Oh, yeah! He’s most definitely back!
For the fact that time and time again it’s been proven to me, I’m an avid believer in some of life’s best results coming from people and things I least expect. JOHN WICK is the perfect example. Seriously, did any of you think this would wind up being one of the best, thought-out, layered action flicks you’d ever see? If your answer’s, “Yes,” you’re full of sh*t! A surprise hit in 2014, JOHN WICK struck a chord with audiences who yearned to see Keanu Reeves make his return in full-blown action mode. Earning cult status for its hyper-kinetic take on classic martial arts and gunplay, a/k/a Gun-fu, the film’s global success presented the producers with an inevitable question: Where do we go from here, bro? It was obvious for everyone involved (including Keanu), it meant a much broader, darker, deeper scope into the character’s internal struggles. (And thank God for that!)
In a nutshell, all you need to know is in this next chapter, legendary hit man John Wick (Keanu Reeves) is forced back out of retirement by former associate (Riccardo Scamarcio) plotting to seize control of a shadowy international assassins’ guild. Bound by blood oath to help him, John reluctantly travels to Rome where he squares off against some of the world’s deadliest killers.
Jesus H. Christ of Latter Day Saints this is a sick flick! And when I say “sick,” I mean it’s dope x100. B movie appeal, with A movie execution from start to finish. Explosively fun, sarcastically hilarious, entertainingly loud, and viscerally intriguing would be the best way to describe JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 2. It adds more pizzazz to its predecessor. In part not only is it Reeves that allows this now franchise to shine, but a lot of the maniacal magic that flourishes is due to returning director Chad Stahelski, whose got an amazing imagination for telling this particular story. If you enjoy fantastic action-sequences and flawless choreographed fights, CHAPTER 2 presents it on a silver platter with double the chaos. Quite frankly, if you enjoyed the first one, then you will love this one. The pressure John Wick is under in this is so enormous, Reeves exposes it in a way that allows you to live it with him.
This series reminds you why we enjoy watching Reeves do his thing. In his best role since “Neo,” John Wick raises the bar on what an action hero is. Although questionable due to his past, the darkened allure presented by the character couldn’t have been exposed any better than the way Reeves has been doing it. Simple, subtle, silent, and deadly. That, my friends, makes for a cocktail of destruction.
As a whole, this is not your typical “Boom-Bap,” template, type of sequel. Although it displays the number 2, this is a whole new layered story that expands deeper within the established setting from the first. It’s one of those rare, well executed continuations that also teases at more to come. Therefore, I conclude, pay attention to dialog. It’s big on set-up as well. The JOHN WICK series has easily become my new favorite action flick. It’s got a better narrative, better acting, better exposition, and an overall better tone than any of those FAST AND FURIOUS flicks, for example. (I can’t believe I actually compared them.)
Grade: A / Genre: Action/Adventure, Drama, Sequel / Rated: R / Run Time: 1:42
Starring: Keanu Reeves, John Leguizamo, Bridget Moynahan, Thomas Sadoski, Lance Reddick, Ian McShane, Riccardo Scamarcio
Directed by: Chad Stahelski
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