Chad Stahelski / Keanu Reeves, Common, Laurence Fishburne, Riccardo Scamarcio, Ruby Rose, Ian McShane / Action / 2017 / 15 / 122mins
A broken hearted man who just wants to retire – John Wick is the vigilante hero we never knew we needed. Not just to save our Sunday afternoons, but to save the action genre as we know it.
Continuing after the events of John Wick, the lone assassin (Keanu Reeves) tracks down his beloved car and prepares to settle down once more. However, crime lord Santino D’Antonio (Scamarcio) wants to hire him once more. Reluctantly accepting the task, Wick is taken back into the midst of the world he wishes to be free from, even if that means breaking some of the rules.
Part superhero, part cowboy, part gangster, John Wick: Chapter 2 is a soup of subgenres that on the surface should not mix well, but it seems all that was missing was Keanu fucking Reeves. The man has finally found his niche after what seems centuries of post-Matrix doldrums. He seems at home as Wick, comfortable being OCD with headshots and mumbling dire action quips without batting an eye (not that he blinks anyhow – The Day The Earth Stood Still continues to haunt me).
First and foremost, John Wick: Chapter 2 is ludicrously B-movie. There’s some awkward dialogue that reminds you where this film truly belongs (and equally baffling plot twists). And what of Ruby Roses’s mute assassin Ares? Why is she even there?
On the other hand, the B-movie-ness is the antidote. Stahelski honed in on what was great about John Wick and arguably improved the formula. Is there anything better than John Wick double-tapping every bad guy within 20 feet in a club to techno music? It’s the Oldboy ‘corridor scene’ equivalent we’ve been waiting for.
No wonder this movie is doing so well, there’s scarcely any competition in this genre nowadays. Since Taken, low-budget copycats have come and gone. Now we have an American Bond in a wacky world of hitmen and global gangs.
It’s safe to say B-movie sequels don’t normally end well – John Wick: Chapter 2 just bucked that trend. It was miles better than I thought it would be and it tries to be original and succeeds, even if it is simply a cheesy action flick that ticks all the boxes.
Film as a Film – 2 / Target Audience – 5 / General Audience – 3
John Wick: Chapter Two is in cinemas now
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