Rated Greg’s Top 10 “One Tough S.O.B.’s”*
- Rama (Iko Uwais) – The Raid
- John McCLane (Bruce Willis) – Die Hard
- Dutch (Arnold Schwarzenegger) – Predator
- John Wick (Keanu Reeves) – John Wick
- The Bride (Uma Thurman) – Kill Bill
- John Creasy (Denzel Washington) – Man on Fire
- Cameron Poe (Nicolas Cage) – Con Air
- Maximus (Russell Crowe) – Gladiator
- Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron) – Mad Max: Fury Road
- Dalton (Patrick Swayze) – Road House
*No, I have never seen Rambo or Death Wish.
In John Wick, Russian gangsters kill Keanu Reeves’s puppy and steal his 1969 Mustang Mach1. Big mistake. They come to find out later that Keanu is a former assassin and is dead set on seeking vengeance for taking away the two things most important to him. It’s a fantastic one-man wrecking crew of a movie that came out of nowhere in 2014. I know Keanu’s acting style can be viewed as kind of a joke, especially in action movies (I AM AN EFF BEE EYE AGENT!), but his physical performance in this is quite impressive (also, after listening to a recent Nerdist podcast with Keanu I really think he’s in on the joke. He doesn’t seem to talk like such a dummy in real life). Anyways, I highly recommend John Wick if you dig action shoot-em-ups. There’s a B-A-N-A-N-A-S fight sequence in a Russian bathhouse/nightclub that is an absolute all-timer.
John Wick: Chapter 2 is like 99% of the other action sequels. It takes a similar storyline but doubles the explosions, doubles the body counts, and doubles the stakes, diluting what audiences enjoyed so much in the first place (Chapter 2 might actually quadruple the body count. I swear Keanu kills must hit three figures here). This is how John McLane went from saving an office building in 1988 to saving an airport in 1990 to saving New York City in 1995 to saving America in 2007 to saving the world in 2013. I don’t really know what the solution is. Studios don’t want to make the same movie twice, but nonetheless I tend to prefer the lower scale action movies like Bad Boys to the “bigger, badder” Bad Boys 2.
Wick 2 is still definitely worth seeing though if you’re an action head. The fight sequences again are equally top notch and ridiculous. Director Chad Stahelski is a former stuntman so he certainly knows what he’s doing in that department. Everything else however is just not as charismatic as the original. Grade: B-