John Wick vs Smitty




This is a tribute to John Wick 3. Even alone and outgunned, Wick was able to get himself out of a rather tricky spot. Smitty is one of those guys who may try to act at least a bit heroic but will fold immediately to any kind of peer pressure. The guy has no strength of will which makes him the complete opposite of John Wick. Smitty would not be able to focus on any goal for very long. John Wick wins.

Van Zant vs John Wick




This is a tribute to John Wick 2. Van Zant hasn’t fought in almost 10 years but this won’t be a big comeback victory for him. Wick is a very good shooter and he has proven himself to be very consistent in the second movie as well. Van Zant may land a shot but it won’t do much against Wick’s bulletproof coat. Meanwhile Wick is always good to go with the head shots. John Wick wins.

John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum Review

This review is of the edited TV-14 version of the film. All thoughts below should be addressed as such as a review of the unedited version would be more negative.

Wick returns for another big adventure. The second film had a terrific cliffhanger to lead up to this one and the third film makes sure to capitalize on the concept and even throw in another cliffhanger. Ultimately I would say the 2nd film is still the definitive one because it really got to go all out with Wick taking on all challengers. This one is pretty close though.

So last time a bounty was put on Wick’s head since he ended up taking someone out while at the Continental hotel which is against the rules set by the high table. Now he has to try and survive while the entire planet is after him. The bounty on his head is also rather high so he doesn’t have many people to turn too. He’ll have to try and get the high table to remove the bounty and the only way to get an ally is to use his once in a lifetime contract coin.

Let’s talk about some aspects where the film actually even beast film 2 but also the reasons why it lost. For starters, I would say the fights may have even passed film two’s. It’s close but the highs of this film have to be the best with the ninja fights. Wick taking on the ninja masters at the end was very impressive and made for a lot of hype moments. The fact that the ninjas actually defeated him a few times was also very impressive. It showed that they were above the usual thugs.

The main ninja was also a terrific opponent. He was a fun character as well. Wick certainly hasn’t lost a step that’s for sure and he may very well be the most impressive human fighter in this kind of film. It’s hard to see almost anyone stopping him. At this point John is already very weakened and yet he’s still going around taking out all challengers.

That ties into the aspect that’s weaker than the second film though. We get a lot more non Wick scenes as well. There’s the new heroine who gets to fight, we have ninjas taking out all of the other big factions, and the whole time you’re just waiting to see Wick fight again. The whole desert side quest felt like it was a break from the usual setting of Wick being in New York and taking everyone down.

John Wick 3’s best scenes are at the very beginning as we close up the cliffhanger from the second film and the very ending as he fights off waves of opponents from the table and the ninja. So it’s the middle that feels like it’s more fluff than anything and could have been condensed a bit. It’s a change of scenery but when your backdrop is New York you never really need to leave. Those scenes always look quite incredible with the special effects and atmosphere.

There’s not a whole lot to say about John Wick that I haven’t already gone into during the first two films. He’s a great lead who gets the job done and has a lot of good character development. He goes through a lot and just never goes down. The guy’s resolve is really something else.

Sofia is one of the new characters introduced in the film but I definitely didn’t like her. Her final scene involving a water bottle is just so petty and disgusting. I feel like Wick should have just stolen her truck right then and there. She can fight well and gets some extended fights with her dogs. The film got into some rather dangerous territory by having the dogs around but this time at least the film didn’t make a big mistake. The dog getting shot was still pretty bad but at least he lived and was able to get up and fight afterwards with the jacket.

Wick telling Sofia not to murder the guy was pretty bad advice though considering the entire plot of the first film. Additionally, we then get a long action sequence where they literally murder every minion on the base. At that point you may as well murder the leader too right? Why should he be the only one to survive this ordeal? Either way I’d rather Sofia not return in the sequel but if she does, I’d say Wick will be ready for her. Part of why I hope she doesn’t return is because it’s all too risky as long as she owns those dogs. I don’t want to take a chance on any of them getting injured and if they’re fighting Wick to the death that’ll be tricky. Additionally while their fights are very different, I did not enjoy them nearly as much as the human fights. It’s all portrayed extremely violently as they bite the enemies where it hurts. It’s an effective strategy sure but instead of being hype it makes the fights rather hard to look at.

Winston gets a pretty big role here as the owner of the hotel. He gets to look rather tough the whole time even if he talks a great game despite not actually doing much of anything. The guy definitely likes to stay in the shadows and command from there. Charon is also a really fun character as always. He has a good dynamic with Wick that’s for sure and he actually goes into the field to fight which also raises his character in my eyes.

The Bowery King returns from the last film and he’s still got a lot of confidence here. Perhaps he should have prepared himself more for the fight with the High Table but I guess a King’s folly is often his overconfidence. There’s also a Russian group that shows up here who have a role to play. This film really shows off just how many different villain groups are operating in New York.

