In 2014 a movie came out which changed the face of action movies. It was “John Wick” starring Keanu Reeves.
The movie was directed by Chad Stahelski and David Leitch and written by Derek Kolstad.
I had seen a trailer in advance so I was looking forward to the movie coming out. The premise (an assassin goes looking for revenge when some bad guys kill his dog and steal his car) seemed so very, very promising!
And the movie did not disappoint. It had some of the best action sequences (unarmed combat, guns and weapons) I had ever seen.
Here are some of the things I love about the John Wick movies:
The action and fight scenes are top notch.
Chad and David are martial artists and stuntmen who formed a company together called 89Eleven in 1997. The company website says this:
Action design is an art form all its own. At 87eleven, our team has what it takes to create innovative stunts for studio films
So when they got the chance to direct the first John Wick movie, they made the movie of their dreams. And the action and fight scenes raised the bar!
IMDB says that John Wick kills 77 people in the movie. In an interview, Chad said that the real number is higher!
The movie features “gun fu”. Although Chad is a master of many martial arts, he said that John Wick uses a combination of ” Japanese jiu-jitsu, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, tactical 3-gun, and standing Judo”.
The movie creates a whole world of assassins. They have their own code and rules. Their own way of getting contracts. Their own currency. And their own chain of hotels (the Continentals) where they can feel safe (no “business” can be conducted on the hotel grounds).
This world adds a lot of depth to the stories.
The book Shibumi by Trevanian is my favourite book. It makes an appearance in the first movie in two ways:
- Nicholai Hel (the main character in Shibumi) is an assassin and a master of “naked/kill” (the art of killing people with everyday objects). Nicholai’s life takes a sharp turn when he is forced to kill someone with a pencil. We are old in the movie that John Wich has killed three men with a pencil.
- A security guard is seen reading the book at one point
It is very hard to make sequels which are as good as the original. John Wick is an exception. The first movie scored 7.4 on IMDB. The two sequels each score 7.5! In Rotten Tomatoes the scores are 87%, 89% and 90%.
Quite an achievement.
And “Chapter 4” is due out in 2022. I can’t wait!
As well as making great movies, the guys are great to listen to when they are discussing the movies.
Here is a video of Chad and David discussing the move while watching the “Honest Trailer”