36 - JOHN WICK - 2014 - Chad Stahelski & David Leitch. I don't know anything about sports, but I imagine my first time seeing this was a lot like seeing your beloved underdog team finally take home a championship after decades of near-misses and total blowouts. I've always liked Keanu a lot as a performer, and seeing him finally matched with the perfect showcase for his over-the-top level of personal dedication was something to behold. Directed by a pair of veteran stuntmen, John Wick is as impressive a display of action choreography as I've ever seen in an American film, from the driving to the martial arts to the gunplay, and Reeves is always right there in frame selling the hell out of it. Even the script is 100% kinetic, barely even pausing to introduce its main character: we see Wick's dog get killed, we're told simply that this will end VERY BADLY for everyone, and then it's on. The story moves like a domino chain: pure action and reaction, avoiding exposition even while taking a deep dive into this lavishly complex world of gangsters and assassins. The rules and intricacies of the Continental alone are enough to build a TV show around (I've just learned that this is going to be a thing, btw), but here they're just the background machinery clicking along behind this otherwise straightforward revenge film. That's an amazing level of storytelling discipline, and the whole thing is just insanely rewatchable as a result. Quite literally never a dull moment.
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