John Wick (Keanu Reeves) takes out most of the first 12 men with a handgun, though a few require a knife or a good, old-fashioned neck breaking. The next 20 or so are shot and stabbed. The next group receives high-velocity rounds to the chest, neck, and head. A really sneering man gets choked to death, his breathing slowing down until a steady jerk results in a crisp snap. And more shootings, stabbings, and beatings are still to come. John Wick is a legendary hit man for a New York City-based Russian mobster, though Wick retired when he met the right woman (Bridget Moynahan). An unspecified illness takes her from his life, and her final gift to Wick is a beagle puppy. She knew her stoic, withdrawn husband would need somebody to fill the existential void in his soul created by her loss. She was right. And, wouldn't you know it, some young Russian hoodlums see Wick's choice vintage car and decide they want to steal it, breaking into his house, beating him up, and, that's right, killing his dog in the process.
Best of all, Wick is right in Reeves' sweet spot, portraying the kind of man who can really only hold one thought in his head. Reeves does the non-thinking-too-much man of action well, and the lone idea in his head here is a perennial: Smite douchebags. So from now on, anytime the cloying opening moments of Sarah McLachlan's 'Angel' announces that wrist-slitting ASPCA commercial on TV, don't immediately change the channel. Instead, imagine Neo getting guns, lots of guns, and becoming the equalizing, punishing, death-wishing John Wick, avenger of wronged animals.