BQB here with a review of the latest John Wick installment.
How do I review a movie that seems more like a thrill ride than a film?
The first John Wick was a breakout success because it was so dang original. A seemingly mild mannered man’s wife dies and the death of the pooch she left behind drives him so mad that he comes out of retirement as an assassin and returns down the rabbit hole of an underground secret, global society of hitmen that operate underneath our noses?
Sign me up.
But with each installment, the franchise became less about the story and more about the fight scenes. The sequels are, by and large, just very long, well choreographed fight scenes. There’s always some premise about how Wick has cheesed off the hitmen society so all the hitmen want to kill him because of the high price on his hitman head.
From a writing standpoint, it’s novel. Superfluous backstory is unnecessary because Wick’s reputation precedes himself, so new characters can always be introduced as either an old comrade or an old villain. In this film, both are played by Donnie Yen, a blind man forced to fight his old friend to save his daughter. Donnie Yen has done the blind fighter routine before in Star Wars: Rogue One, but he does it well again here. Sidenote: If you haven’t seen him in the Ip Man flicks, Netflix them ASAP. If movies with subtitles aren’t your bag, at least YouTube the scene where Donnie fights Mike Tyson.
Overall, the movie satisfies the desire for fight scenes and mayhem. The story kind of got lost after the first film and its really just about the fights at this point.
Jesus Fucking Christ, this movie makes The Room look like Citizen Kane.
BQB here with the horrid poopy stinkfest that is the fourth installment of the Matrix franchise.
Let me begin by saying please support your local movie theater. If you’re (understandably) afraid to take in a show due to Covid concerns, maybe just buy a gift certificate and throw it in a drawer to spend on tickets on that long-awaited day when the rona becomes about as dangerous as a bad case of gas. Or what the heck? Just buy a seat online and don’t go.
I know. I’ll never do such things and you won’t either. Neither of us has the money to waste.
My point is this movie is the type of schlock you get when streaming services reign supreme and theaters go bye bye. As long as they meet their subscriber quota and have enough people paying monthly fees to keep the service going, they don’t give a shit if you actually like the movie. They can make it as dumb or stupid or preachy or lame as they want.
Meanwhile, the latest Spiderman flick is breaking box office records and doing the unthinkable, putting butts in theater seats, the moviegoing masses uncaring they might catch a debilitating illness because apparently the movie is that awesome and therein lies the rub – for a movie to make it at the theater level, it must be good, like, really good…so good that Hollywood suits might put in actual effort.
But I digress.
Way back in 1999, The Matrix was a surprise hit, a new twist on the sci-fi genre about a world where the machines have won a war and turned the defeated humans into batteries, placating their minds with a false simulation. Those smart enough to figure out the world is an illusion gain superhuman like abilities, which they’ll need to fight the system’s evil agents designed to keep free thinkers down.
The underlying message and/or food for thought? Life is a game and if you figure out how to hack it, you can break all the rules and do whatever you want.
I don’t think any of us fans blamed the Wachowskis for making the shitty 2003 back to back sequels. They stunk big time though the second had a few cool moments, the fight scene on the big rig in particular. The then brothers (now sisters because apparently they took their own message about hacking the life game’s code quite literally) had wowed us with a pretty awesome flick so who could begrudge them a 2 sequel cash grab?
But this latest one? It is truly an unmitigated pile of horse manure, covered with pig manure, drenched in pigeon poop, and then like, a dozen syphilitic hobos peed all over it and then the whole thing was left out in the hot sun to rot and fester and grow mold and mushrooms on it and then a bunch of rats and mice and assorted vermin burrowed into it and called it home and that’s before a bunch of drunk frat boys puked all over it.
No, really. It’s that bad.
The plot? It’s a super meta Matrix movie about the other Matrix movies. The main villains are Neal Patrick Harris and the literal Warner Brothers Corporation. (You read that right, as in the studio that gave us Bugs Bunny. No one thought it was funny when WB made itself a central plot point in Space Jam this summer so I don’t know why they thought it would work this go around.)
NPH is an evil psychiatrist who seeks to keep Neo (Keanu Reeves) under control by convincing him none of the stuff from the first three films ever happened and that it was all dreamed up by Neo’s real life identity Thomas Anderson, a video game designer who put elements of his life into a super realistic video game, ranging from his controlling boss (Agent Smith) to the soccer mom he likes to oggle at his favorite coffee shop (Trinity.)
