Movie Review: John Wick: Chapter 2 (2017)
Version: Library borrow
Zounds! There's more action in John Wick: Chapter 2 than in almost any other action movie I've ever seen, including the original John Wick! It's practically non-stop.
John Wick (played by Keanu Reeves) returns from his last romp in the original movie, during which the love of his life, his car, was stolen. He retrieves it from the bad guys in a gigantic gun battle chase scene, then drinks a toast for peace to the head bad guy and returns home, where he buries his guns and his loot. From there, everything goes to toast.
Santino D'Antonio (played by Riccardo Scamarcia) visits Wick to call in a chip of service. Wick has retired from service as a hit man, but D'Antonio insists Wick must honor the chip. Wick says no. So D'Antonio blows up with Wick's home with Wick in it. Wick hunts him down in Rome to finally honor the chip, which it turns out is to kill D'Antonio's sister, who has claimed the family's seat at the world crime table, which D'Antonio wants. Wick still doesn't want the job, but it's his only way out. D'Antonio's sister is to be enshrined in the organization in the Colosseum in Rome that evening, so Wick goes on a shopping spree buying clothes, guns, knives, and the whole shot to take down D'Antonio's sister and her gang of protectors who will go after him afterwards. What follows is another wild fight scene in, under, and around the Colosseum, going on in part of which is a full celebration with a rock concert. Wick is deft with a gun and hand-to-hand combat!
D'Antonio must, of course, revenge the death of his sister, so he puts out a $7 million worldwide bounty on Wick. That creates another rumpus gun battle chase scene as John Wick tries to get away, finally arriving in New York City, where he finds refuge at the hotel owned by Winston (played by Ian McShane). From there he leaves to hunt down D'Antonio, who is contemplating the lavish artworks of his late father at a monolithic art museum. To get to him, Wick seeks the help of the mastermind of the underground, the Bowery King (played by Laurence Fishburne). And once inside the museum, Wick chases after D'Antonio shooting his way through galleries and finally into a mirrored modern-art display that would be the pursuer's worst nightmare. Watching D'Antonio's back is the dangerous Ares (played by Ruby Rose), who can't ever quite keep up with Wick.
In the final scenes D'Antonio gets back to Winston's hotel of refuge for thieves and crime bosses, where rules are rules. But John Wick does the unthinkable, and finds himself once again the target of a worldwide bounty hunt.
I've told you a lot about the plot without spoiling anything of significance. I did so to show you how much action there is in this film. Reeves must have been worn out after a day, a week, a month of shooting this film. Pistols, semi-automatic rifles, shot guns, knives - pencils - all weapons in his all too capable hands. And nothing and no one can best him. He leaves bodies in the streets and alleyways like pigeons leave droppings on statues.
Some have suggested this is just a thin-plotted movie to serve the interests of gun play, but I disagree. The gun play very much serves a bigger, more interesting plot in very exciting settings. The gun play is choreographed beautifully and flawlessly like a dance ensemble. And the cast ensemble is delicious in its evil and its cunning.
If you like an action film, if you like a gun battle movie, if you like an movie with a super anti-hero who just can't be stopped despite all the odds being against him, then John Wick Chapter 2 should be perfect for you. My family and I thoroughly enjoyed it.