In 2014 a low budget action movie starring Keanu Reeves was released. It was directed and produced by former stuntmen who wanted to make an action film demonstrating the finer aspects of their craft. It was expected to make modest business on the back of star Reeves and they hoped it would lead them into further creative opportunities. Grossing $88 million worldwide, alongside a large volume of critical acclaim, John Wick gathered a great word of mouth and did good business. Because of this we now have a sequel, and a new cast of characters for Keanu to shoot in the face.
John Wick is now trying to retire, again, when an old acquaintance drops by to collect on a blood debt Wick made years earlier. Despite attempting to decline he is forced into re-entering the life he once sought to leave, and must travel to Rome to assassinate one of members of the high table, the ruling elite of the assassin world.
Reeves is once again on top form as Wick, giving himself over to the role with a ferocious physicality. The action is elaborately choreographed and filmed in long flowing takes meaning Reeves has to be heavily involved in a lot of the films action. As with the first movie there are a host of recognisable actors in the supporting roles. Ian McShane returns as Winston, a mentor of sorts to John Wick, and is as ever delightfully over the top. Of the new cast members the most impressive are Common and Ruby Rose as fellow enforcers, both of whom also perform a lot of their own stunts in the highly impressive action set pieces. Laurence Fishburne appears for a couple of scenes but is little more than a distraction to kill time up until the film’s big climax.
John Wick Chapter 2 is a continuation of the first film in story, style and action. It offers very little new beyond the impressive fight choreography so it lacks the originality and surprise factor of its predecessor, but if you were a fan of the original there is enough great action to keep you invested and it’s worth checking out.
Dir: Chad Stahelski
Scr: Derek Kolstad
Cast: Keanu Reeves, Common, Ian McShane, Ruby Rose, Riccardo Scamarcio, Laurence Fishburne, John Luguizamo
Prd: David Leitch, Basil Iwanyk, Erica Lee
DOP: Dan Laustsen
Music: Tyler Bates, Joel J. Richard
Runtime: 122 Minutes
John Wick: Chapter 2 is out now in UK cinemas.