When Warner Brothers, the parent company of Anderson’s gaming company, orders an unnecessary sequel (the studio only gets so many points for making fun of itself), Anderson goes into a deep state of depression over having to return to a bunch of stories he’d grown tired of until a plucky band of cyber warriors led by Bugs (Jessica Henwick in a dual reference to the rabbit that leads Alice down the rabbit hole and WB’s perennial carrot chomping mascot and seriously, whoever it is at WB who thinks it is a good idea to make WB a key part of movie plots needs to be both fired and publicly shamed, preferably at the same time)….
….where was I? Oh, right. They break Neo out of his funk and into a whole new world of data driven conspiracies.
Fan favorite characters Agent Smith and Morpheus return, but in different digital bodies played by Jonathan Groff and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II. They try but they don’t hold a candle to Hugo Weaving and Laurence Fishburne who, I like to think (or hope) they turned down this crap because there wasn’t enough money in the world to make them lower themselves enough to be associated with it.
Meanwhile, Carrie-Ann Moss reprises her iconic role as the leather clad biker babe Trinity and the gang must save her from the life the Matrix has cruelly assigned to her, that of a suburban soccer mom, because apparently, she would be better off getting sucked out of a pod full of goo and forced to live as an underground freedom fighter aboard a stank ass, dank, dark tunnel dwelling ship than, God forbid, raise children and be the important matriarch figure in their lives.
STATUS: To quote John Lovitz’ the Critic, “it stinks.” I watched it so I could tell you that you shouldn’t. To be fair, the final 20 minutes is a fun special effects bonanza, so if you want to put up your HBO MAX app and fast forward to the last 20, I wouldn’t blame you. You certainly shouldn’t sit through the first 40 where very little action happens and NPH and Keanu just pontificate over Mr. Anderson’s depressed state as a video game designer forced to make an undesired sequel. What about us fans who were forced to watch an undesired sequel? Will WB pay our therapy bills?
Oh wait. Now that I think of it, no one forced us to watch it and if we’d stop watching them, the studios would stop making them. Perhaps the system really can be hacked after all.
Sometimes people goof on this movie and I’ll admit, there is a lot you have to suspend disbelief for (namely, that it is pretty obvious from the get-go that Keanu Reeves’ Johnny Utah is a narc from the get go and it is unlikely that Bodhi’s (Patrick Swayze) gang of radical extreme sports loving, parachuting and wave surfing dudes who rob banks to support their globe trotting endless summer lifestyle would be fooled but whatever. Movies are all about suspension of disbelief, aren’t they?
This movie is a lot of things. It’s Reeves at his California bro-iest, where they allowed his surfer dude accent to fly free. I wonder if his accent wasn’t the inspiration for this film altogether. Someone somewhere in Hollywood must have been like wow we have this famous actor who sounds like a surfer dude. What can we do with him? That’s my guess anyway.
It also has Gary Busey in, my opinion, his best and most memorable role. Go ahead. Name another film Busey has been in. I know he’s been in a lot, but this is the one I remember him for, as Utah’s partner, older mentor who tells all the younger agents he was in Vietnam when they were in diapers or catching bad guys when they were popping zits or whatever. Also, he’s so hungry that he orders two meatball sandwiches because he could eat the ass end out of a rino. Now that’s real hunger right there.
It has bank robbers that are funny (the ex presidents who wear president masks while doing impressions, Nixon’s “I am not a crook” line stealing the show as well as the cash. Frankly, I think this movie set the standard for bank heist films and every other bank heist film since has been trying to copy it, with no one coming close to creating a group as funny yet also as scary as the ex-prez gang.
Young Utah infiltrates the gang, falls in love with Bodhi’s ex Lori Petty and falls in bro-love with Bodhi, admiring Bodhi’s free spirited, rejection of the work a day 9 to 5 chain yourself to a desk culture, yet also realizes the dudes can’t just be allowed to flaunt the law and put people in danger just to finance their lifetimes of fun.
