by Sherry Lipp
The Lowdown: Though Chapter 2 lacks the same emotional punch of the first film, John Wick fans will enjoy the action and fun that make it an enjoyable ride.
Three years ago John Wick became somewhat of a surprise hit for Keanu Reeves. I say somewhat because Reeves has had many hit movies in his now lengthy career, but honestly speaking it had been a while. Reeves does plenty of movies. As someone who watches and review films, many of his film have come my way, and they’ve been a mixed bag (I recommend checking out the fairly recent Knock Knock and skipping Exposed or The Whole Truth). I can say I thoroughly enjoyed John Wick. Its brisk action and sentimental revenge plotline struck a chord with both critics and audiences as well. Who wouldn’t root for a guy seeking vengeance for the murdered puppy given to him by his deceased wife?
A sequel was pretty much inevitable. John Wick: Chapter 2 offers a lot of the same as the first film, but its lack of the same raw thirst for revenge takes away some of the thrill. What I do love about John Wick is the cool little underworld the hit men live in. They all live by an apparently unbreakable code where they can only do what they’ve been paid to do and they can all take respite at the Continental hotel, which doesn’t allow official business on hotel property.
John Wick: Chapter 2 opens with an awesome action sequence in which Wick liberates his 1969 Ford Mustang from the bad guys who absconded with it in the first film. Hell hath no fury like a man who’s had his dog murdered and his car stolen and Wick didn’t quite get even enough at the end of John Wick. It’s a really cool scene and it reminds us of everything that was good about the first film. Reeves plays Wick as both superhuman in his feats while also coming across as a regular guy. Wick lumbers through his fights with an air of wanting to be doing anything other than ripping someone’s throat out. The irony is that he doesn’t seem to know how to do anything else and he’s stuck in a never ending cycle of violence.
But stuck he is and as the revenge plot ends, a new plot in which Wick finds out he’s back in the game whether he likes or not begins. Wick being forcibly compelled to take out a hit on an heiress to a gangster’s seat on some organized crime high council just isn’t as compelling as the visceral reaction to the personal wrong he suffered. In this case the action starts to wear a little thin because the stake isn’t quite as personal. That being said there are a lot of cool sequences in Chapter 2, particularly a cat and mouse chase between Wick and Cassian (excellently played by Common) in a crowded New York subway.
Reeves is also reunited with Matrix co-star Laurence Fishburne for a couple of memorable scenes. I kind of wish there had been more with Fishburne’s character than the extended action scene in Italy – we’ve seen sequences like that in many international espionage movies. The underground aspect of the world John Wick lives in the films their distinction. Chapter 2 is at its best when it’s having fun with the secret assassin world.
John Wick Chapter 2 Images: Lionsgate/Summit