Since the first John Wick (2014) film came out I was hooked. Seriously, having Keanu Reeves going back to becoming a huge action movie star was nothing short of a blessing.
Admittedly, Reeves’ acting chops could do with a bit of an emotion-injection, but alas, John Wick was a surprise triumph. Just three years down the line John Wick: Chapter 2 (2017) was unleashed in cinemas. Whilst no one would ask for a sequel in most cases as it had the chance to damage an already near-perfect predecessor, the sequel goes into fifth gear and ramps the action up to dizzying heights (quite literally for one sequence).
We pick up just after the end of the first film with Wick looking to get his beloved Mustang back (the car, not the horse). Anyone who may have seen the first one will know that it starts off because Alfie Allen (of Game of Thrones fame) decided it would be a great idea to steal John’s car and kill his cute little dog…BIG MISTAKE. Don’t.Mess.With.His.Dog!
The action picks up early on in the film with John being given a job (even though he is supposedly retired) under a blood oath. What ensues is nothing short of cinematic brutality and excellence. With John travelling to Rome, snapping necks and cashing cheques, he finds himself in a spot of bother (a very British way of saying being completely f****d).
We get to meet some old friends and some new faces, Winston (Ian McShane) makes a suave return to the fold and new enemies such as Cassian (Common) and Ares (Ruby Rose faces off against the killing machine that is John Wick).
We even get a small Matrix (1999) reunion with an appearance from Laurence Fishburne, giving fanboys and girls a little treat.
Whilst I did read reviews before watching the film, there are some things I would like to dispel. The term ‘geriaction’ relating to Reeves’ older age when acting in such a film is nonsense, look at Bruce Willis in the, albeit declining, Die Hard (1989) series. He doesn’t stop, and to be honest, doesn’t look a day over 40. The fact he can pull off all that gun-fu and still make time for his new dog is impressive.
Some issues do arise with the concept, the shoot outs in the middle of New York are questionable. Although it does make a point of showing the hitmen being discreet it is not plausible that so many people die without the NYPD sticking their noses in. But, it is an action film with a rich mythos behind it, so I am not going to mark points off for that. Oh, and if you thought Jason Bourne was a dab hand with a pen…wait until you see this.
Bigger, better and bolder, John Wick: Chapter 2 is a cinematic triumph, showing up other action films and pointing out that it pays off to be different. With talks already circulating of a third instalment, I hope that it can create the perfect trilogy…we shall see.