It’s a great film and BTW, did you know it was directed by Kathryn Bigelow who won best director for The Hurt Locker? Seriously, Point Break is literally one of the most testosterone fueled, kick ass, bad ass films ever made, filled with gun fights and bank robberies and explosions and dudes in Ronald Reagan masks turning gas station pumps into flame throwers so they can set cars on fire and its got one of the dudes from the Red Hot Chili peppers as part of another gang of bad dude surfers except this one deals drugs and I could go on and on and on…and it was directed by a woman!
I’m not sure of the backstory there. I wish I knew more. Frankly, I think after Point Break, Bigelow should have been able to get her hands on many an action film, directing them through the 90s and 2000s at a rapid clip but her next memorable one doesn’t come until 2009’s The Hurt Locker, close to 20 years later. What’s up with that, Hollywood? This is a woman who clearly gets the action genre, who knows how to keep action lovers like me chomping on the popcorn so y’all should have given her more films to helm.
Not that anyone reads this blog anyway, I’m not saying Hollywood didn’t or what the case was. Just its odd to me that its Point Break in 91, then she did other stuff, but nothing really that stands out to me until The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty. Unless there were some films in the middle that I’m forgetting about.
STATUS: Shelf-worth, bro. Radical. BTW, there’s a speech that Bodhi gives about projecting strength that stuck with me this recent time I watched it. Every few years I dust off this gem and give it a go. I watched it as a kid (probably shouldn’t have) and thought it was pretty cool but didn’t understand everything. As an adult, I get Bodhi’s speech about strength. He says he projects strength to get what he wants out of life. If you act weak, people will treat you weak. If you act strong, people will give you want you want just out of fear of your strength.
Does this apply to everyday life? I mean, no you shouldn’t walk around like you’re ready to kick everyone’s ass. However, if you, say, go into a job interview dressed nicely, looking sharp, your fitness is on point, you’ve sought out the right experience and credentials for your field and you don’t come off as desperate, said employer might be like wow we need to scoop this person up before someone else does.
Also, I forget the actor’s name but Utah’s boss telling the young Utah that he’s young and dumb and doesn’t know anything and the worst part he doesn’t know what he doesn’t know. As I get older, I realize many problems that arose in my youth came from me not even knowing what I didn’t know. Like I kick myself for not doing X but then I have to admit that I had no clue Y result would happen or that I even had options A B C D or E, so hate on myself as much as I want but sadly, when you’re young, you have a lot less info to go on, which is sad because ironically, this is also the time when you are called on to make the most important decisions in life that will follow you forever.
This movie is that big piece of candy you reach for. You know you should be going for the meat and potatoes or better yet, a healthy tofu platter but damn it, it tastes good going down, even though you know it’s going to leave you with a tummy ache in a half hour, wondering why the hell you bothered with it in the first place.
BQB here with a review of a movie that’s found new life in the Netflix charts as of late, “Knock Knock.”
Going into this movie, you know it’s a horror film of sorts. It’s directed by Eli Roth, who has given us strange and bizarre horror films filled with exploitative sex and gore. The sex is here big time while the gore is not but Roth replaces the gore with weird mind games.
Keanu Reeves plays Evan, a middle aged family man who stays at home one fateful weekend while his beautiful wife and family go on a beach trip. All alone and swamped with work, Evan answers the door to find two scantily clad young women claiming to be lost in the rain. Would he mind letting them in to dry off and get their bearings and find out what to do?
Now here’s where I differ from most men put into this situation. As my 3.5 readers know, I am incredibly ugly and hideous, such that I make Gollum look like Matthew McConaughey by comparison. Thus, if a random hot, scantily clad woman comes on to me, I know fraudulence is afoot. There’s no possibly way she could be warm for my form because my form is blobular due to a life long crippling pizza addiction. Ergo, if a woman comes onto me, I know she’s trying to murder me or set me up for blackmail or going to rob me or what have you so in such a situation I would see through the ruse and slam the door in the faces of the women immediately.
Frankly, I’m so jaded that I’ll never trust a woman who doesn’t empty the contents of no less than three cans of mace into my face upon meeting me, but enough about me. Back to the review.
Keanu is handsome and his character is rich, so I guess I can see how he would figure these babes are legit into him. Even so, one might think he’d be intelligent enough to think that things that are too good to be true, i.e. two hotties showing up out of nowhere ready to party constitute a gift horse whose mouth should be thoroughly examined.
The first half of the film leaves us wondering what are these women going to do, because you know it is something. Are they going to murder him? Rob him? Blackmail him? Something else?
