A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Your past may catch up with you, but that doesn't mean you have to let yourself get caught up in it.
Positive Role Models
Despite being an assassin, John Wick is principled: He only hurts those who hurt others. Still, his "field" isn't exactly one that inspires admiration, at least from outsiders.
Keanu Reeves, who is multiracial, plays a character that passes as White. Supporting characters include Aurelio (played by Colombian American John Leguizamo), Charon (Lance Reddick), who's Black, and the Doctor (Randall Duk Kim, who's American of Chinese-Korean descent). Though they play villains, White characters are just as amoral, which helps the film avoid stereotypes. John's dead wife strongly falls into the Hollywood cliche of killing women in order to spur a male hero into action.
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Violence & Scariness
Brutal: It feels like two-thirds of the film is made up of killings, and much of the violence is presented in a stylized, semi-glamorized way. Characters are shot, maimed, stabbed, beaten, threatened, killed with firearms at close range, blown to bits in an explosion, strangled with bare hands, and more. There's blood everywhere. In one of the most disturbing scenes, a man clubs a puppy to death; a trail of blood is shown leading to its carcass. In another extended scene filled with mayhem, the body count exceeds three dozen.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Couples kiss. A singer in a nightclub performs in a leotard. Men and women wear bathing suits.
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Frequent language includes "f--k," "s--t," "goddamn," and more.
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Products & Purchases
Several products/brands seen, including Apple, Chevrolet, Mustang, Acura, and Peligroso liquor. The film is the first of a franchise.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Characters drink, usually hard liquor. Partiers at a bar swill champagne. One person smokes marijuana. Cocaine is shown but not used on-screen.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that John Wick is a brutally violent, frequently bloody thriller starring Keanu Reeves as an assassin. There's a very high body count: Characters are shot, maimed, stabbed, beaten, threatened, killed with firearms at close range, blown to bits in an explosion, strangled with bare hands, and more. And especially because so much of the violence is depicted in a stylized, semi-glamorized way, it's best reserved for the oldest teens and adults. Interestingly, a streak of humor also runs through it, and fight scenes choreographed so thrillingly that it's almost like watching ballet -- albeit a gunshot-riddled, rough-and-tumble one. You can also expect lots of swearing ("f--k," "s--t," and more) and a fair amount of drinking, as well as pot smoking. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Few films in this genre are known for their intricate, layered dialogue or depth of feeling, and this doesn't exactly break these conventions. But there's no denying the artistry that went into making John Wick. The frames are well-crafted, the pace quick and effortless, the fight scenes choreographed like a ballet. It looks fantastic. And although it's an action thriller, it has a streak of humor that confidently runs through it, making it even more entertaining. Reeves' impermeable face and economic acting work well in this context because he plays a mystery man who remains mysterious throughout. And the rest of the cast -- especially Willem Dafoe and Michael Nyqvist -- is great, too.
But there's no doubt that John Wick is deeply violent. It starts out quiet, and the first attack comes as a shock, which works well for the story. But after a while, all the fights begin to numb; though they're beautifully filmed, they lose their potency, since they come fast and furious without much room to breathe or process what's happening. And parents will want to know that the fighting is so ferocious that it borders on barbarous, making the movie best left for mature teens and adults.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.