Part of the plot here is that the High Table is finally stepping in since there’s so much chaos going on. At the very least you have to say that they’re quite bold since they pick fights with every single faction in the film. Naturally all of these guys try to fight back but they have a group of ninjas led by Zero who are ready for anything. The ninja make short work out of all the groups which is also impressive.

The Adjudicator sent out to make the warnings doesn’t seem like she can fight a whole lot though. You’d think that her confidence would be her downfall but nobody ever bothers actually trying to shoot her which is very fortunate for her safety. The high table makes for a pretty interesting villain so we’ll see how that goes. It’s definitely a dynamic I haven’t seen in a long time where a villain group suddenly shows up cleaning the board of heroes and villains alike.

Zero also has to be the best main villain in the series. He gets a lot of fun dialogue during his battle with Wick. While the guy seems to like Wick as a good rival, the feeling isn’t mutual. It’s hard to blame Wick for being cold though since the guy is actively trying to murder him. Wick had more fun fighting the guy’s two subordinates, perhaps because they really fought cleanly from the start. The whole climax in the mirror world was pretty exciting.

As always the Wick films contain as much violence as they do action though. The characters go down in rather painful ways and the High Table introduces some punishment for most of the characters as well. Characters are forced to lose limbs in service to the high table or get slashed to bits. The poor henchmen don’t stand a chance against the ninja’s blades and of course Wick isn’t holding back either. The body count is massive and the series still has a much more realistic vibe than most so it’s not like this is stylized to avoid the blood.

The fight choreography is still incredibly impressive down to the fact that Wick has to reload his guns and plan things out accordingly. Each fight really holds up. Still, you’ll need a good stomach for violence in these fights. One character goes down rather painfully to a book, but that’s why you shouldn’t try to bend the rules.

The music is quite fun as always. There are a lot of really solid themes throughout the movie that help you feel the intensity of the moment. Again, you really can’t top the opening scene. I wouldn’t say that rain is always good to have around but it’s perfect for tense scenes like the opening where Wick is trying to get away from all of the possible hitmen. Any and everyone can be against him after all so it’s not easy to stay safe. I wouldn’t have minded if that was really the whole film either.

Of course the ending does leave a lot of interesting room for the sequel. I would say some characters definitely made a mistake with how they handled things and Wick is definitely going to make them regret it. 3 films in and people still insist on challenging the guy. I guess some characters never learn.

Overall, John Wick 3 definitely continues the series by reinforcing what everyone likes about it so much. It’s certainly a very interesting journey with a lot of good writing and intense action. It would be so perfect if they could just tone down the violence. You could certainly do that even while keeping the fights realistic by changing camera angles or stylizing things a bit. Hopefully the series continues with having hype cliffhangers at the end because these really hold up in getting you psyched to see what happens next.

Overall 4/10

John Wick: Chapter 2 Review

This review is of the TV-14 edited version. All thoughts below should be addressed as such as a review of the unedited version would be more negative.

Time for the big return of John Wick. It’s been quite a while since I saw the first film. Naturally that one ended up losing pretty badly in the score department since the very concept of the film revolves around a dog death which is no good. You can’t succeed that way. This film doesn’t go in that direction so it ends up being quite a bit better. It still likes to go super extreme in what’s going on but I can safely say that it wins in just about every way.

The movie picks up with Wick murdering the last guys in his way and getting his car back. Now he can officially retire once and for all. Unfortunately it looks like this won’t be so easy. His old ally Santino shows up along with the pact that they made a long time ago. Effectively this means that Wick has to help the guy accomplish one task. If Wick tries to flee or murder Santino this would cause him to be a wanted man by the hotel and would trigger a bounty on his head from around the world. Thus Wick has to accept the task which is to murder Santino’s sister. Santino may be safe now but as soon as the contract is complete, Wick is free to do as he pleases.

The franchise differentiated itself from the start with its solid world building. First of all, I like how the hotel has its rules in place. You can use it as a sanctuary for as long as you like and there is to be no violence there. It’s a true safehouse. Then there are the pacts which cannot be broken or you will be murdered as well. Effectively the world of hitmen actually has some sense and reason here which is nice. Even the villains do well to remember that.

John may not be as personally invested as he was in the first film, however he’s just as intense as ever. The guy takes down dozens and dozens of opponents throughout the film. He is usually known for having the highest body count among the shooters and it shows. He really doesn’t take prisoners and always makes sure his opponent is truly down for the count. He’s a no nonsense main character and his reputation precedes him.

It’s fair to say that he’s just a great main character. Part of the fun with him is the fact that we don’t know a whole lot about his past. I’m actually hoping the films don’t change that later on because the mystery is part of the appeal. He knows everyone and clearly he used to complete a lot of missions on the regular. We don’t need to see those days because it keeps the illusion of him being an invincible shooting machine.

