Remember how the original John Wick snuck up and wowed us in 2014? Now he's back and better than ever. John Wick: Chapter 2 is the real deal if you are wanting an action-packed film from start to finish, and just to see KEANU REEVES again is worth the trip to the movies. Already in it’s second week, it has made 40.6 million in US box-office and is rated 90% on Rotten Tomatoes.
Wait, say the skeptics, isn't it just Keanu Reeves, as the character, shooting, stabbing, kicking and punching bad guys when he's not using assorted vehicles to go Mad Max on his enemies? Well, yes, it's that too. And yet this sequel – with the star at his absolute best as the so-called Boogeyman who once killed three men with a pencil – makes seeing this sequel well worth it. Chapter 2 is a tale of a loner assassin looking to take a stand in a world gone crazy. Fast and funny, this wild ride movie is set in continuous motion by director Chad Stahelski.
Let me set the stage for you: Retired super-assassin John Wick's plans to resume a quiet civilian life are cut short when Italian gangster Santino D'Antonio shows up on his doorstep with a gold marker, compelling him to repay past favors. Ordered by Winston, kingpin of secret assassin society The Continental, to respect the organization's ancient code, Wick reluctantly accepts the assignment to travel to Rome to take out D'Antonio's sister, the ruthless capo atop the Italian Camorra crime syndicate. The plot is cleverly engineered by screenwriter Derek Kolstad to go full throttle. Chapter 2 picks up with Wick settling in again at his sleekly modern Long Island home, this time with a new pup (Don’t worry, no harm to the dog in this movie). But the past pulls him back in. Sucks, when he just wants to be left alone.
My point of view: This movie is full of "gun-fu" battles. Some fight scenes take place at the ancient Baths of Caracalla (which is a beautiful scene), and a shootout at a hall of mirrors in a amazing museum in New York is also just as beautiful. It's jaw-dropping when Wick and Cassian (Common), continue fighting all the way from Rome to New York, where Santino has put out a global contract for $7 million on our one-man army, bringing every killer out of the shadows. For help, Wick turns reluctantly to an old enemy, the Bowery King (Laurence Fishburne) – yup, Neo and Morpheus reunite. HA! Reeves trained for weeks in judo and Brazilian jiu-jitsu, and it shows. Working with cinematographer Dan Laustsen, the director fills every inch of his dazzling widescreen compositions. No hollow digital dazzle, green-screen trickery or caffeinated editing, just long takes of actors moving with artful precision and grace.
All in all: Two major improvements from the original movie: First, no animals were harmed in the making of the film. YAY! And secondly, the human body count is significantly higher. I loved everything about this movie. If you want a movie to take you on a crazy assassin ride, this is it. Usually sequels isn’t as successful as the original, but Reeves, is poetry in bloody motion. Killing is John Wick’s business…and business is good. When do we get Chapter 3?
4 out of 5 stars from @myeverydaylifestyle