John Wick (2014) & The Neon Demon (2016) Movie Reviews

With John Wick: Chapter 2 coming out, I figured I better review the first film (which I finally watched a few months ago). So I wrote the below review. After writing it, I then watched The Neon Demon. I must say that John Wick has gone up in my estimation since seeing The Neon Demon. Every movie EVER MADE has now gone up in my estimation since seeing The Neon F*%#ing Demon!!!!! Let’s talk about these, shall we…?

John Wick (2014)

Directed by Chad Stahelski & David Leitch

Starring: Keanu Reeves, Michael Nyqvist, Alfie Allen, Adrianne Palicki, Bridget Moynahan, Dean Winters, Ian McShane, John Leguizamo, Willem Dafoe

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
An ex-hitman comes out of retirement to track down the gangsters that took everything from him.

My Opinion:

I love Keanu Reeves. And, apparently, I’m not alone. I was very surprised when a list I did last year of My Top Ten Keanu Reeves Movies was one of my most viewed & most shared posts. Yay! Everyone loves Keanu! I honestly didn’t realize he was so popular.

So I made that list having not yet seen John Wick or The Neon Demon and figured I could update it once I’ve watched them. Well, I’ve now updated the list. I can tell you that The Neon Demon sure as SHIT doesn’t make the top ten (it’s atrocious). Unfortunately, John Wick doesn’t quite manage to break into my top ten either. It’s very close! I’ve put it at 12 but it’s probably hovering around the 10, 11 or 12 range depending on my mood… So there you go – I’m sure you were all dying to know my final official ranking of Keanu Reeves films! 😉

John Wick is a really fun action film. It was what I expected in being all style over substance so that didn’t bother me at all. We all need to turn off our brains sometimes & just watch a fun action flick! I think I was just disappointed that it wasn’t as much fun or as stylish as I’d been expecting in order for it to make up for that lack of substance. It’s an okay film but comes absolutely nowhere near Keanu’s best. This is no The Matrix or Speed and it’s especially no Point Break (Point Break rules!). Damn. But, man, I loved that puppy. Cutest puppy EVER! I’m giving this movie a slightly higher rating simply because of the puppy. A BEAGLE. A SNOOPY puppy!!!!!


Wook at that wittle face!

I do know how to enjoy a fun “popcorn” movie and, no, I wasn’t expecting Oscar-quality writing or acting in John Wick. However, I needed to know the character of John Wick a little better in order to care about him & his quest for vengeance. We get some flashbacks of his wife and, of course, we meet his adorable puppy. However, we didn’t get much of his backstory. I felt like I didn’t know a thing about him by the end other than that he was sad about his dead wife (not a spoiler – she’s already dead at the beginning of the movie). I mean, he’s a (former) killer. Right? How is he any better than the many, many (many) people he proceeds to kill throughout this film? Because a cute puppy licked his face & he loved his pretty wife?

Okayyyy – I fully admit to falling asleep in the middle of this like I often do during films at home so maybe I missed something (I’m a parent. I’m exhausted). 😉 Why did he retire? For love? Or because he developed a conscience? I hope that was the reason… The only way I can describe it is this: I sometimes watch a movie and feel like I’ve jumped right into the middle of it and missed a bunch of the beginning where they’ve set up the characters & the story. I felt that way 30 minutes into John Wick despite missing absolutely nothing from the start. I almost cared more about Willem Dafoe’s character (a great character, from the very little we get to know him – I’d love to know more about his previous relationship with Wick as well). Well, maybe we’ll find out more in the sequel? As fun as it is to watch some shoot-em-up non-stop action sometimes, I still want to know a little about the main character at the very least. If I care about him, I’ll get more enjoyment from his revenge. I do love a really good revenge movie! I liked John Wick well enough to watch the sequel but it’s a “wait for it to show up on Netflix” movie for me. (Although, initial reviews of the sequel are very good so maybe I can be talked into making a trip to the cinema for it. But the sequel puppy isn’t nearly as cute…!!!)

My Rating: 7/10

**SPOILERS. Kind of.**

The Neon Demon (2016)

Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn

Starring: Elle Fanning, Karl Glusman, Jena Malone, Bella Heathcote, Abbey Lee, Christina Hendricks, Keanu Reeves

Plot Synopsis: Guy succeeds in making a decent film called Drive, which then gives him the freedom to make the biggest pile of shit I’ve seen since similar success for another writer led to the creation of the atrocious Jennifer’s Body. The Neon Demon makes Jennifer’s Body look good. 

My Opinion:

I called a movie that I reviewed last week a “load of pretentious bullshit” (the movie Comet). I now apologize profusely to that movie. I’d rather be strapped to a chair “Clockwork Orange-style” & forced to watch Comet 100 times than to ever have to even THINK about The Neon Demon again. I want to wipe this movie from my memory “Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind-style“. I want to go back in time and, “Marty McFly-style”, tell myself it’s my destiny (density!) to NEVER watch The Neon Demon. I want to take a flame thrower to this movie “Ellen Ripley-style“. I want to get medieval on this movie’s ass “Marsellus Wallace- style“. I want to stick this movie’s head in a box “Gwyneth Paltrow-style“. I want to banish this movie to the cornfield “Twilight Zone-style“. I want this movie to eat itself, to puke itself up, to re-eat itself, to piss itself out, and to f*%k its own corpse “The Neon Demon-style“.