Now he does get injured during the film of course but he always gets back up. With the sheer volume of people he is taking out left and right, he may as well be invincible. The guy is pretty much living out a real life Call of Duty campaign. The film does a great job with showing how he plans things out during the fights as well. Wick is proficient at close quarters hand to hand combat, using a knife, and of course is an expert with a gun. He uses all of those skills depending on the circumstances.

Santiago is the main villain here but he’s never a threat in a fight. The guy’s only chance at winning is that he has a ton of armed minions at the ready. 1 on 1 the series has yet to produce anyone who can take on Wick. The closest is Cassian who has 2 very close battles with Wick. Keep in mind that in both cases John was already weakened but the guy’s talent was still better than most if not all of the other fighters here.

Ares was also a tough fighter. She’s a silent assassin who gives Wick a good fight. You never think she is quite in the same league as Cassian but her skills are real and she was a loyal retainer. Definitely a good bodyguard to have at the ready for all circumstances. There are a ton of other assassins but those two definitely had the biggest role. Beyond that the others exist to get utterly crushed by Wick’s skills.

The soundtrack is pretty solid as well. This is one area where the first film has the edge though as it played some really intense themes particularly when Wick first came out of retirement. This one still has a solid array of action tunes though so anytime there is a gunfight you can expect to hear a lot of good tracks. The action never lets up so even though the film is fairly long you won’t get bored.

The writing is really on point with a lot of solid lines between all of the characters. It’s part of why the cast works so well since a lot of thought went into this picture. The ending also directly leads into film 3 and ends on a rather intense note. It’ll be difficult for any of the other installments to beat this one’s ending since it was really perfect. This is the right way to build up the suspense.

While there is no animal violence, the film definitely does still go all out the whole time. Pretty much every villain is shot in the head and you see all the details to add to the realism. These fights feel like real battles that’s for sure and so there is a ton of blood at all times. It’s less stylized than other titles to really show the impact of the hits. Then you have Wick’s pencil kills which were foreshadowed early in the film so you knew they would show up at some point. It may be the most brutal kill although the film has a lot of those so it’s hard to say. One guy gets slashed in the worst area possible so I was shocked that he was still able to fight before Wick just shot him.

It’s not quite Resident Evil/Underworld levels of violence but it is definitely rather graphic and also nonstop. He probably murders 100 guys by the end of the film and each one just ends up getting shot through. One death that wasn’t through a shot but was still rather violent was a lady who bleeds out in the pool. There’s some context to this one which I won’t say for spoilers but it was the weakest scene in the film. Certainly a unique way to go out, there’s no question on that. But a normal shot or something would have definitely worked a lot better.

I have to say, considering Wick’s reputation I’m surprised that so many random guys want to try and take him out. You’d think that these hitmen would value their lives more and just stay out of his way. Is 7 million really worth throwing your life away? Most of these guys should know that they’re absolutely outmatched and outgunned from the start. They should have just stayed at the hotel if anything. Honestly, if you’ve made enough money to retire that is the safest place in the city. Just stay there forever and enjoy the food while you can. It’s the perfect plan.

Overall, John Wick 2 is a solid improvement from the first title. The action scenes are on point and I like some of the design choices like showing the subtitles in colorful words when the characters talk in Russian or other times in Sign language. The visuals are really solid both in the fights and even just when exploring the city. The opening drive from before the credits was a good example of this. The story is solid and the whole setting is just build up really well. If you could tone down/stylize the violence a bit more this one would even be able to join the great leagues. If you’re up for a ton of nonstop action then this is definitely a title you’ll want to check out.

Overall 5/10

John Wick vs Icey




John Wick returns but he won’t be able to defeat Icey. Just as Wick has a singular focus on his target which makes him dangerous, Icey is just as obsessive when she needs to be. She is very powerful in close quarters combat due to her sheer speed and raw power. Wick would not be able to block her blows and is far too slow to tag her with a bullet. A human no matter how skilled just won’t be able to defeat an Android/robot like Icey. She is out of his league in this round. Icey wins.

Jef Costello vs John Wick




This is a tribute to the first John Wick film. While I had my issues with the film, you can’t deny that John Wick looked quite good in it. He took care of business and quickly avenged his dog. Jef may be a hitman as well, but he’s got nothing on John Wick. Wick is able to take on a full squad of opponents with ease. He’s an expert hand to hand fighter as well as gunman. Definitely not someone you want to mess with and especially in a one on one fight. There’s no way Costello lasts more than a minute. John Wick wins.

John Wick Review

This review is based off of the edited TV-14 version of the film. All thoughts below should be addressed as such as a review of the unedited version would be more negative.

