Sunday, June 4, 2017

John Wick: Chapter 2 (2017)

Director: Chad Stahelski
Writer: Derek Kolstad
DOP: Dan Laustsen
Cast: Keanu Reeves, Common, Riccardo Scamarcio, Laurence Fishburne

After returning to the criminal underworld for repaying a debt, John Wick finds that a huge bounty has been put on his life.

Film begins where the first one ended with John still recovering his dear old car. So there is this big long action set piece even before the opening credits which settles the dog and car issue from the first film. John Wick, now chapter one I guess, did a little bit of world building with the continental hotel and its rules but we were not made to go deep into it. It is those little details and great gun-fu on simple revenge story backdrop that made it a sleeper hit. Revenge aspect can't be credibly rebooted for a sequel and they have opted to explore the assassin world in detail. What brings John back from his retirement again is a very convenient plot device but we don't care. He is forced to go on a mission in Rome and everything is amped up. The film manages to continuously surprise us in a good way and has got plenty of humour to it as well. There are some spoofy  elements to it as well. There is this sequence where the villain is on the phone with Wick and he is about to explain his actions in detail and John just hangs up his phone and checks out from the Continental hotel.

John Wick: the man, the myth and the legend, is super-hero level when he does the action scenes and they get over Keanu Reeves' acting limitations by having him injury plagued and grumpy outside of these sequences. He still manages to cringe us whenever he has to deliver few lines. The action set pieces are his forte and both him and the director does a very good job in having it varied and set to some stunning backdrops. The last one in the Museum with all the reflections is supposed to be a homage to Bruce Lee's 'Enter the Dragon'.

Overall it is a great watch and as good as the first one. That said, things do get a bit preposterous in some places with it being portrayed as if a quite significant percentage of the population is in the assassin business. Which might also explain why they are quite bad at killing John Wick. They have set things up nicely for the third chapter and Laurence Fishburne storyline will be significant to it. Third one is on its way.

Rating: 4/5