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Originally published Thursday, October 23, 2014 at 12:13 AM

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‘John Wick’: Lone avenger unleashes a killer growl

A movie review of “John Wick,” in which Keanu Reeves plays a man on a mission: Exterminate the evildoers who killed his cute little puppy. Corpses stack up like cordwood.


Special to The Seattle Times

Movie Review ★★½  

‘John Wick,’ with Keanu Reeves, Michael Nyqvist, Willem Dafoe. Directed by Chad Stahelski, from a screenplay by Derek Kolstad. 96 minutes. Rated R for strong and bloody violence throughout, language and brief drug use. Several theaters.

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They shouldn’t have done what they did.

They shouldn’t have knocked him down and stomped on his face. Splattered his blood all over the place.

Shouldn’t have stolen his classic Mustang muscle car.

And then gloated. In Russian.

Stuff like that can make a fellow feel a touch peevish.

But wait! There’s more.

They killed his doggy. An adorable little beagle puppy with big soulful eyes. A gift from his late wife.

Well.

Not enough bad things can happen to such people.

And so, courtesy of Keanu Reeves, these awful individuals reap a whirlwind of truly nutso violence.

And that, dear friends, is the be-all, end-all of “John Wick.” Keanu unleashed. Gunbattles without end. A puppy avenged. Amen.

It’s kind of unbelievable, really. For starters, I thought Denzel Washington had killed every last Russian mobster in the Western Hemisphere in “The Equalizer.” And yet, it seems someone must have ordered up a boatload of replacements because, once again, it’s Evil Russian Shooting Gallery Time at the movies. Corpses stack up like cordwood in scene after scene.

The story, such as it is, gives us Wick, a retired enforcer for the Russians said to be so fearsome that he was known in his active-duty days as the Boogeyman.

Really? When we think of movie lone avengers, burly Denzel Washington or long, lean Liam Neeson come to mind. The willowy Reeves, not so much. But body counts don’t lie. Boogie on, Boogeyman.

The picture is not without humor. In the whacked-out and wacky world where it’s set (a bizarro New York), Wick is known and treated courteously everywhere he goes, even by the cops, one of whom, seeing Wick in a houseful of corpses, shrugs and turns away. Eh, just business as usual.

Wick’s black-on-black suits are the nattiest. His gun skills are first rate. His dedication to his mission is total.

Avenge the puppy.

Bang.

Soren Andersen: asoren7575@yahoo.com



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