xXx: Return of Xander Cage
The last forty minutes of the movie do come together in a pretty diverting way.
Just when John Wick thought he was out, they pull him back in.
It’s the tried-and-true formula of one last job/heist/assignment. A longtime bad guy leaves the life of crime in pursuit of peace and quiet, but naturally gets dragged back to his old haunts and habits to settle a final score. But “John Wick” breathes exhilarating life into this tired premise, thanks to some dazzling action choreography, stylish visuals and–most importantly–a vintage anti-hero performance from Keanu Reeves.
Toward the end of the film, a menacing Russian mobster remarks that the veteran hit man John Wick looks very much like the John Wick of old. Keanu Reeves looks very much like the Keanu Reeves of old, as well. Elegantly handsome and athletically lean, he looks fantastic at 50 and is comfortably, securely back in action-star mode. Not that he’s been gone that long–or deviated that much from his persona–but this later-stage butt-kicking does call to mind Liam Neeson’s recent resurgence in movies like “Taken,” “The Grey” and “Non-Stop.”
After all these years, though, he’s still quintessentially Keanu. He radiates a Zen-like calm which makes him simultaneously elusive and irresistible, especially in the face of great mayhem. There’s still a boyish quality to his face but it belies the wisdom of his years. He’s smarter than he looks but he’s in no great hurry to go out of his way to prove it to you–at least, not on screen. He just … is.