John Wick

Movie review by
S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media
John Wick Movie Poster Image
Parents recommendPopular with kids
Action film is stylish, entertaining but extremely violent.
  • R
  • 2014
  • 101 minutes

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 26 reviews

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 80 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

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 & Representations

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.

Violence

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.

Sex

Couples are shown kissing.

Language

Frequent language includes "f--k," "s--t," "goddamn," and more.

Consumerism

Several products/brands are seen, including Apple, Chevrolet, Mustang, Acura, and Peligroso liquor.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters drink, usually hard liquor. Partiers at a bar are shown swilling champagne. One guy smokes marijuana.

What 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.

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bybarry R. May 17, 2019

pretty good

realistically not as bad as people think
Adult Written bysarge123 February 5, 2015
Teen, 16 years old Written byAction lover May 8, 2020

Keanu Reeves truly helped reinvent action in the 2010s

John wick contains some very bloody scenes including a scene where a man is killed by getting stabbed in the stomach, leg, arm, and then shot five times and sho... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byCarmine Adrian March 22, 2019

A good Movie but a lot of Violence

I’m 13 and I watched this with my dad a few weeks ago. It was fine for me now but a couple of years ago it might have given me nightmares. Not for kids under 13... Continue reading

What's the story?

JOHN WICK (Keanu Reeves) is a retired assassin who was once the best in the business. But after a long illness that leads to the death of his beloved wife (Bridget Moynihan), he's pulled back into a world that he left long ago for love. A chance encounter with the entitled, violent son of an old associate ends up with John bloodied in his own home and the dog his wife left him as a parting gift slaughtered. For John, there's now no other recourse but revenge.

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. (Its most entertaining line may actually be "Oh.") But there's no denying the artistry that went into its filming. 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; although 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.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about why John Wick gets back in the "business." Are his reasons, in this messed-up world, at all reasonable? Is he a sympathetic character, despite his line of work? Why or why not?

  • John Wick is a violent movie. Does it glamorize the violence? If so, how? Does all the violence serve the story, or does it go too far?

  • John is strongly motivated by revenge. Is that understandable? Is revenge ever an acceptable excuse for violence?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love action

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