This may come as a shock to some people that this is the second film in this series. Not sure how many people saw the first one, it was extraordinarily dull and exciting at the same time, but it did achieve a cult like status. Just for being an action movie with well-directed action sequences. Imagine that, Hollywood?
Also, Keanu Reeves.
John Wick Chapter 2 kicks off immediately after it’s predecessor, or follows closely. John, having finished his revenge, goes home to retire. But he finds a guest at his door, insert Italian name here has come to collect on a ‘marker’. One of the more interesting aspects of the first film was it’s all too brief foray into the world of professional assassins. John Wick 2 goes all in. Italian name knows that John must do what he asks of him to complete the marker, or John forfeits his life. Yet again, forcing John back into doing what he does best: killing people. In the shocker of the century, Rando Italiano tries to have John killed after he completes his final job.
First off, John Wick is a terrible assassin. Have you ever seen anyone who kills more people so loudly in public places? Good hitmen are supposed to make it look like an accident. John Wick is really the best one man mercenary squad on the planet. You’re going to lose count of how many faceless goons he kills within the first hour.
Unremarkably, the camp in this film has been ratcheted up a notch. There’s doses of super realism, and then there’s two men trying to shoot each other with silencers across a crowded train station with no one hearing them. Why are they now trying to be silent? It’s anyone’s guess. If I wanted to, I could pick apart appalling, yet hilarious, moments like these across the film. I almost cried laughing when John Wick visits the “sommolier” and asks for something robust. The “sommolier” hands him a shotgun. It’s like they know they have a cult following. A director who has the balls to create a Matrix reunion gets my vote.
Maybe it would be a detraction if there wasn’t such good action throughout the movie. Headshots, single camera angles, kung fu fighting, Keanu doing all his own stunts. God, give it to me until I pass out. I thought there were only so many times you can yell, “Oh shit!” in a movie theater without others getting angry, but I just kept doing it. They were all doing it too. It could be Keanu’s ten lines of dialogue, or his superhuman ability to shrug off injury, but John Wick Chapter 2 is as close to a video game as it comes. I want to play it over and over.
If you like action films, you will be happy. Everyone else doesn’t need to bother. It won’t go down in the pantheon of classics, but it is setting the bar for aging actors trying to look badass. If I had to guess, I think the third film might be even crazier. See it in theaters if you can.
3 out of 4 stars.
P.S. thank god they didn’t give Ruby Rose any lines. I’d like to shake that producer’s hand.