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Widowed ex-assassin John Wick (Keanu Reeves) goes on a murderous spree after his dog is killed.

Just when you thought it impossible to endure yet another action thriller in which an improbably indestructible lone avenger cuts a swathe through scores of thugs, goons, hoods and other disposable bad guys, Reeves saves the day.

The set-up may be preposterous as Reeves seeks out the Russian Mafia boss’s slimy son (Alfie Allen) responsible for the demise of his beloved canine (a present from his wife).

But stuntman-turned-director Chad Stahelski tackles the absurdity with gusto, conjuring up a hyper-stylised world and shooting the fight scenes with clarity and grace that puts most other action movies to shame.

Co-stars Willem Dafoe, Ian McShane and Adrianne Palicki deliver droll supporting turns, but this is very much Reeves’ show. Pulling off his improbable feats with drop-dead cool, he also invests his grief-stricken character with sly humour and surprising emotional depth.

Great fun.