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Sunday, February 17 , 2019, 11:01 pm | Fair 48º


Cinema in Focus: ‘John Wick’

1 Star — Destructive

It is rare that we see a film that is so void of any positive values. John Wick wins the award for the most gory gunshots to the heads of bad guys of any movie in recent history.

Wick (Keanu Reeves), who left the mafia to get married and settle down, is left in a vulnerable position after his wife unexpectedly dies as the result of an illness. So, when another bad guy’s son shoots Wick’s puppy, it unleashes a pit-bull response that rips dozens, if not hundreds, of other bad guys from the face of the Earth and sends them to another form of the Hell in which they live.

Don’t look for any socially redeeming value other than the fact that bad guys are taken off the street. This is not a film about justice being served. Rather, it is about vengeance being experienced.

In many ways, this film is a natural extension of the video game world in which so many young people live today. You get points for how many people you can shoot in a one-minute period. Killing them is not enough, though; you have to do it with enough blood and gore to get the audience to think that this is “Chainsaw Massacre Revisited” or some similar celebration of gratuitous violence.

If we could have given a film a “negative 1,” we would have. This takes the prize for the worst film of the year!


» Do you think vengeance is every justified? What if it was Wick’s wife rather than his dog that was killed? What happens when we go far beyond an eye for an eye and give death for a dog’s death?

» This is the debut film for director David Leitch and Chad Stahelski. Having had a long career as stunt men, it is as though they have gory stunts for no purpose. Derek Kolstad wrote the screenplay, but it is only his third script and lacks depth. What would you have done to make the film better?

— Cinema in Focus is a social and spiritual movie commentary. Hal Conklin is a former mayor of Santa Barbara and Denny Wayman is pastor of Free Methodist Church, 1435 Cliff Drive. For more reviews, visit www.cinemainfocus.com, or follow them on Twitter: @CinemaInFocus. The opinions expressed are their own.

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