October 21, 2019

30 Seconds of Wick Chapter 13: He’s Wearing Body Armor, He’s Not A Moron (53:30-54:00)

Sorry about the delay on new posts, crippling depression tends to cut my productivity.

Anyhow, 53:30 opens as John Wick takes two bullets to the torso from Kirill and a goon and of course he’s wearing body armor. One thing about the Wick franchise that’s been very refreshing is its tendency to respect the physics of the weapons and environment … when they can. So Wick is knocked back, knocked down — the bullets not penetrating doesn’t mean their kinetic impact goes away too.

John is about the face off with the one guy who can give him a run for his money; to be fair, it’s a bit like Kirill has just ducked into the marathon half-way and John’s been at the front of the pack from the start. For the first time since this scene started there is palpable emotion coming from John: frustration edging into anger. He’s no less focused but his serial killer calm is eroding.

Flat on his back, John Wick comes up shooting. The goon with Kirill takes a headshot and Kirill takes refuge behind one of the pillars. The decision to set this scene, essentially a gun fight in an alley, in this club allows for more lee way in how people both avoid being shot and can’t quite tell where the other parties are at all times. The pounding music and strobing lights are disorientating, distracting. Increasing the visual interest of the scene also serves to obfuscate moments in the action that make less sense. It’s good, smart film making.

Two more shots and John’s gun clicks empty. He rolls out of the line of fire, taking shelter himself, and Kirill begins to advance down the field. As John turns, we hear him roar with emotion or pain. The armor is cracking.

53:40-53:51 Iosef is seen fleeing the club and jumping into car, so we know this mission has failed. John knows it too, so now his concern flips from pursuit to escape.

Behind his pillar, Wick is gasping and clutching at his chest — unlike so many action heros there is nothing inviolable about John Wick, though he can improbably soak up a lot of damage (this is an aspect of the protagonist more common in Asian action movies — they take more injuries but survive them). He’s visibly injured, tired and growing ragged. He’s out of ammo for the gun. So he crouches, using the chaotic environment as cover, and waits for Kirill to come to him.

Snarling in rage, now a trapped animal, John Wick holds his ground.

Next time: Chapter 14 (54:00-54:30) High Kicks Are For Rockettes