The second half of the film leaves us wondering why the women are doing what they are doing to Evan. Has he wronged them in some way that has yet to be revealed? Is he a horrible person who deserves it and there’s just some clue we have yet to see? What is the purpose of all this mayhem?
SPOILER ALERT: There’s a lot of build up for very little payoff. After Evan caves into temptation, the women (Lorenza Izzo as Genesis and Ana de Armas as Bel) put Keanu through a series of tortures, each creepier than the next. I hate to say it but some of them are even humorous, though I don’t think they were intended to be. There’s something about watching veteran actor Keanu buried up to his head in dirt while the women taunt him that makes me wonder if we weren’t better off in the Golden Age of Hollywood when 50 something actors would gracefully retire, only to maybe return once in awhile to play a kindly grandpa, whereas today dudes like Keanu rub some shoe polish in their hair so they can be chased around by psycho babes on camera well into their golden years. I don’t know. At any rate, Evan is subjected to all manner of punishments, though an explanation as to how or why these women decided to go around, offering their goodies to married men only to punish them if they partake is never fully explained.
Is there a moral to this story? Men are, by nature, animals, as are all creatures. In our cavemen days, men claimed any woman they wanted as long as they were strong enough to carry them back to the cave and I doubt that was a situation that ever worked out well for the woman.
The years passed and man became domesticated, realizing that the best goal in life is to win the heart of a woman, to marry and form a partnership, create a stable home, family etc.
In theory, men often torture themselves. If I’d waited, would I have been able to find more women? Could I have become rich and successful and attracted a vast array of hotties if I hadn’t tied myself down to the old ball and chain?
Probably not. And the irony is, it was hard, at least for me, to not feel sorry for Evan. Here is a dedicated family man, husband and father who brings home the bacon and at the start of the film, enjoys an idyllic life. He does not appear to be the kind of man who cheats and it is doubtful he would ever go out looking for another woman, i.e. he isn’t patrolling the bars late at night or anything. Left to his own devices he would never stray, but put two random naked beauties in front of him and his animal instincts kick in.
In such a scenario, does he deserve to be punished? Isn’t this entrapment? Or is that the moral of the story? Perhaps it wouldn’t happen in this way. Perhaps two too good to be true babes will never show up at your door. However, temptation is everywhere (again, if you’re Keanu) so…I don’t know. A flirtation with a waitress. An emotional affair with a coworker. You get tempted one time, you stray just one time and that’s all it takes to ruin your idyllic married life. And would those women punish you as in bury you in your head in dirt and try to kill you? No, but you know, they might take your money or ruin your reputation or leave you divorced and penniless and at that point, you might wish they had buried you alive and put you out of your misery.
Again, this would never happen to me as I don’t trust any woman who doesn’t instantly pepper spray me. You’re a woman and you want my trust? Pepper spray me directly in the eyeballs. Then I will know you are a woman of good moral fiber.
STATUS: Shelf-worthy. It is a terrible movie and yet like a flaming dumpster fire full of poo, it is hard to not look away. I’m not sure why Keanu did this movie as it seems beneath him other than I guess he got a paycheck and got to hang out with naked babes though I doubt he needs Hollywood’s help in the money and babe departments at this stage of his life so, who knows.
I think it was Thomas Wolfe who said you can’t go home again and I think of that line whenever one of these movies come out to capitalize on the pop culture products of yesteryear.
Who is this movie for? I remember (sadly, almost like it was yesterday) being a little kid and thinking Bill and Ted were hilarious (still do). The plot of the original Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, if you recall, is that when they are about to flunk their history exam, the leaders of the future send Rufus (George Carlin) in a time traveling phone booth to pick the boys up and go on a tour of actual history, picking up actual historical figures to learn from (and to inadvertently trash a mall due to historical misunderstandings gone awry.)
I even remember the sequel, Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey, where they die and go on an epic quest through heaven and hell, cheating and befriending Death along the way. Heck, I saw this one in the theater. Just like it was yesterday.
Soo….I don’t know. Is this movie for today’s kids? Maybe. Rock and Roll is long dead though. Sad because the first two were heavily rock based, such that they popularized the air guitar. The valley dude bro speak that Bill and Ted engage in is pretty much a thing of the past too. Well, maybe not in California but its seen way less in movies whereas it was all the rage in 1980s comedies.
