, and Game of Thrones' Alfie Allen is much like your typical action movie, but with a few surprises. (And a neat side note: First-time director Chad Stahelski was Reeves' stunt double in two Matrix films.) Here's what critics are saying:

  • Wick's "journey may be a movie staple, but its execution here is near flawless," writes Jeannette Catsoulis at the New York Times. "This crafty revenge thriller delivers with so much style—and even some wit—that the lack of substance takes longer than it should to become problematic." Reeves, meanwhile, is "the perfect locus for the film's hyper-real savagery."

  • Robert Abele also has kind words. "The sleek and eccentric revenge tale jabs far above its weight class thanks to the panther physicality of 50-year-old headliner Keanu Reeves and a tightly pitched mix of humor and expertly choreographed hyper-violence," he writes at the Los Angeles Times. "If anyone deserves a Liam Neeson-like tough guy renaissance, it's this scruffier, more charmingly stoic version of the once-awkwardly robotic star."
  • Rafer Guzman at Newsday wasn't quite as taken with it. "John Wick is so unclear on its own concept that it thrashes around desperately like one of Wick's unfortunate victims," he writes. "Imagine a combination of Unforgiven and Men in Black, and you're getting close." Though there are "moments of offbeat humor," overall, it's a bit boring, Guzman says.
  • Not so for Colin Covert at the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Reeves is "back on track" with the "pleasurable" John Wick, which Covert argues should be the start of an action franchise. "Reeves performs his high-tempo gun-fu with acrobatic grace" while the flick "transforms the current zeal for hit-man movies into a mix of propulsive homicide and giddy farce."