In the fall of 2014, Keanu Reeves starred in an action film and played a character that would further define his acting career. “John Wick” was and still is a unique and utterly entertaining action extravaganza that built an underworld of hitmen that was enthralling and mesmerizing to watch. The character of John Wick is ranked right alongside Neo and Ted “Theodore” Logan as a character that will forever be remembered in Keanu Reeves’s film canon. Almost three years later, Reeves is ready to pick up his pistol and takedown his target in the second chapter of John Wick’s turbulent career as the world’s most deadly hitman.
“John Wick: Chapter 2” begins shortly after the proceedings of the first film. John is attempting to tie up a few loose ends and get his coveted car back. John is now seeking solace in solitude to mourn the loss of his wife and to bury his life as an assassin. That all changes when a knock at the door and a man from John’s past wants repayment for a blood oath that John made with him to get him out of his violent vocation. John’s need to get out supersedes his need to repay the blood oath and sends John down a rabbit hole that will not only involve him doing one last “hit” that puts him in the crosshairs of a fellow hitman, but have an entire underworld of assassins on his tail ready to cash in on a bounty that’s too good resist. But when you hunt down John Wick, the “Devil’s Emissary”, it’s not as easy as it sounds.
“John Wick: Chapter 2” is a balletic orgy of gunfire and violence. Keanu Reeves is captivating as the rugged and ready to rumble, John Wick. Reeves makes this movie tick, but what keeps this movie moving at a good clip is its immersive world building involving assassins. The world that was starting to unfold in the first film is further explored in detail here. We learn the rules and how the underpinnings of the world work. This type of detail pushes the film from typical action fare into something special to the action genre. Writer Derek Kolstad should be commended for creating John Wick and the world he inhabits. The material is fast paced, action packed, tells a great story and even has a sense of humor to spare. This is also due to director Chad Stahelski’s impressive way of putting the proceedings on screen and keeping the action taut, tense, and captivating. This duo has put lighting in a bottle twice with this film franchise. I haven’t even mentioned the impressive supporting cast that backed up Reeves including Common, Ian McShane, Laurence Fishburne, and the dastardly antagonist played by Riccardo Scamarcio.
“John Wick: Chapter 2” is that rare film that not only matches its predecessors impressive storytelling prowess, but has actually exceeded it. I guess that puts this film in good company alongside other superior sequels, such as, “T2”, “The Godfather: Part II” and “Aliens”. I have a feeling that John Wick will be back on the big screen to wrap up a John Wick trilogy, but if this is the last time we see our anti-hero assassin who wants nothing more than to get out, “John Wick: Chapter 2” is quite the chapter to close the book on.
OVERALL SCORE: 4/5 Stars
–originally published in MAUIWatch
A great deal of fun, but I’ve never understood the praise for Peter Serafinowicz, and this did little to change my mind. His performance didn’t chime with any other aspect of the film, especially the pitch of the comedy. Will likely pop back to the pictures for a second bite.
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