I can’t truly put into words just how much I hated The Neon Demon and its fake, derivative, shallow, pointless, pretentious aping of artistic masters such as Jodorowsky, Buñuel, Argento, von Trier, Cronenberg, Lynch, etc etc. Not everyone will be a fan of all of those I’ve named (I’m not even saying that I like them all myself) but, like their work or not, at least they did their own thing instead of making superficial & inferior copies of their influences.

I’ll give this movie an extra point for Elle Fanning, though, as I thought she did a decent job for her young age. Other than Fanning, everyone in this is now slightly ruined for me the next time I see them in other films (even Keanu, dammit). Still love him, though, so I’ll try to put this movie out of my mind. But I hope to never see Jena Malone in anything ever again so am very glad that I wasn’t a fan of hers in the first place. More than anything, I’m annoyed that this has tainted the movie Drive and especially that it has ruined Drive’s soundtrack for me, which I liked even more than the film. I’ve hated plenty of movies over the years but I don’t think there’s ever been one that I actually regretted seeing. The Neon Demon may very well be the first. In that regard, I suppose you at least have to give Nicolas Winding Refn credit for creating a film that generated some strong reactions from its’ viewers. I don’t mind movies with some shock value (of those I mentioned above, I do love a lot of Cronenberg’s work) but, to quote my husband, “The Neon Demon thinks it’s art when it’s merely just artifice”.

My Rating: 2/10

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18 thoughts on “John Wick (2014) & The Neon Demon (2016) Movie Reviews

  1. I have to say, I’m really looking forward to getting round to The Neon Demon, even after your review! I’ve heard such mixed things that it kinda fascinates me — no idea if I’ll love it or hate it. But I’ve still not seen Drive or Only God Forgives and it somehow feels weird to dive straight to Neon Demon without having seen one or both of those.

    As for John Wick, I also came to it after all the hype and didn’t think it was as good as everyone made out, but it’s still fun. I think the mystery about Wick, his backstory, and especially the kind of world he lives in is part of what a lot of people liked about it — it’s almost like a Fantasy movie, where there’s this secret world alongside our own with all its special rules and legendary people and stuff. I hope the sequel(s) don’t wind up ruining that.

    • Ha! Yeah – I’m more intrigued by movies people love or hate with a passion than the “meh” ones. I’d actually watch The Neon Demon based on my review if it had been written by someone else. ; ) Definitely watch Drive first, though! As for John Wick, I was maybe a little harsh on it. It was just hyped too much. But it was fun & the sequel reviews are so good I’ll probably go to it soon after all. : )

    • Thanks! : ) The Neon Demon had some great visuals and sometimes that can make up for an overall “bad” movie for me. I actually thought I’d really like it, even knowing beforehand that it was more shallow than people expected. Oh well. You win some, you lose some! : ) I’m just not sure I’ll watch another film from the director now…

  2. The neon demon is shit. John Wick 1 and 2 are awesome : ) you should try Knock Knock some time, it’s one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen…

    Hi

    • Whaaaat??? Hi! Blast from the Past! ; ) lol – I like how you recommend movies. “Watch this movie – it’s the worst movie EVER!” 😜 I think I’ll pass after suffering through The Neon Demon. It surely can’t be as bad as that, though!

  3. Great reviews! I enjoyed John Wick just fine but I know a lot of people love it and hail it as an action classic, I don’t get that to be honest. I’m still looking forward to seeing the sequel though!
    Love your thoughts on The Neon Demon, I haven’t seen it but it seems like people either love it or hate it, there’s no middle ground. I loved Drive and HATED Only God Forgives, so I don’t know how I’ll feel!

    • Thanks! : ) Yeah, John Wick was fun but I think the hype ruined it for me a bit. There are definitely action films I’ve enjoyed more. But I’ll watch the sequel too. As for The Neon Demon… Ugh. I’d LOVE to know your thoughts, though! I know it certainly divides people. Not seen Only God Forgives and I definitely don’t want to now. I have a feeling it would be similar to my Neon Demon reaction…

    • Aww. Don’t worry – you have friends on WordPress! ; ) Seriously – when I did my Keanu Top Ten, I’ve never had so many shares. So glad to know he has so many fans. I honestly had no idea! People seem to make fun of him sometimes but I’m not sure why…

  4. Pingback: John Wick: Chapter 2 (2017) Review | Cinema Parrot Disco

  5. Pingback: Movies From the Hat V #26 – Mutant’s Pick – The Neon Demon (2016) |

  6. Pingback: My Top Ten Willem Dafoe Movies | Cinema Parrot Disco

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