TL;DR – John Wick is a masterpiece of balancing storytelling and worldbuilding without resorting to multiple exposition dumps or clunky dialogue exchanges.
When you are making or adapting some form of narrative medium, whether it is a book, video game, TV show, online video series, or a movie, two of the most important narrative facets are storytelling and worldbuilding, however, they can often find themselves in conflict with each other. I think we have all played that video game that is crammed full of lore, around every corner is another audio log sitting there for you to digest and thus the story gets lost in at that worldbuilding. Conversely, people fall in love with the worlds you can create, as much as people love Harry Potter, they are also enraptured with the whole Wizarding World, #HufflepuffForLife, so if you focus just on your story and don’t build the world around you, you’re going to have a shallow narrative and a missed opportunity. So how do you rectify this issue, well you could do what Snowpiercer and others have done in the past and gone with an opening newscast, or narration, or like the grandmaster of it all Star Wars, and have it all in your opening crawl. Or you could go with the Game of Thrones route and hide your exposition in sex scenes hoping that nudity will keep people engaged, and indeed you may even coin a phrase with ‘sexposition’ in the process. Or you could follow John Wick’s lead by crafting a strong narrative while also building a fascinating world. Now as we will be dissecting John Wick for this analysis, and since we will be focusing on the story, there is no way we could do that and not have any spoilers, so if you have not seen it yet, firstly go watch John Wick, but also you may not want to proceed any further, or do, I’m not your boss.
TL;DR – A pretty solid buddy/cop film, not something I have seen in a while, it does have a lot of style, but it hasn’t quite got the substance to go along with it.
Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars
This is an interesting film in that it is a good old fashioned buddy/cop film, and it has been a while since I have seen a good one, yes I am looking at you Bastille Day, in fact it is a genre that you just don’t see that often anymore, which is a pity because while it can be very cliché, when done well it is a lot of fun to watch.
TL;DR – Interesting but I doubt it will be remembered a month from now
Score – 3 out of 5 stars
Well, it seems like this is the time for a gritty retelling of true stories of the criminal underground and while last week’s Black Mass (see review) was a boring mess this week’s Legend is a little bit more interesting. While one should endeavour to review films on their own merits, it’s a bit hard not to compare the two films due to their similar content, the manner of presentation and proximity of release.
TL;DR – “This is … This is … This is…. ‘What?’ .. This is borrrrring” Scott Pilgrim
Score – 2 out of 5 stars
Black Mass is a ‘true’ story about how the FBI ended up being entangled with an Irish-American mobster James ‘Whitey’ Bulger from Boston in an attempt to take down the local Italian Mafia, leading to the FBI ‘unexpectedly’ backing Whitey into becoming the crime lord of Boston. So during Black Mass, we get to see the rise and fall of James ‘Whitey’ Bulger and his Winter-Hill Gang, and that’s not a spoiler because they tell you that in the first couple of minutes of the film. Before we go on I cannot tell you how true the ‘based on True Events’ tag is, I mean I could research it, but the film honestly does not feel like it is worth the effort.
TL;DR – A really good action flick and an example of world building done right.
Score – 5 out of 5 stars
John Wick has been out on DVD/Digital Download for some time and with a sequel now on the cards, I thought I would have a look back at one of the better action films in recent times.
The basic plot of John Wick is that the titular character John Wick (Keanu Reeves) is a man who was once in deep in the Russian mob, and through an impossible act he freed himself and settled down with his new love, only for her to pass away. The last thing his wife did was buy John a puppy so he could move on from his grief. The son of the Russian Mob boss Iosef (Alfie Allen) mistakes him for an easy mark, this is an error, a grave error.