It definitely isn’t for Keanu Reeves, though as I watched it, I decided he has a heart of gold. Bill and Ted launched his career and he has been skyrocketing ever since. Now in his middle age, he’s going stronger than strong, his John Wick movies a license to print money so he didn’t have to do this. I assume he only did it for love of Bill and Ted fans who gave him his start. Alex Winter didn’t go on to achieve Keanu status but I doubt he needed to do this either, so the real life Bill and Ted must think us 1980s/90s era dudes, now pretty long in the tooth ourselves, must still be pretty excellent to give us this dose of nostalgia.
So maybe it is for us fans who are getting up there. Nostalgia can be fun. For me these movies remind me of a happier time. Whether the past was better is always debatable and often we think of the past as being better, not necessarily because it was better for everyone but because it was better for us. We were young. The world was new. Time was on our side and all of life’s seemingly endless doors of possibility had yet to be slammed in our faces.
It makes me wish I had a time traveling phone booth of my own to go back and talk to me after seeing the old Bill and Ted movies and warn myself of all the proverbial rakes that the universe had hidden in the grass for me – where to find them and how to avoid stepping on them.
If you want to see this one, you might want to see the others first. You’ll get the gist if you haven’t, though there are references to the others that brought up vague recollections for me.
The plot is that Bill and Ted have spent the past few decades trying to achieve the destiny they were promised in the earlier films, namely that they would one day write and perform a song so awesome that it unites the world in peace and harmony. In truth, that song is needed more than ever today, but alas, the dudes have not been able to make it happen. Their band, Wyld Stallions, have gone from early success all the way down to the 99 cent bin, leaving them to perform at community center taco nights, the stress of it all draining their marriages to the British princess babes they dragged out of the past.
Don’t get me wrong. The film has its moments. I found one scene where Bill and Ted and their wives/princess babes go to couples’ counseling to be pretty funny. Meanwhile, Bill and Ted’s daughters, basically carbon copy parodies of their younger selves, are a hoot and they do a lot of the film’s heavy lifting.
Long story short, reality is about to collapse and B and T have a new deadline to write that epic song. While middle aged Bill and Ted go on a quest to the future to shake down various old versions of themselves in search of the song, their daughters go back in time looking for the great musicians of the past, seeking their help in producing it.
All in all, I enjoyed it. I do think Bill and Ted are products of the late 80s, early 90s when Rock and Roll was still loved and appreciated. Bill and Ted are able to solve most problems with a trip through time, though in reality, if you’re like me, you’ve realized that once mistakes are made and certain paths are traveled down, they can’t be undone, as much as you might long for a magic phone booth to use to go back and warn your past self of future problems and how to fix them.
Bonus points for a brief, tasteful tribute to the late George Carlin.
John Wick was such a breath of fresh air when it came out so many years ago now. I say that facetiously because the air was laden with a smelly, corpse stench but you know what I mean. In a sea of sequels, prequels and reboots, it was something new to latch our hooks into.
And to date, Hollywood hasn’t managed to screw it up…yet. This third installment doesn’t disappoint, though it does promise a fourth. Truth be told, this one was good enough that I look forward to a fourth and I suppose that’s the name of the game. When the movies start to stink, it’s time to call it a day, until the next reboot comes along.
Wick (Keanu Reeves) is on the run following a terrible offense he committed against the all knowing, all seeing high table of hitmen that, at least in this universe, control the actions of all assassins for hire.
The Adjudicator (Asia Kate Dillon of “Orange is the New Black” fame) is on the hunt for vengeance and she puts Wick’s fanboy, Zero (Mark Dacascos) to the task. With martial arts flare, Zero and company track Wick on a worldwide hunt, with Halle Berry, Angelica Houston, Laurence Fishburne, that guy who plays Ser Bronn of the Blackwater on Game of Thrones, and Ian McShane either reprising their old roles or stopping by the first time, depending on who you might be referring to.
It’s a highly artistic, super choreographed blood bath. The body count is high and all done with stylish flare. It’s not something easily described so you’ll just have to watch it.
Overall, this is the best new franchise to come around in a long time, so I hope they keep it up but also manage to end it with the same style as they’ve employed in past films.
You have a choice, 3.5 readers. You can take the blue pill and wake up, forget that you ever read this pitiful blog, or you can take the red pill and see how far down the rabbit hole this terrible blog goes.
