Friday, 24 May 2019

John Wicky — Absurd Review of the Icky Sticky

John Wick - Keanu Reeves

Everybody seems to love Keanu Reeves. Right? Online, he is that unsung hero who in many viral social media posts is depicted helping the homeless, secretly financing hospitals for orphans and sick kids, setting up a foundation for cancer, and also paying for stranded travelers from his own pockets.
He is also known to live in a simple flat, regularly take the subway, and is an overall kind and decent human being. Lots of good, karmic deeds. Who really wouldn’t love such feel-good realness from a Hollywood high-paid star. I mean, he is a live example that not all celebrities are self-centered marionettes after all.

Now, with that in mind, one Saturday evening in October of 2014, I was residing at my aunt’s house in the Valley area in Los Angeles. That was a time when I was looking for a place in Venice Beach, yet still couldn’t find anything affordable. With not much to do in the area, I decided to one day treat meself to a sushi dinner followed by going to the nearby theater to watch a movie. 

Little did I know that almost five years later the flick I chose to watch that night would have a part 3. Yeah. Looks like after the Matrix, this trilogy act became a signature of Keanu Reeves. The following article was written after watching the first John Wick, to which this introduction has been added as of today in May of 2019.

As many of you have probably reckoned by now, I rarely, if ever, write about any mainstream topics, or cover the latest movie or news, or indulge in reaction writing. But let us say this brief and humorous review just happened as a direct consequence of going to the movies and watching John Wicky. Because you also probably know that I like to lighten up on you, my dear readers, as well as on myself. So here it is.

Every purple moon I go to the movies seeking some distraction. Last night there was Ouija playing, I checked it on IMBD, but found it rated 4.3. I checked John Wick and it was 8.3 — where it was described as: An ex-hitman comes out of retirement to track down the gangsters that killed his dog and took everything from him. Oooh. It’s also Keanu Reeves and Willem Dafoe, so... it should be OKayish. Or so I thought.

This is sort of a spoiler, a deliberate one, so if you still want to watch that movie stop reading. There is a variety of different topics to delve into on One Lucky Soul. Just check one of the many labels and take it from there.

Alright, the action/crime/thriller story starts with memories of Keanu’s young wife tragic, untimely death. He’s then seen in a gas station where one of three guys offered to buy his sport 1969 Mustang, but he refused.

Everything is for sale, Bitch,” said the stranger — in Russian.

Next scene, the three guys break into his cool home, beat the shit out of him, kill the cute puppy his late wife had given him [the bastards]. And, they steal the prized car. That’s it.

The father of one of said guys happens to be a Russian mafioso who also happens to know Keanu from older times. He called him up, trying to tell him “not to follow his instincts”. But it was too late for Krazy Keanu who flipped out and lost it for one full hour — unleashing his wrath like there is no tomorrow. Yet, like, there is a part 3 in the making.

Being a former assassin, he was fully loaded. It was like a “Commando-going-to-save-his-daughter-in-1985” sort of affair; utter revenge and non-stop destruction, often shown in the form of CGId bloody gun battles.

Here, though, there was no one to save... his car maybe, but I’m not even sure he got it back. Perhaps save himself? By killing. Spirit Of Times? Zeitgeist?

At some point through the movie, I tried to put myself in John Wick’s shoes. You know, to see if any of this could be slightly realistic. If I were freshly-widowed and someone had done that to Caramella my late Cocker Spaniel — and I loved her more than my unborn kids — would I go hunt them down while killing a few hundred people in the process, I found myself wondering for one brief moment. Bearing in mind that I’m no real hitman, but three quarter of a second later, I thought NO. Absolutely not. Even though my love for her was notoriously unconditional but I will not carry a bazooka and blow up people and cars in response. Even if my wife had just died. Not really my shtick. Because, how would that solve anything? how would that help me heal?

But hey, that’s just me: After all, I am crazy Bohemian Hippie at heart who is all for peace and love. Weird. 

By that time all these thoughts about the flick were invading my mind while [apparently] entertaining me more than the actual flick, it had been about 70 minutes. I had already dosed off twice, and, seriously, couldn’t take it anymore, so I got up and left, wondering what the hell is wrong with the mainstream... and humanity. Is it the people, the culture, America, or, is it me? Can some people find such a shallow, substanceless “action thriller” story captivating? Apparently yes: It is entertaining to spend one and a half hour of our lives watching some angry guy killing people to avenge his dead dog. Maybe these waves of mixed emotions will make the viewers feel better about themselves and their own lives. Remembering they are not John Wick and that they do not have to avenge their dead dog by going on a killing spree.

How about Wick flying to Nepal or something to heal from his uncontrollable anger and to learn the power of forgiveness. He can meditate on the summit of a mountain while getting another pup, too. Mayhap a stray runt doggo who will just magically pop up on one of his mountainous hikes there. Or that wouldn’t sell, huh. Then again, I am starting to think Keanu Reeves can only play those Matrix-like robotic roles with minimal dialogue — nothing deeper. 

Still, in real life the man seems to be a genuinely wonderful human being. We do need more of him in this absurd rotating rock we all live and breathe on.

So yes I did get distracted this Saturday night but I certainly wasn’t impressed nor entertained.

When five years later I heard about the John Wick 3 coming out, I instantly wondered when, how, and why did John Wick 2 even came into existence. It actually implies that the sequel did alright. 

In Box-Office numbers, with an estimated $20,000,000 in budget, the first John Wick (2014) grossed $43,037,835 in the U.S, and a staggering $130,888,901 in Cumulative Worldwide Gross. Impressive, one would nevertheless say.

As for John Wick: Chapter 2 (2017), the budget has doubled to $40,000,000; grossing in the US Box Office $92,029,184, while hitting $158,216,655 in in C.W.G.

Interestingly, now that I had to dig the above info about the sequel, I remembered a friend mentioning “John Wick” on Facebook at around the same time. I even recall adding this very article — well, the first version of it —  in a comment on his status. Now it makes sense he meant the second rather than the first which had been 3 year old by then. I also recall not sharing this article more than once ever since I first wrote it in 2014. I think because I consider this “movie-review” to be non-serious writing. As previously mentioned, I choose to write about simple, lighthearted topics every once in a while because my usual interest is deeply seated in psychology, philosophy, metaphysics, and mysticism among others. So one must lighten up to counterbalance the seriousness.  

Oh well. I hope you enjoyed reading my critique in this lampoon of an article as much as I enjoyed writing it then rewriting it five years later to welcome the unexpected arrival of John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum. I wonder how many villains and extras will he annihilate this time. 

The numbers, once again, spell success. This new addition went even higher than the previous two with an estimated budget of $55,000,000. Released May 19 of 2019, it has already brought in $73,177,579 in the U.S in a matter of one week.

Judging from the above digits, maybe it us true that such action/crime/thriller flicks are precisely what the audience of today’s world needs.

Sorry, Drifters, some of us do care... especially when we’re dateless

*Article originally published on 26 October 2014.
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