John Wick ★★★

Why does this film seem to have so much cult love? Is it because it's a no-nonsense (okay, some nonsense) shoot-em-up wrapped in a visually beautiful package? Because if it's something other than that, I don't get it.

John Wick delivers for us what the action genre needs: exceptional production quality and real technical craftsmanship. It follows in the footsteps of a film like Jack Reacher, self-aware enough to be an enjoyable experience exactly for what it intended to be, and driven by a singular purpose. Unlike Jack Reacher, however, there's very little depth here outside of some modicum of hitman world-building.

A lot of the gunplay and close combat is well-coreographed and expertly captured, but it's easy to catch a few moments in the midst of every battle where physical posing and camera muggery strip away a layer or two of veneer from the otherwise well-polished experience. There's often a dichotomy of obvious clumsiness in the midst of the straight-forward cleanliness of the film's approach.

Overall, it's well done. But it's also really dumb. And that's okay, but then there's really no challenge here. We know from the get-go that John Wick is essentially impervious, and he's going to cut through his enemies like hot butter. So don't expect much meat on these bones. But do expect them to jangle magnificently.