‘John Wick: Chapter 2’ delivers another dose of non-stop beautiful action and this time around he’s finally back.
“People keep asking if I’m back and I haven’t really had an answer. But, yeah, I’m thinkin’ I’m back.” Well this time around he’s fully back baby, and he’s kicking all sorts of ass. Chad Stahelski is back directing the sequel and this guy knows how to shoot action.
Known as the “Boogeyman” he is feared more than the devil himself, and Wick uses that to his advantage while mowing down his adversaries. This time around we find out hero, Wick (Keanu, if you don’t know that by now shame on you), trying to once again enjoy retirement after the events of John Wick. He’s got a new dog, and finally has his car back, but it needs a little fine-tuning. I lied it has been smashed to shit and it needs a lot of work, but Wick is still super pumped to have it back in his life. He’s relaxing in his beautiful home, enjoying a fine glass of wine, when there is a sudden knock on his door, and in walks Santino D’Antonio. Played by Riccardo Scamarcio. Who honest to god is a budget Jude Law. I think they might have asked Jude Law to play this role and he passed, so the studio was like HEY, lets just get a guy who looks exactly like him and maybe people won’t notice! Any who, D’Antonio isn’t one of Wick’s drinking buddies, as he is there to cash in a blood oath from John. Long ago in order to “get out” of that life, John made a blood oath, and in this world you can never turn your back on such things or you’ll be up shits-creek. When John refuses at first, well you all aren’t stupid you know where this was ultimately going.
So now Wick is back immersed into this world, that we kind of got a taste of in the first one, but in Chapter 2 the film does a great job expanding this universe and showing more of the mythology behind it. This underworld of hit men and women, and assassins is hiding in plain sight to the outside world, almost invisible and it works really well. These people have their own special kind of currency that pays for their special hotels, guns, tailored suits, and anything else one might think of when trying to kill someone. The Continental is the hotel where all of the baddies go, with one rule, no bloodshed while you are on the premise or there is hell to pay. We run into some familiar faces, Ian McShane is back playing the manager of the hotel Winston, and Lance Reddick (Daniels, from The Wire, side note watch The Wire if you haven’t. Best TV show ever). He plays the concierge Charon. As we soon find out there are hotels like this all over the globe, as our story takes us to Rome for a bit of the movie. Give someone a gold coin, whether it’s a homeless person, a tailor, a sommelier, or a book keeper and good things usually happen. I thought this was a neat concept as Wick was able to make his way through Rome getting everything he needed without saying a word pretty much.
Essentially the plot of the movie is, John has to repay this blood oath, which involves him killing Santino’s sister Gianna (Claudia Gerini) so Santino can take her place at the “table”. That’s pretty much it; this movie didn’t really need an ingenious plot, just a reason for John Wick to come back into the limelight. While in Rome we meet Gianna’s top body guard, once a friend of John’s, Cassian (Common) Not really known for his action chops, but my god. Keanu and Common actually have an incredible hand-to-hand fight sequence in this movie, which will probably go down as the fight scene of the year. Stahelski really knows what he is doing when choreographing a fight scene, it’s shot super tight and close, without a BILLION edits and cuts, like most movies do these days, and that just makes it feel way more real and authentic. It was such a raw and powerful fight scene, and I didn’t know Common had this in his arsenal as an actor, which made me respect it even more. Another character we get introduced to is Ares (Ruby Rose) who doesn’t speak ONE WORD in this entire movie, and I still hated everything about her. Maybe it was the stupid faces that she was making, or the fact she just felt really out of place. She’s great in OITNB, but in this universe I just felt like she didn’t belong and I was happy when she got her just dessert.
These movies borrow a lot from John Woo, the legendary marital artists director, but instead of kung Fu, these movies are gun Fu. Reeves uses such precision and accuracy with his gun, at such close range. To me it almost felt like he had a sword in his hands rather than a gun, going from one enemy to the next like a hot knife going through butter. John Wick, the master of the double tap, even after pouring in countless bullets into someone’s chest, he’s always got to finish them off, with one to the noggin just to be sure. It’s actually quite beautiful when you see it on screen. Finding myself mesmerized by each action sequence and just how colorful and stylish everything was. It felt real to me, because Keanu himself looks like he knows his way around a gun, and again it adds that layer of authenticity to the movie. No one else could play John Wick. From the action stuff, to even delivering corny ass lines like he does. You can really tell Keanu is having a blast playing this character and I don’t blame him. I can’t say enough good things about this movie. After all of it was said and done I tallied up 125 body bags for John Wick, each one of them unique in there own way, including a few with a pencil, yes you read that correctly, this man is killing people with pencils in this one.
Laurence Fishburn, who starred in the Matrix trilogy alongside Reeves, makes a brief cameo in this, and I thought it was the perfect amount of screen time for him. I wonder how many Matrix jokes were made onset when those two were together.
What can I say; this movie was everything I wanted it to be and more. Did I know going in there wouldn’t but much to the plot, yes. Some horrid dialogue at some parts, which actually included some sign language. You can thank Ruby Rose for that one. That’s not the point of going to see this movie. You go to see this movie so you can watch Keanu Reeves kick all sorts of ass, and these movies are doing action like no one else right now. People should be taking notes or asking the team behind these movies for some pointers, because I really hope John Wick 3 and 4 and 5 all happen. Just imagine what he could do with a pen.
Check ya later,
Nate’s Movie Tour Reviews — John Wick: Chapter 2 = 84/100