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October 31st, 2014

Movie Review - John Wick

John Wick

Starring: Keanu Reeves, Michael Nyqvist, Alfie Allen, Willem Dafoe, Dean Winters, Adrianne Palicki, Ian McShane, Lance Reddick, Daniel Bernhardt, Omer Barnea, Toby Leonard Moore, Bridget Moynahan, and more.

Directed by: David Leitch and Chad Stahelski Screenplay by: Derek Kolstad Cinematography by: Jonathan Sela Music by: Tyler Bates and Joel J. Richard

Premise: John lost his wife to a disease, and though they'd know the end would come eventually, he's still not prepared for it when it comes. His wife, knowing he would need an emotional anchor, ordered a beagle puppy to delivered after her funeral. Trying to deal with this new wrinkle, he's approached by a man at a gas station who wants to buy his car. He tells him 'no' and they part ways. But that night, they assault him in his home, kill his new dog, and steal his car. But there's something they don't know about John Wick - John is a retired assassin. And for their disrespect, someone will pay. (Rated R)


1)  Acting - Total Thumbs Up: Keanu as John Wick was an excellent choice - from wounded husband to avenging angel, you never doubt what's on his mind. Michael Nyqvist as Viggo Tarasov was another marvellous choice - a man who knows the choices he makes may very will be the end of everything, but does them anyway.

A master stroke was getting Adrianne Palicki to play Ms. Perkins - she was all sorts of delicious goodness in the film. (Supernatural fans - meet a new and deadly Jess. She's also been making waves in this season's Agents of Shield! Scrumptious!) Aldie Allen does what he does best as the mob boss's son Iosef. Lance Reddick was fab as the Hotel Manager! Best straight face in the business!

And one who would not normally get credit - the beagle puppy, Daisy. Most adorable thing EVER!

2) Special Effects - Total Thumbs Up: As the previews imply, there is a boat load of gun play and destruction. People shot in all manner of ways with minor splatters of blood all over the place. Great work all around.

3) Plot/Story - Total Thumbs Up: The premise for the film is simple and could have easily been glossed over and just used as an excuse for the mayhem. Films of this type normally go in that direction, not really bothering to get the audience invested. But not this one. These guys sell you into it. They let you see John's pain and grief and the glimmer of possible hope brought to him by his dead wife in the form of a puppy. And they were smart enough to get the most evilly adorable creature imaginable. So the audience is right there with him when things take an unexpected turn and you want them to pay for what they've done as bad as John. Super kudos on how they played this!

If that wasn't enough to amaze, they used the right reason to support why these mobsters didn't hand the offender over on a silver platter, the idiot is the boss's son. His only son. Half the fun of this thing is watching each rung of men realize who it is that the idiot Iosef picked on and how he may have just signed a death warrant on them all. Heh heh.

Lots of small reveals about John and who it is he's coming after and how this is one giant cosmic joke or a case of karmic vengeance. And John Wick is wickedly efficient. He very much believes in the 'double tap' principle. Totally awesome. And they had to reload! Yes! They even had a competent head of security to slow John down - the guy was awesome.

And then they give you more. John goes back into a world known to only to a select few. A world with rules and stringent codes of conduct. Things you do and things you don't. It added another fabulous layer to the entire enterprise. And Ms. Perkins - so loved the character of Ms. Perkins. lol.

Also, after you've seen the film, think about John's reputation, and then who it was that helped him. I got the definite impression this was not the first time this game was played. Priceless.

4) Stunts - Total Thumbs Up: The stunts were phenomenal. Tons of hand to hand combat, close range shooting, speed driving, all the fun stuff of which action movies are made. And they did it phenomenally - several scenes almost seeming like a ballet at times due to the awesome timing and smoothness of the choreography of those involved.

5) Locations/Cinematography - Total Thumbs Up: Great locations for all sorts of mood setting spots: the Red Circle with the club within a club, the hotel combining old and new and its own unique clientele. And the cinematography showed every one of them in lovely detail. Then showed them as chaos came to rule. Visually stimulating.

Conclusion: "John Wick" was an action packed paradise with a solid story raising it that much higher above the fold. Definitely a fun ride all around. Subject matter might be a little too strong for younger kids.

Rating: 4.25 out of 5 (Hubby's Rating: Worth Full Price to See Again)  

Gloria Oliver
Unveiling the Fantastic



(2015) Fantasy

The King is Dead! Long Live the Undead King!

"What are you implying?"

The magister glided forward and scrunched down beside him.

"That in order to bathe, you must first actually get into the bath."


(2014) Urban Fantasy

It took everything from her, except revenge!

The muscles in my right arm jerked from tension as I tried to make it move and it resisted. A shrill scream inside my head insisted I didn't want to do this. That if I did, there'd be no way to take it back. "I...I'm afraid."


(2011) Young Adult – Fantasy

Which is worse…the monster without or within?


Home—family—the two things he would never have, the two things forever denied him…because of her.

Anger welled inside him, the heat of it suffusing him to the core, gurgling with seething emotions the total opposite of the coolness splashing down from the fountain nearby. Before he realized what he was doing, Jarrin stepped inside the gazebo.

(2007) Young Adult – Fantasy
“Harry Potter meets Dragon Riders of Pern”


“Do you need any help?” she asked. “Just tell me what you want me to do. If you prefer, I’m sure I can round up at least a few people to come over and give you a hand.”

Kel slowly shook his head. “It’s all right. Thanks anyway.” His voice lowered to where she almost couldn’t hear it. “This is all part of my punishment.’

She frowned, not understanding what he meant. “Punishment?”

Kel cocked his head in Clarence’s direction. In a flash, she understood. None of this was an accident. Clarence had landed there deliberately, hoping to make Kel pay for all he went through in the past month. She shook her head, not wanting to believe this, but what the dragon said next took any doubts right out of her head.

(2008) Young Adult – Fantasy
“To save the world she must DIE! Or must she?”


Panic and fear filled with utter helplessness made her dizzy. She knew what would be done with her, she knew what they planned. But there was nothing she could do to stop any of it.

Sharp gasps echoed in her ears as she felt the room’s cold air caress the Eye.

“You were right. She is the one.”

(2002) Adult/YA – Japanese Fantasy Adventure
“The Last Samurai meets Pirates of the Caribbean”


Laying the blade on the floor before him, Toshi parted his kimono until his stomach lay exposed. He tucked his sleeves beneath his legs to hold him upright if he should falter. Ignoring Asano, he took up the blade. His shoulder flared with pain and he tried not to flinch, as he grabbed the blade with both hands. He turned the wakizashi until its sharp point was aimed at his belly, the residence of his soul.

(2004) Adult/YA – Fantasy Mystery
“He tried to forget his past, but his past wouldn’t forget him”


Torren took a step back a sudden shudder racking through him. It was as if he’d never left, as if the boy he’d been would be coming back-though the one who’d loved this room and all these things was long, long dead. That boy died when he’d watched his father’s blood pour forth from his mouth, the end of a sword protruding from his abdomen. That boy died when he survived while everyone else lay dead.

Info, sample chapters, and free reads at www.gloriaoliver.com

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