It may or may not be a sign of the Apocalypse, but Keanu Reeves‘ new movie “John Wick” is at a 100 percent “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
The assassin thriller doesn’t open until October 24, and there are only 10 reviews, so it’s early yet. But every one of the notices posted on the aggregation site so far is “fresh” — and several use words like “compelling,” “joyous” and “hugely satisfying.”
It may be even more impressive given that in “John Wick,” Reeves plays a hit man who comes out of retirement and goes on a righteous revenge spree after gangsters kill his beloved beagle. That doesn’t sound like the stuff of critical faves, but it seems to be working here.
“John Wick is a brilliant B-movie that features a knockout performance from an A-lister,” wrote James Marsh of Screen International.
Whether Reeves rates the A-list is debatable. It’s been more than a decade since his blockbuster “Matrix” movies, and his most recent big-screen outing was a disaster. The $175 million Samurai saga “47 Ronin” was reviled by reviewers — it was at 14 percent on Rotten Tomatoes — and tanked badly last Christmas.
“John Wick” is directed by former stunt man David Leitch and Chad Stahelski and has an intriguing cast that includes Willem Dafoe, Adrianne Palicki, Michael Nyqvist, Bridgette Moynahan, John Leguizamo and Ian McShane. Thunder Road Pictures, MJW Films and Summit Entertainment teamed on the film, which is produced by Basil Iwanyk (“The Expendables”) and Mike Witherill.
Reeves’ film choices have been eclectic, to say the least, and “Man of Tai Chi,” “The Private Lives of Pippa Lee” and “Thumbsucker” hardly registered at the box office. It’s unclear how the Summit Entertainment-distributed “John Wick” will do when it opens against the board game creeper “Ouija” in two weeks, but BoxOffice.com is currently projecting an opening in the $8 million range. It will be on IMAX screens as well, and that should help.
“In most cases it’s the project as much as the person,” said Rentrak senior media analyst Paul Dergarabedian. “You have to pick the right project, and this time he may have.”