John Wick: Chapter 2, 2017.
Directed by Chad Stahleski.
Starring Keanu Reeves, Riccardo Scamarcia, Ian McShane, Lance Reddick, Common, Ruby Rose, Laurence Fishburne, and John Leguizamo.
After returning to the criminal underworld to repay a debt, John Wick discovers that a large bounty has been put on his life.
The first John Wick was quite simply awesome. It was packed full of action that you wasn’t edited to death, had a good sense of humour and Keanu Reeves killed about 70-80 people over the course of 97 minutes. Whilst not reaching the dizzy heights of the original, Chapter 2 is a worthy sequel to the 2014 sleeper hit.
Starting immediately after the end of Chapter 1, the film opens with a spectacular night chase as John tries to get his beloved car back. It’s bombastic, loud and amazing. Keanu Reeves has always been known for throwing himself into physical stunts and this is another one to add to the list. He’s hit by cars, thrown from a moving car, stabbed, punched and this is just in the opening ten minutes. We then learn that by coming out of retirement to avenge the death of his dog and the thievery of his car, John is now considered to be back. An old acquaintance that he owes a debt to returns and asks him for a favour.
The early section of Chapter 2 feels a little slow and plot heavy but just as you’re starting to worry that the film will be all talk and no action we get some phenomenal set pieces. The action is highly stylised, quick and artfully done, cutting any boredom that had started to set in. Stahleski’s eye for visual action storytelling is even bolder this time around with underground battles, a gunfight in a hall of mirrors and more making the eyes pop.
With Chapter 2 we delve more into the unusual assassin world that was introduced in the first. Ian McShane is on top form as Continental boss Winston; oozing charm and menace. Lance Reddick as Hotel Manager Charon is used sparingly but to perfect effect, just like the first film. The only weakness in the cast comes from baddie Santino (Scamarcia). He is perfectly serviceable as a villain but he comes across as a whiny rich boy rather than a hardcore villain worthy of Wick’s time.
As ever though this is Keanu Reeves’ film and it’s great to see him back in the role that revitalised his career. He commits 100% and he makes all the action scenes look effortless and elegant. John Wick is the perfect role for him and he brings a level of confidence to his performance that we rarely see in his non-action films.
An ending sets us up for Chapter 3 and I cannot wait to see how John Wick gets out of his most recent dilemma.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★ ★