No need to write a long diatribe about the nuances about John Wick Chapter 2 so let’s get right into it. There is little breathing room between this film and the first as it begins with Wick retrieving his car that was stolen in the first. The action is nonstop throughout as Wick disposes a garage full of Russian thugs. The fun part about this scene is how happy Wick, or as much as he can be, is when he gets behind the wheel then unfortunately thrown into bumper card mode. The exciting part of these movies and newer action films are the innovative sequences/choreography they incorporate to keep the films fresh. Upon making peace with Russian boss Abram, played by Peter Stormare, John goes back home to his dog and literally to bury his past.
Not even 10 minutes after putting down fresh cement over his past and Wick receives a visitor in the form of Santino D’Antonio, played by Riccardo Scamarcio. This gets the film rolling as Santino is calling upon Wick to even a marker. The marker is a debt owed to someone for doing a favor which is sealed in blood in the form of their fingerprints. So regardless of Wick’s desires he is once again pulled back in not by choice but rather revenge. Seemingly done with “that life” Wick refuses Santino’s request and as a result Santino blows up his house.
Chapter 2 expands the John Wick universe as we travel abroad to Rome. We quickly understand how vast the business Wick is involved in as his associates are spread throughout the world; within hours Wick is able to obtain bullet proof suits, custom artillery and book a room in the Rome’s Continental. Wick spares no time in disposing of Santino’s sister; the victim chosen by Santino so he may take her seat on the higher crime council. Of course Santino chooses to double cross Wick and kill him after doing what was asked; not a wise move.
This film only reinforces the reputation Wick has as the tales of “The Boogeyman” are still discussed as well as feared and everyone he meets automatically knows who he is. The action is superb and thrilling as the gun fight scenes, or what could be dubbed Gun Fu, are so intricate and precise that at such a fast pace you can’t help but watch in awe. Many times throughout my jaw would drop in amazement at some of the kills especially the pencil kills which were mentioned in the first film.
Santino issues a seven million bounty on Wick which sends all the hounds out. What felt like scenes from the 1979 film The Warriors Wick makes his way throughout New York finding different hitmen/women to dispatch of hiding as tourists, beggars and musicians. What feels like a ballet of flips, punches, kicks, gun shots and blood never felt over done because it never felt the same; as I mentioned earlier each fight scene felt fresh which says a lot when the entire film is wall to wall action.
Throughout the film we’re introduced/re-introduced to new and old characters. Ian McShane and Lance Reddick are solid again in their performances as Winston and Charon. Common, Ruby Rose and Laurence Fishburne are great additions as Cassian, Ares and the Bowery King; although I felt Fishburne is more of a lead to Chapter 3 more on that later. Common and Ruby played strong, resilient adversaries that delivered big time in their scenes. With the expansion of John Wick we were also introduced to the relay team; the women that convey the jobs and bounties throughout the world. They were not the most important scenes but a nice addition that gives the viewer more insight in how this world works.
In the end John Wick disposes of all his foes with the exception of Santino who seeks refuge at the New York Continental. One of the main rules set forth is no business is to be conducted on Continental grounds. It is referred to more than once so when John decides to execute a gloating Santino everyone knows this is not going to end well. All John Wick wants or at least what he thinks he wants is freedom but with his most recent kill that is the last thing he will ever have. His last actions had consequences and Winston discloses to him because of it he is now excommunicado and no longer able to receive any goods/services associated with the Continental. On top of that a fourteen million bounty will be placed in one hour and to show the strength of this bounty Winston has everyone in Central Park freeze and look at John, with a snap of his fingers they go on their way. After their goodbyes John runs out of the park with his dog as everyone he passes is receiving the bounty notice via text.
Even though it has not been green lit yet it is inevitable that a Chapter 3 is in our futures. Some are saying this is a giant trailer for Chapter 3 but I think it stands well on its own as does the first film. They are spectacular action films that each offer a different feeling when viewing them. Keanu Reeves once again proves to be a powerful, silent bad ass with a gun that delivers ten times over in each scene; it is only more appreciated when you watch the extensive training videos that have been posted.
3.5 out of 5