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LIONSGATE

MOVIE INFO

Director:
Chad Stahelski, David Leitch
Cast:
Keanu Reeves, Willem Dafoe, Michael Nyqvist
Writing Credits:
Derek Kolstad

Synopsis:
An ex-hit-man comes out of retirement to track down the gangsters that killed his dog and took everything from him.

Box Office:
Budget
$20 million.
Opening Weekend
$14,415,922 on 2589 screens.
Domestic Gross
$43,037,835.

MPAA:
Rated R.

DISC DETAILS
Presentation:
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
Audio:
English Dolby Atmos
Spanish Dolby 5.1
Subtitles:
English
Spanish
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
None

Runtime: 101 min.
Price: $14.99
Release Date: 2/3/2015

Bonus:
• Audio Commentary with Director Chad Stahelski and Uncredited Co-Director/Producer David Leitch
• “Don’t F*#% With John Wick” Featurette
• “Calling in the Cavalry” Featurette
• “Destiny of a Collective” Featurette
• “The Assassin’s Code” Featurette
• “The Red Circle” Featurette
• “NYC Noir” Featurette
• Trailer & Previews


PURCHASE @ AMAZON.COM

EQUIPMENT
-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver
-Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


RELATED REVIEWS


John Wick [Blu-Ray] (2014)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (August 4, 2019)

When John Wick hit screens in 2014, it did decent business, but not anything spectacular. With a US gross of $43 million, it ended up in 77th place at the box office that year.

With an added $45 million overseas and a low $20 million budget, the flick turned a profit. Nonetheless, this didn’t seem to be the stuff of which franchises are made.

However, Wick grew its audience on home video, and 2017’s John Wick: Chapter 2 almost exactly doubled the first film’s box office. Since 2019’s Chapter 3 took in a much higher take than that, I suspect we’ll get more Wick adventures in the future.

As we head back to the start, we meet John Wick (Keanu Reeves), a former elite assassin. When John fell in love and got married to Helen (Bridget Moynahan), he retired and left this violent life in his past.

Or so he thought. Helen endures a terminal illness and dies, but before she passes, she arranges John to receive a puppy named Daisy as a companion and reminder of their bond.

When John tools around in his vintage 1969 Ford Mustang, he attracts the attention of Iosef Tarasov (Alfie Allen), a Russian gangster who wants to buy the car. John tells him he won’t sell, and this angers Tarasov.

A man who won’t take “no” for an answer, Tarasov and his goons ambush John at his home. They knock him out, steal the Mustang and kill Daisy.

Bad move. Pushed to the emotional brink, John re-embraces his violent skills and goes on a mission to exact vengeance.

Wick hit screens right after Reeves turned 50, an age at which most actors would turn toward quieter, more character-based material. Perhaps Keanu boasts the self-awareness to realize that complex roles don’t really suit his talents.

Whatever the case, I give him credit for his ability to revive his career and remain a viable action star in his AARP years. Granted, this trend matches that of other actors, as 50 no longer sends you to Cocoon land anymore, but I still feel impressed that Reeves can pull off a role like Wick at his age.

This film feels like a good fit for Reeves’ particular talents, though it does ask him for more emotional range than might seem to match his wheelhouse. Most of these scenes pop up early as we see John’s reaction to the loss of Helen and connected domains, so he goes back into “stoic Keanu” mode more fully through the movie’s subsequent moments.

Reeves seems perfectly adequate when asked to show emotions. He isn’t and never will be an actor who can portray a fully believable human being, but in this movie, he accomplishes enough to satisfy.

That said, Reeves fares best when he sticks with his bread and butter: straight-faced action heroes who kick butt and don’t bother with extraneous dialogue or exposition. We’ve seen Reeves in films for more than 30 years, and he continues to do well in that regard.

At least for me, Wick achieves its greatest impact when those Russian bastards murder Daisy. As I’ve reflected in other reviews, dogs mean the world to me, and the film goes to pains to depict Daisy as a total sweetheart.

Which makes her demise a strength and a weakness. On one hand, I find it tough to swallow the death of a dog in any movie, but especially one in which we got to bond with the pooch to such a degree.

On the other hand, Daisy’s murder ensures that the viewer will crave John’s revenge even more than otherwise might occur. If Tarasov and company simply attacked John and stole his car, we’d view them as jerks, but we’d clearly not feel the same sense of loss and anger.

So as much as I hate to see sweet little Daisy die, her demise serves a clear dramatic purpose. I wish Wick could’ve found a different way – doesn’t John have a granny the Russians could off? – but I admit Daisy’s murder suits the movie.

An essentially plot-free movie, honestly, as Wick exists as a fairly loose framework created to service lots of violence. Co-directors Chad Stahelski and David Leitch both come from the cinematic world of stunts, so it shouldn’t surprise that they seem more comfortable with the action side of the film.

In that regard, Wick does well for itself. While the movie’s mayhem stretches credulity, it keeps things in a reasonably believable vein – unlike the sequels, which get crazier and crazier in an attempt to up the ante.

With no need to top prior chapters, the first Wick can find its own place in the world of violent action films. To be sure, the material veers away from reality, but it doesn’t snap.

