3 1/2 Stars
Keanu Reeves is back as John Wick, the cold-blooded professional killer, who has a soft spot for his dog and not much else. The first Wick movie was a fantastic, hard-edged, no-frills action picture with some amazing stunt work. That should come as little surprise as the filmmakers are former stunt performers turned directors. Co-director David Leitch has left this picture, leaving the large task up to the capable Director Chad Stahelski I remarked that the original film looked like an action film that Michael Mann would make, the sequel takes that into gorgeous and glorious new locations, settings, and exquisitely pristine production design.
John Wick’s (Reeves) quiet assimilation back into normality is deferred when Italian gangster Santino D’Antonio (Riccardo Scamarcio) arrives in town up with a gold marker, holding Wick to the obligation of his debt. Ordered by Winston (Ian McShane), kingpin of secret assassin society The Continental, to respect the organization’s rules, 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.
In the opening seconds of John Wick Chapter 2, there is a pan above the city and as the camera passes by a building exterior there is an image of Buster Keaton in his Sherlock Jr. (1924) film projected onto the outside facade. This homage is apt considering the dazzling stunt work on display throughout John Wick 2. Perhaps, Chapter 2 is too much of a good thing at over two hours in length. But the action choreography and effort put forth on-screen is on great that one is compelled to not only look-on, but it becomes nearly impossible not to become swept away in the orgy of brutality that compromises the cinematic world of John Wick: Chapter 2.
Director: Chad Stahelski
Stars: Keanu Reeves, Common, Laurence Fishburne, Ian McShane