When the son of a Russian mob boss steals his car and kills his puppy which was given to him by his dying wife, a “nobody” named John Wick seeks revenge. The mob boss tells his son, “It’s not what you stole, but who you stole it from!”…because Wick is a recently retired mob assassin. And now he is back in the game. And boy, is he angry!
(2014) 2017, Color, Rated R, 1 Hr 31 mins
2160p with HDR10, 7.1 Dolby Atmos, 1.85:1 Aspect Ratio
Starring: Keanu Reeves, Willem Dafoe, Michael Nyqvist, Alfie Allen
Directed by: David Leitch & Chad Stahelski
If you enjoyed Taken with Liam Neeson, you will love this action flick. True, Reeves does not have the same emotional range as Neeson, but the pure physicality is all there. Reeves spent months training for this movie and it really shows. The action sequences are bloody, but done with such fluidity as to be considered poetry in motion. There are no jerky camera movements that seem to be popular these days. The swiftness and physicality of the action is a wonder to behold. The director calls the fight scenes “gun-fu”, a mixture of weapons and martial arts. Reeves is perfect for this role because he does not have to speak very often and he has the perfect steely-eyed looks of someone you should not mess with. Once he’s set into motion by the impudent mob kid who steals his car and kills his puppy, Wick does not stop until the entire Russian syndicate is in smoldering ruins. Talk about anger issues! Yes, the plot line is not original (I grew up on Shane), but the production values and action sequences are very well done. The body count is very high as well. I especially enjoyed Keanu doing almost all of his stunt work himself. He even drives a few muscle cars doing some very dangerous stunts. The action is faced paced and avoids cliches, like exploding cars going over a cliff and guns that never run out of bullets. Keanu has to stop and load…often. If you are an action fan, don’t miss this one!
So how does the UHD version look compared to the Blu-ray version. In a word: Great! The picture was shot with some artistic intent in mind so some scenes are shot in a bluish, cool color tint, while other scenes are more warm and natural. All scenes are razor sharp with plenty of details. When we see Nyqvist for the first time, he is wearing a red shirt. The 1080p version gives a slight orange/red cast to it, but the WCG in the 4K version gives a deep true red color that looks more like what a red shirt should look like. Shadows and contrasts are expanded, revealing more details in the shadowy fight sequences. Brightness, such as a beam of sunlight streaking through a window, looks more intense and natural. Sound is very punchy and active. If you have seen this film on Blu-ray, you already know that it looks very good. However, the advantages of the expanded contrast/color range really makes the film look like you’re watching it in a high quality cinema. And with you UHD TV, you are!
A Blu-ray copy is included and four featurettes: Don’t F**k with John Wick, Calling in the Cavalry, The Red Circle, NYC Noir & Assassins Creed. The package contains a Blu-ray, DVD and a digital copy as well. (A sequel is already in theaters at the time of this review).