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John Wick: Chapter 2 Review


John Wick exploded onto screen in 2014, thrusting Keanu Reeves back into the spotlight after years spent in the doldrums, the man who was Neo shooting and kicking his way through what proved to an instant action classic. A lot of what made the movie work was a combination of Reeves, on top form performing 90% of his own stunts, and co-directors Chad Stahelski and David Leitch crafting a hitting experience off the back of the frankly ludicrous concept of a legendary hit man going on a revenge fuelled rampage after his dog is murdered. Essentially they took what could have easily been an action movie parody and made it one of the greatest action movies of this decade. But could what made made the original so great carry over to a sequel? The answer, thankfully, is a resounding yes!!

The Chapter 2 subtitle isn’t just there to be fancy as this is a direct continuation of what came before, kicking off with Wick tying up the loose ends from his headshot themed revenge party. His attempts to once again put his old life behind him are scuppered when crime lord Santino D’Antonio (Riccardo Scamarcio) cashes in on the blood oath Wick owes after helping him retire. Obligated to accept, the assassin is sent to Rome to dispatch D’Antonio’s rival so he may take their seat at the “High Table”, a council of high level crime lords. But, as expected, Wick is double crossed and goes on the run with a $7 million bounty on his head.

While it may rehash some of the beats of the original, John Wick: Chapter 2 definitely stands by itself, expanding on the lore introduced in the original, building a living, breathing world of shadowy crime families and the hard as nails assassin’s who do their bidding. The story never once feels out of place or too over the top. We’re given the rules of this world early on, and the narrative sticks to them rigidly. This movie does what any great sequel does and doubles down on what came before. That also goes for the action. Stahelski may be flying solo behind the camera this time round, but that doesn’t mean we get any dip in quality. Each gore soaked set piece is shot with crisp, clear laser focus. You feel every punch, flinch at every head shot (and don’t even try to count them all. It’s an impossible task). Be it the body filled catacomb escape, or Wick and chief rival Cassian (Common) trading silenced gunshots in a subway station (not to mention the scene where we finally see what John Wick can do with a pencil), each one is crafted with absolute care and won’t fail to thrill every member of the audience. From the opening frame, it hits the ground running and never really pauses for breath, bar a lull at the tail end of the second act that serves as blatant, yet incredibly welcome, set up for a third film. But this dip in the action is fleeting compared to the relentless speed of the rest of the movie, and sets the stage for a heart pounding finale.

Reeves once again is perfect in the lead role, once again employing his effortless physicality to make Wick an action hero worthy of the hushed tones the other characters speak of him in. The supporting players compliment him perfectly. Scamarcio plays the perfect, slimy bad guy, Ian McShane is having an absolute blast as the returning Winston, and Common and a mute Ruby Rose proving to be worthy adversaries for Wick to trade blows with. Even those in cameo roles, especially Laurence Fishburne, Franco Nero (the original Django) and Peter Serafinowicz, seem to be having as much fun as the audience.

John Wick: Chapter 2 is the perfect sequel, taking everything you loved about the original and spinning it off to new, unimagined heights. Action movie fans, even those with a casual interest in the genre, MUST see this movie!!!


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The Movie Bit: John Wick: Chapter 2 Review
John Wick: Chapter 2 Review
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