John Wick 2 opens with a thrilling, edge of your seat car vs. motorcycle chase. The audience isn’t sure why yet, but it’s just the beginning of a non-stop, beautifully choreographed fight scene that sets the tone for the rest of the movie. Wick returns home, re-buries his weapons and his black suit. He is all set to return to his retirement life, or can he? A late-night knock on his door proves otherwise. Enter Santino D’Antonio (Riccardo Scamarcio), there to collect on the marker Wick gave in order to get out of the assassin life. What Wick quickly learns, however, is that you don’t refuse to repay a debt marker. D’Antonio leaves and seconds later Wick’s house is blown to bits. Fortunately Wick and his “dog with no name”, otherwise known affectionately as “dog”, survive. Under the advisement of Winston (Ian Shane), owner of the New York City Continental Hotel, Wick agrees to honor his marker – D’Antonio has commissioned Wick to kill D’Antonio’s own sister. Despite the fact that he doesn’t want to be, John Wick is back in the assassin game.
Great movie moments:
I have to say Keanu Reeves, unlike many of our action actors of old, seems to get better with age. He once again delivers the character with a calm, cool and classy performance. Reeves has definitely managed to stay physically fit and looks good in those black suits.
The Matrix co-stars are reunited. Laurence Fishburne gives a riveting performance as the Bowery King, an old enemy of Wick. Unfortunately Wick must ask the Bowery King for help in his quest for revenge.
Several characters have returned including John Leguizamo as the “auto repair guy” (an understatement). Francis Nero returns as the concierge of the prestigious NYC Continental Hotel.
The action sequences are beautifully choreographed. During a lot of movies you watch these scenes and the camera jumps around so much during an action sequence, it’s a disruption to viewing fluidity. John Wick 2 stays focused.
It’s so refreshing to see an action movie without the need for a love interest – except, of course, the love between Wick and his dog.
The throw-back to the steno pool – I wish I could leave this one up to you to see in the movies, but it’s too good not to mention – the tattooed, yet old-fashion steno pool women that put out the hit contracts to the assassins. Loved it!
Not-so-great movie moments:
There is a particular scene that shows Wick preparing for his assignment and he goes on a methodical shopping spree to purchase clothing and weaponry, using constant metaphors to a fine-dining tasting menu. While the scene is intriguing, it did last a bit long for my taste.
Wick’s car is destroyed in the opening sequence and he calls on Aurelio (John Leguizamo) to fix it. It was a funny moment that felt like it was left flapping in the wind with no closure.
Common joins the cast as Cassian, a fellow assassin. I’m a Common fan and I’m sure the intent was to play the role with a distinct lack of emotion, but he seemed too stiff – almost robotic.
As you can see, I found very few non-likable moments in John Wick 2. I’m glad to see that is quite possible this series will continue.
Overall, I give this movie a 4 out of 5 five stars.
Chad Staheliski (interesting side note, he often stunt doubles for Keanu Reeves in extreme shots)
R – extreme violence, blood and breaking bones, not for the squeamish – even I had to turn my head away a few times.
2 hours and 2 minutes
Missed the first movie?
is available on Amazon.
I have not been compensated for this review and paid for the ticket with my own funds.