John Wick is violent, simple, and flashy, and so it feels very contemporary. Yet, it is also — in a way that reminds me of Reeves’s directorial debut Man of Tai Chi — a film with deep roots in 90s action cinema in Hong Kong and, so, a generic throwback.
Story-wise this movie is lean and seductive, imagining a complete world with minimal strokes. Information comes though casting, acting, set design, location selection, costuming dialogue, point-of-view — from all of the various channels the film has at its disposal really — yet there is little or no unnecessary duplication between them. The result is a rich story space that manages to feel roomy despite its intensity and limited scope.