Stahelski and Leitch stage all this chaos in a way that builds the tension and produces effective set pieces. As I alluded, the sequels would go too far in this regard, but within the world of the first Wick, we’re left with impactful material sans eye-rolling silliness.

I think Wick sags a little too often and lacks the narrative movement that would make it a classic, but it remains a quality action movie. While I feel less excited about the next chapters, the original film achieves its goals.


The Disc Grades: Picture B/ Audio B+/ Bonus B-

John Wick appears in an aspect ratio of 2.39:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Despite some inconsistencies, this usually came across as a positive presentation.

Sharpness became the main point of contention, as the image could occasionally seem oddly soft. While most of the movie looked well-defined, a few puzzling instances of slightly blurry material emerged.

I suspect these stemmed from photographic choices, but they never seemed especially logical, so I felt less sure about that. In any case, the movie largely seemed well-defined.

I witnessed no instances or moiré effects or jaggies, and the film lacked edge haloes. Print flaws never materialized.

Although I won’t call Wick the most teal-heavy film I’ve ever seen, it resides high on that list, as the palette leaned very heavily in that domain. Some straight green, red and amber appeared as well, but expect oppressive levels of teal. These tones looked ridiculous at times, but I felt the disc reproduced them as depicted – God help us all.

Blacks could seem a little inky, but they usually showed good delineation, and shadows offered reasonable clarity. Most of the film seemed pretty appealing, but it never became a great image.

Downconverted to Dolby TrueHD 7.1, the movie’s Dolby Atmos soundtrack boasted the expected violent impact. The mix used music as an active participant and also kicked into higher gear during its many action sequences.

Those came across with a lot of involvement. Gunfire, various vehicles and other violent elements filled the channels. They showed strong localization and blended smoothly, with material that veered from one channel to another in a natural manner.

Audio quality excelled as well, with music that appeared vivid and full. Speech seemed concise and distinctive, and the lines lacked edginess or other issues.

Of course, effects stood out the most, and those elements demonstrated fine reproduction. They showed good accuracy and range, with tight, bold low-end when necessary. I felt satisfied with this above-average soundtrack.

The Blu-ray comes with a good array of extras, and we start with an audio commentary from director Chad Stahelski and producer/uncredited co-director David Leitch. Both sit together for this running, screen-specific look at stunts and action, story/characters, cast and performances, sets and locations, cinematography and visual design, music, effects and related topics.

For the most part, this becomes a good chat. Leitch and Stahelski narrate the movie a little more than I’d like, but they usually make this a fairly effective discussion of the production.

Six featurettes follow, and we open with Don’t F*#% With John Wick. In this 15-minute, 17-second reel, we hear from Stahelski, Leitch, producer Basil Iwanyk, stunt coordinator Darrin Prescott, fight choreographer John Eusebio, utility stunts John Valera, writer Derek Kolstad, stunt doubles Renae Moneymaker and Jackson Spidell, and actors Keanu Reeves, Willem Dafoe, Adrianne Palicki, Dean Winters, and Michael Nyqvist.

“Don’t” looks at the movie’s stunts, action and fight scenes. A little too much of the show leans toward praise, but we still get a nice array of insights along with fun rehearsal footage.

With Calling in the Cavalry, we get an 11-minute, 58-second program that includes notes from Stahelski, Reeves, Prescott, Leitch, Palicki, Dafoe, Kolstad, Nyqvist, and actor John Leguizamo.

“Cavalry” covers the work of the directors as well as supporting cast. Like “Don’t”, it mixes praise and useful material.

Destiny of a Collective goes for six minutes, 19 seconds and involves Stahelski, Leitch, Prescott. Reeves, Dafoe, Palicki, Leguizamo, Nyqvist, and actors Toby Moore, Randall Duk Kim, Omer Bernea and Bridget Regan.

We get a view of the Leitch/Stahelski partnership. Expect more happy talk than I’d prefer, mitigated by a few decent notes.

Next comes The Assassin’s Code, a five-minute, 18-second featurette with Stahelski, Nyqvist, Reeves, Regan, Palicki, Leitch, production designer Dan Leigh and actor Lance Reddick. “Code” covers the movie’s hotel location and does so in a competent manner.

Via The Red Circle, we locate a six-minute, 26-second reel that brings info from Leitch, Reeves, Bernea, Prescott, Spidell, and actor Daniel Bernhardt. Here we get some material related to the nightclub scene, and it becomes another moderately informative reel.

Finally, NYC Noir fills six minutes with remarks from Stahelski, Leitch, Leigh, Kolstad, Reeves, Winters, Leguizamo, Palicki and Iwanyk. “Noir” discusses sets and locations. It becomes one of the better featurettes.

The disc opens with ads for The Divergent Series: Insurgent, The Expendables, Revenge of the Green Dragons, Mortdecai and Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1. We also get the trailer for Wick.

Packed with action, John Wick could use a bit more story and character depth. Still, the violent set pieces work well enough to turn it into a largely exciting experience. The Blu-ray comes with generally positive picture as well as impressive audio and a reasonable set of supplements. Wick launches the franchise on a solid note.

Viewer Film Ratings: 4.25 Stars Number of Votes: 4
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