John Wick ★★★

2017 movie viewings, #109. As a 48-year-old who tries to eliminate as much empty pop culture from his life as he can, I have to admit that most movies designed specifically for twentysomething audiences tend to just escape my attention altogether anymore, unless: 1) that studio has spent such an obscene amount of money on promoting it that I literally can't get away from its existence (see: every fucking superhero movie ever made); or 2) that movie ends up getting a lot of praise from my younger friends here at Letterboxd, at which point I tend to actually watch it and it tends to actually be good. (See for example the spate of unusually well-done low-budget horror movies in recent years, such as It Follows, Green Room, Don't Breathe, Get Out, etc., all of which I enjoyed immensely.)

It's under such circumstances that John Wick came to my attention this year, which to be clear only happened because of its sequel, John Wick: Chapter 2, which got a ton of writeups at Letterboxd that all seemed to basically say, "This was okay, but doesn't hold a candle to part one, which is still one of my favorite action movies of all time," which was just enough to convince me to download a torrented copy one Saturday night when I was tired of all the smart character dramas I had recently been watching, and was in the mood for something empty and fun that I could consume with pizza and beer. And yeah, that's exactly what I got with John Wick, which I didn't exactly love but could acknowledge that I would've liked a lot more if I had seen it at the age of 22, preferably with a group of friends at a theater on a Friday night after which we would head to a bar to continue our night out.

To tell the truth, this would've been a whole lot better if the producers had stuck to screenwriter Derek Kolstad's original concept of making Wick in his sixties, and I could easily see someone like Ed Harris dominating this role in that kind of situation and making it a film that would go down better with audience members of all ages. But instead, the filmmakers strangely left all the rest of the details in place, including Wick's friends all being in their sixties themselves, but cast Keanu Reeves in the main part, who although is technically old enough in real life to pull this off (he's 53 this year, if you can believe that shit), actually looks perpetually 31 in this movie, which makes it bizarre and implausible every time one of his 65-year-old friends reminisces with him about their decades-old careers. That throws a wrench into the movie's very premise itself (essentially, that Wick has been retired for years, just to go on one last murderous rampage after a random group of young Russian thugs decide to steal his '70s Mustang and kill his dog for kicks); and once the premise is discounted, the only thing left is a couple of hours of very prettily shot car chases and gun battles, which in late middle-age just doesn't do it for me anymore the way it used to in my early twenties.

I'm glad to have my younger friends here at Letterboxd around, to alert me to unusually well-done genre B-pics that would normally escape my attention; but that unfortunately doesn't work out 100 percent of the time, which John Wick is a perfect example of, a movie that can only be loved by testosterone-filled young males who also think nothing of going clubbing until three in the morning and then playing a game of touch football with their buddies the next day. As a wise man once said back in my own youth, "I'm getting too old for this shit," which leaves movies like this one lacking in my particular eyes.

UPDATE: Data to back up what I'm talking about -- out of the 109 friends of mine at Letterboxd who have already logged reviews of John Wick, 101 of them are males.

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