Accusing Keanu Reeves of being stilted and vacuous is entirely correct and pointless. We have a soft spot in our hearts for Johnny Utah and his privileged take on Zen wisdom as Hollywood movie magic. Reeves has sort of floundered post-Matrix however unable to find a home for his unique blend of fleet-footed action and bone-headed bravado. His last big flick 47 Ronin was a financial bomb of hilariously epic proportions an hours-long exercise in CG garbage that should have killed his career. And maybe it did: his new film John Wick is a modestly budgeted action vehicle that posits him as the new Jason Statham. This is post-stardom Reeves and while it doesn’t deliver the delirious thrills of Point Break (what possibly could?) it’s the ideal project for a man of his um talents.

The film opens with John Wick (Reeves) crashing his car into an embankment grasping his guts and bleeding to death. In a series of flashbacks we see Wick frolicking on the beach with his wife and then weeping in a hospital kissing his wife goodbye as she succumbs to some disease. As a parting gift she gives him an adorable puppy. If the rest of the movie had been 90 minutes of him playing with the puppy — call it Keanu and Me — it could have been the best film of the year.

Alas the film then kicks into gear. Flashback: a few vile Russian gangsters steal Wick’s car a cherry ’69 Mustang. Worse (far far worse) they kill the puppy! Wick is pissed to say the least. If someone killed my dog I’d go bananas so I totally sympathize with the bloody revenge that follows. Those gangsters made a huge mistake: turns out like Statham in all of his movies (The Mechanic Safe) that Wick is a badass of supernatural proportions. He’s an ex-enforcer for the same Russian mob that killed his dog. (What are the odds?) The mobsters call him Baba Yaga which according to the movie translates as “the Boogeyman.” Not because Wick is the Boogeyman but because he’s the guy you call when you want the Boogeyman killed. Yikes!

The car thief is of course the Russian Godfather’s son and to get to him Wick must shoot his way through countless minions. The Russian mob is no match for Wick however: he has the fury of a dead dog on his side. Other baddies including a smirking assassin played by Willem Dafoe try to take Wick down to no avail. He’s just too damn good with a gun. He’s also got some criminal baddies on his side including John Leguizamo as a chop shop owner and Ian McShane as a mincing martini-sipping underworld secretary. The film is at pains to present a world of secret nefarious dealings where people pay for things in gold coins that look like arcade game tokens. None of it makes any sense but it’s part of the film’s nonsensical charm. There’s even a climactic stabby fist fight in the rain.

There are many things to hate about this movie: the dim-witted plot a thudding industrial score and Reeves pretending to have feelings among the worst offenders. But it delivers where it counts — Reeves does some pretty amazing “gun fu” here karate chopping people before he shoots them in the face. (He likes to do that particular move a lot. John Wick might have the greatest amount of face shootings in film history.) Directors David Leitch and Chad Stahelski do exactly what they were hired to do delivering a bloody action extravaganza that positions Reeves as the new star of easily digested action flicks that are deeply satisfying and quickly forgotten.

Despite Reeves’ hilarious brooding and feigned emotions John Wick is a lot of fun the sort of unpretentious action film that used to provide an antidote to bigger tent pole fare. I hope we see more of its kind. And even better that Wick gets a new puppy. Everybody wins.

JOHN WICK directed by David Leitch and Chad Stahelski starring Keanu Reeves Michael Nyqvist and Alfie Allen opens on Friday October 24.