“John Wick: Chapter 2” (2017)
Directed by Chad Stahelski
Running Time 122 Minutes, Rated R.
4 Mitch’s out of 5
It came and left the theaters in 2014 without much of a thump, but the reviewers (yes, me included) knew it instantly. “John Wick” wasn’t just good, not just an ‘out of the blue’ winner, but a cinematic ‘achievement’. I walked out of the theater knowing that “John Wick” was an action genre instant classic. For those who listened to my recommendation, their lives were enriched. For those who were Keanu Reeves haters, their hearts were no longer hardened by the “Cool Breeze’s” talent converting the nay’s to whoa yays.
“John Wick” is, and I don’t say this lightly, life changing- two lifelong stunt coordinators turned first time directors taking on delicate precision on wide-shot excellently choreographed action sequences, done by the film’s star who has the intensity that the film’s assassin lead character requires to build a legend that makes other killers tremble. A film that created a civilized world for paid killers and above all, telling the story of a man who got out of the game for true love and has to return to it after said deceased love’s dying gift of a dog is taken away from him by the unwitting thug son of a mob boss. Don’t F’ with John Wick because he’s John F’ing Wick!
Word caught on of John Wick’s cinematic legend, and so we were blessed with news of a greenlit sequel. All too often I’ve salivated over a film’s original and when the sequel comes out I have cried tears of sadness, but I come to you with tears of joy after viewing “John Wick: Chapter 2”. Above all, the action hasn’t been changed or tainted, the ‘gun-fu’ of the original is only elaborated but enhanced for the delight of viewers. What grabs ahold of you here is the excellent world building that takes the first film’s only rule; no blood will be shed in the Continental, a hotel sanctuary for all assassins and adds the second and last rule; if you agree to a blood oath, it must be honored no matter what.
Chapter 2 picks up hours after the first one concluded where an Italian crime lord Santino D’Antonio (Riccardo Scamarcio) calls upon the blood oath that Wick owes, even though Wick wants nothing more than to honor his late wife and leave his past behind. Criminal community politics play out, earning Wick two assassins on his tail; an old colleague played by the actor Common with very good results and a petite deaf assassin played by Ruby Rose whose character doesn’t play as well as she doesn’t have much to do besides one scene.
You could say that most of this film is set up for the inevitable Chapter 3, and I say that’s not a bad thing. Chapter 2 is exciting, fun, and badass to boot and Reeves, who has always been a personal favorite of mine, doesn’t disappoint.