What? You took the red pill? What the hell is wrong with you?
I first saw this movie in the theater when it came out in the summer of 1999. At the time, everyone I knew who saw it thought it was the dumbest movie they’d ever seen. I, on the other hand, thought it was special, unique, different – a science fiction film that didn’t involve space, or clichés, or wasn’t derivative, something that was brand spanking new. The Wachowski (then brothers, now sisters) had invented a whole new world that built off itself and it was intriguing.
Plus, the special effects alone made it worth watching. The slowed down, 360 kicks, spins, the “bullet time” slow motion where characters dodge bullets, all set the standard for other flicks to follow. It holds up today, and looks like something that Hollywood’s best FX gurus could have made yesterday.
The plot for the uninitiated – Thomas Anderson (Keanu Reeves) lives a lonely, forlorn life as an office drone for a tech company, hopelessly searching for meaning and finding none, even while he stays up all night exercising his hacking skills and surfing the Internet. It was 1999, so people still thought they might find meaning on the Internet, rather than just the giant reserve of pornography and cat videos it is today (and to be honest, was kind of back then too, just a lot grainier and slower…still if you were willing to wait 12 hours, you might get ten seconds of exceptionally slow, grainy, not worth watching cat footage.)
Impressed with his hacking skills, Thomas, who takes the name “Neo,” is recruited by Morpheus (Lawrence Fishburne in perhaps the most memorable role of his career) and his band of rebels, including Trinity (Carrie Ann Moss), Cipher (Joe Pantagliano) and some others who weren’t that famous so, you know, moving on…
Neo is let in on a big secret. The world as we know it is not a world at all. It is a computer program, dubbed “The Matrix.” The machines have won, they have enslaved humanity by putting them to sleep and hooking up to an array of cords that turn them into living batteries that give the machines energy. To keep the humans docile, their minds are hooked up to an alternate reality program that makes them believe they are living actual lives in an artificial world.
Those, like Morpheus et. al., who realize the world is fake, know that the world’s rules can be broken. They can load their brains up with all kinds of survival training, i.e. kung fu, weapons training, etc. They can run up walls, fire guns with great precision and do incredible kicks where they launch into the air and time stops as they connect their foot to an opponent’s face.
The villain of the film is Agent Smith (Hugo Weaving), a cold, calculating computer program who takes the appearance of a stern Federal agent. I think Agent Smith is one of the more underrated baddies of sci fi film history. Darth Vader might come at you like a honey badger on crack, but Agent Smith will, with his monotone, almost school marmish style, lecture you into believing that all hope is lost and that the best option is to give in, and frankly, he is very convincing. He’s every mean adult you met when you were growing up who told you the rules matter and you better drop your pie in the sky dreams this instant.
It’s funny how you learn as you get older and can watch movies and understand them more. At 20, I thought this was a fun movie. At almost 40, I realize it’s double meaning. Life is “the Matrix” and we often find ourselves weighed down by all these rules that keep us from doing what we want. “You can’t do this because of XYZ.”
“The Matrix” can mean a lot of different things to different people. “Taking the red pill” has become part of the cultural language now. I’ve heard people use that phrase in a variety of contexts, including people on both sides of the political aisle trying to convert others to their way of thinking.
Basically, there’s who you are and who you would like to be and if you stick with the life that makes you unhappy, you’re like Cipher, who decides “ignorance is bliss” and wants to stay in the Matrix because living under the imposed rules is better than going it alone. And in truth, to break the rules will lead to a period of suffering. Morpheus and company, by freeing their minds from the Matrix, do enjoy special powers when they return to the Matrix, but when they are out of it, they live in a harsh reality, one where the few surviving humans live in underground tunnels, eat gruel, and are constantly hunted by the machines.
Thus, if you stop following the rules, your life will be hard for awhile. People will make fun of you, not want to talk to you, you might suffer in a variety of ways, but eventually (hopefully) you’ll master your new life and become the sunglass wearing, black coat wearing kung fu master you were meant to be.
