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Review: John Wick: Chapter 2

Keanu Reeves stars as 'John Wick' in Lionsgate's JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 2

With John Wick being the surprise hit that it was back in 2014, you knew that a sequel wouldn’t be too far behind. While many were excited, some of us were just hoping that it would be as good as its predecessor. While I can’t speak for how everyone feels about it, I do believe that the sequel delivers something that will have many leaving the theaters satisfied in multiple ways.

In this film, we find that the world’s most dangerous former hitman is being forced back into the game. This time, it’s by a former associate who hopes to use John in a plan that will lead him to a position with more power. Wick (Keanu Reeves) doesn’t want to get involved, but the blood oath between the two makes that impossible to avoid. Once he agrees, the grief-stricken assassin is back and travels to Rome in order to complete his new assignment. And before he knows it, the recently unretired killer is faced with the unenviable task of fighting off some of the greatest practitioners within his chosen profession.

The second chapter of this budding franchise picks up immediately after the first John Wick. We follow our protagonist on his brutal path of vengeance and the hunt for his car. This portion of the film serves not only as an opening, but also as a refresher course that allows people who didn’t watch the original to get briefed on what he does and who he is.

After this part is done with, we move over to the actual story of John Wick: Chapter 2. Here is where I expected more of the same, but they are also able to add on to it by giving us a mix that includes something along the lines of the first John Wick and The Warriors mixed together. Without going into detail, that should be easy to picture for those who have seen or know about those two pictures. Doing this allows for the movie to set itself apart while maintaining a level of familiarity for audiences that want what they’ve already experienced.

One feature that worried me was how those behind this would handle developing the world that John Wick is existing in. Much to my satisfaction, they do a wonderful job of building on the creative way of life that was already introduced to us. Everything I can think of that is shown fits into what was already there and makes it easy for us to get into it all. Because of this, I wouldn’t be shocked if the people behind this already had everything planned out in their minds before they even started making the movies.

This action picture also manages to take itself even less seriously while ramping up the violence that its fans fell in love with the first time around. This leads me to believe that this series of films will ultimately go down the road that other franchises have gone down by becoming more and more of a caricature of itself. If it’s done this way, it actually has potential to remain worthwhile unlike most other franchises that try to remain serious or go completely off into another direction altogether.

John Wick: Chapter 2 is one of the rare situations where simply raising the stakes works. They take everything that made the first chapter a success and managed to add to it even though it is crossing over some familiar territory. That’s especially true of the action since it’s difficult to make a gunshot to the head feel fresh after doing it over 70 times in the previous film. In order to combat that feeling of repetitiveness, what they do here is add a few more fight scenes and a very interesting shoot out that’s not exactly what we’ve come to expect from any action movie.

Rating: R

Director: Chad Stahelski

Cast:
Keanu Reeves
Common
Laurence Fishburne
Riccardo Scamarcio
Ruby Rose
Lance Reddick
Bridget Moynahan
Franco Nero
John Leguizamo
Ian McShane

Film Length: 122 minutes

Release Date: February 10, 2017

Distributor: Summit Entertainment

  • Score - 7/10
    7/10
7/10
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