It was packed when I arrived at the Oakville Silvercity Theatre last night. I’d forgotten how busy the early evening shows are on the lead up to the weekend.
Fortunately I drive a Mercedes SmartCar and parking is seldom an issue … although funny looks and smiles are common (I’m 6’3″ and folks think it’s funny when a tall guy gets out of a small car!)
Anyway, purchasing a VIP ticket for the show was a good move. I arrived early to grab a frosty beverage and the place was humming. Fortunately all the little ankle biters and squealing teens were downstairs trying to impress each other. Styled hair, short shorts, and makeup … and that was just the boys! Just kidding …
With cold beer in hand I wandered into the theatre to claim my seat. I always grin when the semi-darkness engulfs me because there’s something magical about the movies … ever since I was a kid I’ve loved it.
(Sidebar: I always wanted to own an old-style theatre. The plush red velvet stage curtains, the smell of popcorn, the squeak of the seats, the clickity-clack of the real-film projector. Times long gone now…)
… and we’re back …
Sure enough, the busy parking lot and VIP bar were surefire indicators of the popularity of Friday night movies. John Wick was filling up quick. (Ooh, that rhymes!)
I quickly looked around and noticed the theatre was filled with the usual mix of Friday night couples … but what surprised me were the number of women groups en-masse laughing and looking forward to what was arguably going to be a rather “action oriented” shoot-em-up. Turns out Keanu is a real chick-magnet (their words not mine!)
The lights dimmed, the trailers rolled (by the way … did you know the trailers used to run AFTER the movies? That’s why they are called trailers! Then some bright spark figured if you wanted people to watch them, put them first. Genius eh?)
And the movie started …
First let me preface this with the following. I want to see it again! No kidding. It’s seldom I watch a movie after paying about $20 and think .. “OMG, I must pay another $20 to watch that again.”
But that’s what happened last night.
The story arc is simple. “Bad” Man falls in love. Leaves his bad life behind. Loses love. Feels sad. Gets dog from dead wife. Bad things happen and the bad (now good) man reverts (temporarily) to his old ways to avenge the death of his dead wife’s dog.
I can’t believe I just wrote that.
But simple plotting aside, you need to remember movies are made to entertain and this movie delivers. With an all-star cast including Willem Dafoe and Ian McShane (of the ever popular gravelly voice) the story kicks quickly into high gear.
What surprised me (and the trailer didn’t do it justice) was the humour in this movie. Granted it’s dark and rather macabre, but the delivery in many cases was dead-pan and spot on. Even the way the humour was spoken in many cases added to the punch.
And speaking on punch, OMG!!! Where the heck did this fighting style originate? Close quarter pirouettes and smooth moves made John Wick’s action sequences visually stunning and quite frankly breathtaking.
Scene after scene builds on the one before until the climactic finale. Ironically the movie starts at the end with John Wick staggering from a badly damaged car and collapsing onto the floor bleeding from an assortment of wounds.
As he lies there he pulls out his iPhone and presses play to watch a video of him and his wife on the beach during happier times. He slumps over … and the movies starts.
No, I’m not telling you how it ends. That’d be cruel and it’s not my thing. Go watch it yourself. By the way, an interesting story within the movie is one about the sub-culture of assassins. Much of the humour comes from this including an amusing scene in the hotel Intercontinental (a safe sanctuary for assassins).
The bad-bad-guys in this movie are Russians but as with much of the movie, things are not cut and dried and the relationship between all characters is more complex than you might imagine for a stylized action shoot-em up.
Refreshing fun for sure. A plot. Great cinematography, cool car chases, solid acting, phenomenal action sequences and down-right good Friday movie fun.
My final observation from this movie was the interesting way gold coins were used to pay for “dinner reservations” … you’ll need to watch the movie to figure out that twist.
PS. If you’re local and you’d like to join me sometime check out my new NOT-WORKING meetup group.