Again, “The Matrix” could be an allegory for whatever it is in your life that is standing between you and what you want. And it’s entirely possible that you might try to break out of the Matrix and fail. In the film, the rule is that if you die in the Matrix, you die in real life, because the body can’t live without the mind….and thus, if we think about real life, it is entirely possible that we might break the rules, suffer, and then succumb to suffering. Maybe Morpheus is right and it is better to live free and suffer than to live a lie. Maybe Cipher is right and it is better to live as a dupe and follow the rules rather than live in a cave and eat gruel.
Ironically, I assume that the Wachowskis broke out of their own personal Matrix by becoming sisters instead of brothers. But again, the Matrix can be adapted to whatever beliefs you have and whatever you think is standing between you and becoming who you want to be.
The film holds up. Although there are some late 1990s things that aren’t around today (the rebels in the Matrix talk to their friends in reality via big cell phones and must seek out a hard line or a telephone booth to get back to reality), the key is that the machines made the Matrix so that the world perpetually remains 1999 forever, even though in reality, it is 2199.
So technically, Hollywood could remake this and set it in 1999 and it would hold up with the film’s rules, though I hope they don’t. To be honest, this film was unique unto itself. The sequels that came out almost back to back in 2003 felt like cash grabs and to me, aren’t that memorable. The second is better than the third though.
STATUS: Worth a rental, or sometimes I even see it playing on cable so you might find it for free.
Take a gold coin and an OBLIGATORY SPOILER WARNING.
You know, 3.5 readers, back when I was dating that poor excuse for a man, BQB, I went with him to see the first John Wick movie and was pleasantly surprised. Isn’t it great when you go to a film, not expecting much, only to be blown away by it?
Keanu Reeves, one of the world’s most well-preserved fifty something year olds, reprises his role. Without getting into the nitty gritty, Wick owes someone a favor and when that favor is called in, whoa nelly, look out when because the shit is going to hit the proverbial fan.
It’s an excellent sequel. It doesn’t follow the usual sequel mistake of trying to be bigger or badder. It just carries on the story with all the stylish mayhem this franchise has caused us to grow accustomed to.
From a writer’s standpoint, wannabe scribes can learn a lot. “Show, don’t tell” is the name of the game when it comes to good writing and both films follow that rule to the letter.
Wick lives in a world where hitmen have rules. They use gold coins as currency. There are hotels around the world where they can stay, utilize certain services and enjoy safety from other hitmen while under the hotel’s protection. Ian McShane plays Winston, one such hotel owner. We learn a bit more about the rules and the people behind them in this film.
As this film series has grown in popularity, it’s no surprise that more and more actors want a piece of the action. Common, Ruby Rose (who is having a good start to her year if you were one of the 3.5 people who saw XXX: Return of Xander Cage), and Lawrence Fishburne all stop by to trade snide comments and the occasional bullet with Wick.
Keanu’s still got it after all these years. Whenever he speaks, he still sounds like that California surfer dude we loved in the eighties. Half the time when he shoots someone I expect him to say, “And I’m Ted ‘Theodore’ Logan.” (Go rent Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, millennials).
STATUS: Shelf-worthy. A third is clearly on the way. I love it when a first film surprises me and I also love it when the studio doesn’t screw up the inevitable cash grabbing sequel once the first film generates a fan base. Worth a trip to the theater.
2014’s John Wick was such a special, under the radar surprise. It didn’t get half the play it deserved and really grew just by word of mouth.
I was blown away when I saw it.
How to even explain it?
Very quickly, you, the viewer, are presented with a world where there’s a lot going on, but there isn’t much to bog you down in the way of detailed nuance.
Wick is a legendary hitman who goes into retirement to make his wife happy, only to come out of retirement when a puppy gifted to him by his deceased wife is killed by an epic douche.
Yeah, I know, it sounds like an unlikely plot but it works.
And there are rules. Hitmen use special coins as currency and they can stay at a special hotel where they’re supposed to be safe for the duration of their stay. And for a certain amount of coins, hitmen can make their victims’ bodies disappear no questions asked.
In other words, there’s a lot of rules but you learn them quickly and easily.
Plus, it was great to see Keanu Reeves in a big lead role again.
Shit, that man is well-preserved.
Anyway, John Wick has been given a second chapter. My only hope is that this franchise doesn’t get too big for its britches. Sometimes when a movie is an understated success there is a desire to go bigger in the sequel and that doesn’t always necessarily work out.
It was the quick, snappy, clear and concise writing that made the first Wick movie a success, so I hope there’s more of it this go around.