Keanu Reeves isn't an actor who receives a lot of praise for his films, but we don't know why. Sure he started out with the goofy Bill and Ted films, but in recent years has starred in films such as The Matrix Trilogy, A Scanner Darkly, Street Kings and 47 Ronin. This latest release, John Wick, is without doubt one of his strongest films to date.
When sadistic young thugs senselessly attack John Wick – a brilliantly lethal ex-assassin – they have no idea that they've just awakened the boogeyman. With New York City as his bullet-riddled playground, Wick embarks on a merciless rampage, hunting down his adversaries with the skill and ruthlessness that made him an underworld legend.
Fortunately it's not just Keanu Reeves that impresses in this film with a very strong supporting cast also putting in great performances. Michael Nyqvist (The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo) is superb as Viggo while his son Iosef is played by Theon Greyjoy from Game of Thrones - actor Alfie Allen. Other well-known actors making an appearance in this film include John Leguizamo, Ian McShane, Willem Dafoe, and Adrianne Palicki.
John Wick is a cracker action film and provided more fun than we've had with a film for quite some time. While the plot is a little simplistic, the wonderful action sequences and solid performances makes this a film worth checking out.
Retaining the films' original 2.40:1 aspect ratio there is no doubt that this AVC MPEG-4 encoded transfer is quite spectacular with the transfer retaining a fantastic level of detail even in the many darker scenes which are numerous throughout the film. When the film moves to brightly lit scenes the transfer shines even more. At the 43:10 mark John moves towards a bar which is lit with bright green lights and it looks simply wonderful as his and the bar womans skin is illuminated while moments later the camera is focused on the band which is lit with brilliant red lights.
Many of the scenes in the film have a coloured tint to them which may look odd but are as the filmmaker intended and aren't a fault of the transfer. If we were to pick a slight fault it's that on some rare occasions the transfer isn't quite a sharp as one would expect with some light compression and ringing artifacts present.
If we are to pick a slight disappointment it's that the American release of this film includes a Dolby Atmos mix - which with the lack of hardware around would mean most would "only" get a Dolby TrueHD 7.1 audio experience but that would still be an upgrade on the 5.1 sound provided on this disc.
Audio Commentary: Directors Chad Stahelski and David Leitch provide an insightful audio commentary which discusses creating the film, the sets and actors as expected. There is plenty of detail here (including the fact early on that the original cut of the film was 2 hours 20 minutes), and it's worth a listen.
Don't F*ck With John Wick (15:17/HD): This great little feature focuses on Keanu Reeves and the training he undertook to play the role of John Wick and includes martial arts, stunt car driving and gunplay.
Destiny of a Collective (6:20/HD): This featurette focuses on the directors Chad Stahelski and David Leitch and the creation of their first film together.
The Assassin's Code (5:16/HD): Short and EPKish this featurette focuses on the code which the Assassin's adhere to including their safe house. This gives away a bit too much of the film - including a critical death - so make sure you watch it after seeing the film.
The Red Circle (6:27/HD): The Red Circle is the Russian nightclub and baths and this featurette looks at filming the action sequences in these two locations.
N.Y.C Noir (6:00/HD): New York City is the location for this film and here the filmmakers discuss using the film as the setting, and filming there.
Review By: Dave Warner