It’s time to look at a pretty big film from back in the day. Pretty much any fan of the action genre knows about John Wick. Unfortunately you also know what comes with the territory as the plot itself is quite well known as well. The film is unable to get past the unfortunate decision to have the dog die in the beginning. It’s a cheap way to force in some tension and just doesn’t work. You absolutely can’t have the dog die like that. At least the sequels shouldn’t have the same problem unless they literally do this again.

The movie starts with John’s wife dying. She was sick for a long time and finally passed on. While dying she was able to send John a puppy so that he could have a reason to keep on going. Unfortunately a Russian mafia group shows up and murders John’s dog. He’s now decided to take revenge by murdering all of them. It’s been a while since he was in the mafia game but now he will have to return for one last ride. Fortunately for John you never really lose those skills. He’s got a lot of guns and at this point nothing else to do. He is 100% focused on his task and nothing is going to stop him.

It’s a pretty unique direction to have John Wick be so feared by the villains. They constantly refer to him as Baba Yaga which is effectively a Russian Witch. The definition they used here is a little different though and they’re just saying that he is extremely scary like a monster. The instant his name is mentioned the villains start cowering and wishing that they had messed with someone else. They were all gangster until Wick showed up. He lives up to the legend pretty well as he murders a ton of the agents after him. He definitely wasn’t playing around here and definitely did not take any prisoners. Whoever got in his way was doomed. The only time he didn’t end up finishing his opponent it came back to bite him.

I liked the hotel idea too where villains don’t go after each other. It’s a safe haven and it’s important that you obey the rules. It also shows that the owners of the hotel have a lot of power since everyone obeys this rule. The hotel itself has a great end scene and I liked the concierge the whole time. The guy was quick on his feet and just felt like a veteran. He knew what was going on and always had the answers. Part of what makes the film so different is how it relies on prior knowledge that you don’t know and doesn’t try to throw it at you via origin stories. We really don’t need John’s origin. You can piece everything together on your own without help and it’s just more fun that way.

The soundtrack is quite large for this film. There are quite a number of different themes that play during the film. Certainly a lot of battle themes to accompany the fights and rock themes to get you pumping. The themes all work and Wick himself has a theme that plays during some of his big moments. The film really knows how to score its scenes and when you mix that with the intense fight scenes there is not a dull moment in the film.

John makes for a great lead and it was good to see him go to any length to avenge his dog. It’s certainly a noble mission and the villains can’t really defend themselves for these actions. John did give the leader a chance to surrender his son for this blunder and the villain didn’t take it. John wasn’t crazy or anything, he spared those he could and just focused on taking out all of the characters who were threats. There are quite a few other supporting characters here who were fun but the best one was definitely Marcus. That guy came in clutch quite a bit. John wouldn’t have done nearly as well without him. It’s definitely a shame how he went out although that was inevitable by the end.

So there’s a lot to like here and it’s a very interesting thriller. The characters were carefully constructed and as far as revenge thrillers go this one can compete with all the rest. An indestructible main character like John is fun to follow and of course it’s always nice to see all of the villains getting taken down a few pegs. That being said, the negatives are even stronger than the positives which is why this film ultimately fell all the way down instead of managing to win out.

The obvious negative here is the dog death. It destroys the whole film particularly because of how it goes down. The film makes the scene rather brutal and what makes it even worse is that this is a puppy. The film gives us quite a few scenes with the puppy so we can grow to like him. Again, this is a very easy way to build tension and it’s a cheap shortcut. The three ways that films usually do this is by having an animal die, a person close to the lead get tortured to death, or have the wife/girlfriend get assaulted. All 3 of these ways are definitely not good ideas in the slightest and will usually doom a film’s score. The animal one in particular is hard to get around and with a dog of all choices. There’s just no way the film could recover from this. It’s a very direct negative so it may look like it’s outnumbered by the positives but the scene is not one that you will forget so easily.

John Wick is also a very violent film. It’s certainly about as violent as you’ll get with a shooter film. Characters are tortured and there are quite a few headshots that don’t shy away from showing them completely. Characters meet their end in very violent ways as well. This film is definitely trying to live out the revenge fantasy where you put yourself in the main character’s shoes and revel in what’s going on. The film definitely could stand to tone down the violence though. If you did that and change the part about the dog then this film would be in much better shape.

Overall, John Wick is a pretty engaging film. It may have lost its traction from the start with the Puppy’s death but even though the movie is misguided, a lot of effort was clearly put into it. The soundtrack alone is evidence of that and then you’ve got the strong character cast to back it up as well. It’ll be interesting to see what plot the sequels go with. Something has to get him back in on the action right? I assume the movies are going to bump more people off but just about everyone he knows is already dead. Either way I guess John won’t be getting his happy ending yet. I hope the hotel appears again though, that was a pretty interesting locale.

Overall 1/10