Deadpan humour meets dead folks and deadly stunts in a sequel that’s pretty damn lavish and glorious about its scale, world building and generous body count.
The legendary Russian mob demolishing and puppy avenging hitman – John Wick – returns. Black suit, black boots and prodded by another wily shmuck to go back to his old ways again. How do you think this will end folks?
John Wick: Chapter 2 is so hardcore, surreal and stunt crazy, it makes the entire world of Grand Theft Auto (GTA) look like Yoga Camp by comparison. John Wick’s abilities with a car, gun and an array of inanimate objects can single handedly give the entire life insurance industry acidity with just the thought of the paperwork that they may be looking at. A possible future subplot?
Invoking the rage of the glorious and mythic assassin ‘John Wick’ is like telling your wife that she needs to hurry up while she’s getting ready for her best friend’s wedding. How do you think that will end folks?
John Wick could cough in your face or throw orange juice at you from a disposable cup with a small cat drawn on it and you’d still be dead within a second because he’s got mad skills yo. Mad. Mad. Mad. Special skills too. Killing and drilling his way through countless bodies on an intercontinental and gory rampage through the catacombs of Rome and seedy underbelly of New York.
The boogeyman ‘BABA YEGA’ a.k.a John Wick (Keanu Reeves) is still very much a man of commitment, focus and sheer will. The movie doesn’t let you forget that even for a second. They’ve still got his car from the first movie that Theon ‘Reek’ stole and he’s rather unhappy about it. Crunch time?
This is as close to the spirit and aesthetic of Hong Kong action as Hollywood has ever gotten and I’m so glad it’s come to this. We love you John Woo sir!
John Wick: Chapter 2’s world expands on the parallel society constructs set up by the first film and is a pretty shady and shifty world. Shrouded in mystery where everyone’s got a history. Everyone knows everyone and people seem to have to owe each other a lot – all the time. This is as far from the shoulder slapping frat party you would think it would be because Mobsters and Assassins reign supreme.
An eye for an eye and an eye socket for a pistol in your back pocket. This is a world where murder and murderers clink glasses and skip classes. In case you haven’t seen the first John Wick, stop reading this now, walk over to the bathroom, slap yourself with a rubber glove on your left cheek and repent for the sin you’ve committed again Keanu Reeves.
Let’s respect the man a little bit here. He knows Kung Fu and he did take the RED PILL!
Now here’s an actor who’s been hitting simply one note in his performances since 1985. Keanu Reeves’ limited acting range should have seen him visit the same bar that Brendan Fraser probably spends a lot of his time at but yet.. somehow… he’s managed to become a force to reckon with in the world of action movies. Speed, Point Break, John Constantine and the Matrix, Reeves filmography is impressive but one wonders how has he managed to outlive several equally hard working if not more talented actors who have worked within very much the same genres as he did?
So here we are…watching Reeves rise like a phoenix into mainstream Hollywood again. Reeves isn’t exactly the blue eyed boy of subtlety. Apart from looking irked and surprised, I’ve never quite seen Reeves surprise me with a genuinely subtle performance in a movie. Yet here we are and I’m thankful for it.
Reeves excels at playing it straight and keeping the emotions at the minimum. He’s found a way to play to his strengths in interesting ways. Much like Wick, Reeves too is an actor of great focus who has gone to great lengths in the past to physically prep and take on some pretty cult roles that have led to him upping his game and more than compensating for his honestly ‘passable’ acting skills.
I’ve always loved Keanu Reeves (make no mistake about that) more so for his off screen persona and because I am still pretty obsessed with the Matrix. It’s the movie that made me want to enter the Media and Creative Industry.
It’s no secret that Reeves is famously philanthropic and he has had his share of personal tragedies with a lot of people he loved now being lost to death (best friend, unborn child, ex wife, sister). If there’s anyone who deserves a ray of hope, it’s the guy who spends half his salary to buy gifts to the people he works with.
Reeves is magnetic and dare I say sublime in John Wick: Chapter 2 as he lives and breathes the kinetic ruthlessness of a brutal man who has gone far beyond a point in his humanity for whom the kills no longer bring any thrills. There’s a sense of somber survivalism that marks Wick’s bruised existence and Reeves approaches the material with studied deadpan and remarkable depth in ways that would even make Christopher Walken bloody nervous. Cue unusual pauses while speaking.
Wick’s world is governed by secret societies and strict codes of conduct make the world of Harry Potter appear like that Nice English cousin who only talks about scones and black currant jam. There’s so much to keep track of that it’s frankly as exciting as it’s a bit confusing at times.
Wick takes on a blood oath to complete a contract kill that he owes an Italian mobster who is looking to tip the balance of power for personal gain. Double crossed on the job and predictably effed over in life, Wick takes to the trigger with the skippy glee of a ballet dancer as he finds himself being the retired world’s worst retiree.
Somebody please GET THIS MAN…. A GUN says Laurence Fishburne in one scene and Keanu Reeves offers him a choice. The Matrix geek in me chuckled with fervour as Neo was the one giving Morpheus the choice here. Ahh… I live for the little joys.
What works in John Wick: Chapter 2 is the masterful stunt work, crafty world building and tense fight choreography that (I warn you) may be a tad much for you in certain parts if you’re queasy or generally put off by violent movies. The takes are long and the camera allows for you to truly savour the clean (shaky cam free) fabulously contained and marvelously orchestrated brutalities before you. This is action film making at its most precise and refined and Reeves is perfect in the titular role.
Watch this movie if you’re an ardent fan of watching bad folks meet worse fates and if you’d like to see what a real life video game would look like if executed with the flourish of a musical.
I have a feeling there’s going to be a John Wick 3 and I honestly can’t bloody wait for it!