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John Wick Keanu Reeves, Michael Nyqvist, Alfie Allen, Adrianne Palicki, Bridget Moynahan, Dean Winters, Ian McShane, John Leguizamo, Willem Dafoe, Marilyn Manson,John Wick: after his wife dies thugs steal his car and kill his dog, which forces former assassin and ‘bogeyman’ John Wick to go on a rampage of Archer proportions. No need to worry about the Bechdel Test with this film – as the only two women with dialogue appear as a video recording, and a sassy female hit-woman. No need to worry about the plot either, as it’s based around a hotel where assassins live and party with each other – and gold coins are the preferred payment method. Whilst Keanu isn’t the most watchable of frontmen he handles is action scenes with style, and Nyqvist, McShane, Dafoe fill in any gaps with fun roles. Reminiscent of 90s European / Asian action movies like Taxi, District 13, Hard Boiled etc – this is all about the guns, cars, pounding techo music and hyper styalised violence, of which there is shitloads. The action scenes are second to none: graphic and wild gunplay (most villains get ‘double-tapped’ – chest then head), there’s excellent combat which incorporates wrestling holds and slams, and a couple of nifty car chases. One of the directors is a stunt man, which shows as the action scenes are a cut above your standard affair. John Wick is a rarity these days – a no-brainer, balls out, gritty revenge / action film, that sticks to its R-rating and doesn’t claim – or try – to be anything more. It’s the kind of film that Taken 3 wishes it was.

Score: 8/10

John Wick 2 Keanu Reeves, Michael Nyqvist, Alfie Allen, Adrianne Palicki, Bridget Moynahan, Dean Winters, Ian McShane, John Leguizamo, Willem Dafoe, Marilyn Manson,

The Secret in their Eyes: A retired policeman turned struggling author digs through an unsolved murder case. This starts epically slow, with the first hour culminating in a pedestrian ‘whodunnit’… The most annoying aspect is that for a murder case, it’s full of the worst clichés like unknown people in pictures and a reliance on memories and unturned stones (poor police work first time round!!) There’s some technically stunning shots, like the aerial/football ground take, but this is karma’d out with the worst SFX team in history and the awful rubbery skin used to convey ageing. A handful of quirks and jokes lighten it up a bit and push the film along – letter A missing, telephone answering gag, door being open/closed etc. While it’s technically sound and reasonably well acted – this is way, way off of the greatness mark – with the final product being two long, slow, boring and non-captivating hours. Poignant, but pointless.

Score: 3/10