JOHN WICK CHAPTER 2
Running Time: 122 mins.
Premise: Just when he thought he was out, and had put his violent past behind, John Wick (Keanu Reeves) is pulled back into the criminal underworld to repay a debt. In the process, a giant bounty is placed on his life and Wick must fend off a string of hit men and women determined to end him. Yeah, I’m thinking he’s back.
Behind-the-Scenes: Director Chad Stahelski co-directed the first film and previously served as Reeves’ stunt double. The other co-director, David Leitch, was a stunt coordinator and body double for Brad Pitt. He’s now set to direct Deadpool 2. Though it only made $43 million domestic, the first John Wick was well-received, became a sleeper hit, and did well enough on video/streaming to warrant a sequel.
The Good: Put simply, this is one of the greatest action sequels ever made. It instantly joins the ranks of Aliens, The Raid 2, and Mad Max Fury Road. Just as in the first, Stahelski’s stunt background serves this sequel well – the action sequences are sustained in long shots and avoid the quick cutting that plagues so many other modern action films. The action is dynamite – fist fights, gun-fu, car chases, foot chases, stair tumbles, and more. You name it, this movie’s got it, and does it better than most. Reeves’ minimalist take on the character works like a charm. It’s amazing how many iconic characters he has created over the course of his career. The world building of the criminal underworld is even stronger this time around. Screenwriter Derek Kolstad is back, and he does a great job of expanding the mythology. It perfectly sets up a Chapter 3, which I am now beyond excited to see.
The Bad: After a rousing pre-title action sequence, the movie settles into a slower groove and can try the patience of those wanting John Wick to light up his enemies STAT. Laurence Fishburne has a small part, and though it’s nice to see him re-team with Reeves, I have no idea who his character is or what purpose he serves in this story. The gun violence is ample and in-your-face, which may turn off some viewers.
Should You See It?: Yes. For action junkies, this is the cream of the crop. A must see.
Star Rating: **** out of 5 stars.
Better Than: John Wick, Point Break
Worse Than: Speed, The Matrix
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