MOVIE: John Wick: Chapter 2
STARRING: Keanu Reeves, Riccardo Scamarcio, Ian McShane, Ruby Rose, Common
DIRECTOR: Chad Stahelski
THE SKINNY: After returning to his old job in order to pay a debt, the master assassin is double-crossed and a large bounty is put on his life.
We have been here before.
Keanu. A near-perfect action film. A highly anticipated sequel. But thankfully, this is no The Matrix Reloaded.
The original's premise is perfect: They killed his dog, he kills them. A lot.
You also have the ageless actor's stunning "method" approach to action. For someone renowned for his chill level, Reeves is convincingly lethal.
Continuing John Wick must have been difficult. Gladly, they did not go the Taken route and have his dog die again.
Chapter 2 picks up just days after the first ends - and slams you right back into the action.
The pre-title sequence contains more heart-stopping and breathtaking action than most other films muster over their entire running time.
Then we get into the plot - a double-cross this time - which takes us much deeper into the world of Wick.
The clandestine order of assassins, hiding in plain sight of the real world, with their own currency and governed by particular rules, is great fun.
It is essentially Harry Potter but with contract killers instead of wizards.
This time around, some of the death feels uncalled for. But I put that down to the makers neglecting to emphasise that nearly everyone on screen is a villain.
John Wick is not really a hero - he is just the nicest murderer there.
That said, this is a ride.
And given that the huge numbers of gun fodder henchmen are predominantly hipsters - man buns are everywhere - you do not feel that bad.
Add some pitch black humour, a great supporting cast, nods to 60s super spies and a psychedelic mirror-walled showdown, and it is all great.
But it is missing the dog.
Lots of people die. Inventively and hilariously. But without a reason for revenge, John Wick is just a killer movie.
This article was first published on Feb 15, 2017.
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