Over the years, there has been a current trend to water down the action films to get a wider audience. I can reluctantly accept that, the original Taken wasn’t a big hit at cinemas but became a bigger hit when it found its way into homes so presuming that included lots of naughty under age watchers, the second came out with a 12 rating in the UK, needless to say the second one was a massive hit (and to please some of the original fans a harder cut of the film was released when the DVD came out) but there is an old school brought up on the films of Chuck Norris/Stallone/Arnie/Van Damme and Seagal who just want their vigilante films to be big, dumb and violent. The Expendables films exploited this so well giving the audiences what they wanted and got some box office success but when they got too greedy and watered down the 3rd one despite some goodish reviews no one cared
This changed for me when John Wick came out this year as this was aimed for the action hungry older audience. Starring Keanu Reeves, who seems to get far too much grief for my liking, which seems to come from people believing he really is Ted Theodore Logan from his Bill & Ted films and a bit of an airhead or more seemingly because he tried a British accent in Dracula, whatever apart from the aforementioned Bill and Ted double bill, he also graces many a DVD collection for his films Speed, The Matrix and Point Break, I personally have always found him likeable and yes he has made some not so fantastic films, most recently 47 Ronin so I entered the screen with some doubt despite some great looking trailers.
I was actually wrong to have doubts, this was a non stop action film that was relentless on the eyes, the story is simple enough, a loner whose wife has recently passed away has a rather desirable vintage 69 Mustang car, which a big time mobster’s son has decided he wants and offers to buy it, Wick politely says its not for sale and drives off with his puppy, a last gift from his late wife who wanted him to love again. We move on, and the mobsters son seemingly wanting to prove to his dad he can be just as threatening and notorious break in, beat the sleeping Wick to a pulp and worst still kill the puppy. After recovering, the back story comes out that Wick is known to the said big time Mobster as the Baba Yaga, a Boogeyman/ghostlike character who is never seen and therefore as a Hitman unstoppable, that is all you need to know really other than the film is directed by Reeves Matrix stunt co-ordinators so the kills are elaborate and maginative, Wick kills 77 of the films 119 body count and this in a 101 minute film, no sub plots here and this keeps the film fast paced, I have to point out that as the owner of a defenceless Chihuahua so very much like a puppy I was wanting justice for the dog so was urging Wick to get them all and he did (albeit with a tiny bit of help from Willem Dafoe and err Ian McShane)
It is true that outside film, so much horrific gun and knife crime is rife so there should maybe be a responsibility for films not to show this but I believe most film goers may come out pumped with adrenaline because they have seen John Wick or Rambo like character save the day than want to commit a hideous crime, I hope that I’m not in the minority here
A sequel for Wick has already been announced and I am more than willing to spend some time in his company again although I personally hope it will be a prequel and look at his back story as being a dog lover/owner I’m not sure I could take another dog death
What do you think of John Wick or the trend for watered down action films, let me know