John Wick: Chapter 2

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2014’s John Wick was an action-packed ride, a tale of one man’s vengeance tearing through a world populated by well-dressed assassins and the honor code they adhere to. The film kick-started the Keanu-sance and has generated an entertaining sequel that gives fans more of the same while expanding on the shadowy world of the hitmen and their beliefs.

Almost three years have passed since the first chapter of the John Wick saga was released, but the sequel picks up only a week or two after the events of the first movie. Looking to find his car (still missing from the first film) and then retire again in peace, Wick’s previous return to action brings old rivals out of the past demanding he settle an owed debt. When he refuses, they burn down his house. The dog lives this time, but the threat is enough to convince him to return once again to the killing world he thought he had finally escaped from, to make sure no one comes calling after this.From there it’s a globe-traveling 90 minutes of action scenes. Keanu Reeves is 50 but still looks and moves as if he was 20 years younger, and the filmmakers take advantage of his abilities. There are no fight sequences overwrought with close-ups and quick cuts in this movie, just beautiful wide shots of Keanu’s best martial arts and firearm skills in action. Heads explode and bones break in glorious balletic displays of violence. There are a few things I disliked about it, namely that the addition of some Kingsman-style tailors and weapons dealers turn Wick from a tactical killer to a bullet-proof superhero, and it’s jarring, considering the more realistic tone that was established in the first film. Also, the climax takes place in a hall of mirrors-type scene, and that has just been done to death in the world of cinema. The ending clearly and cleverly sets up the eventual John Wick 3, and I look forward to seeing the completely different direction that’s hinted at for the future. If you liked the first movie, see the second one, and get ready for even more from the world of John Wick.

3.5 of out 5 stars