Action Crime

'John Wick: Chapter 2' Film Review: A brutal, bloody and thoroughly satisfying follow-up

February 6, 2017Ben MK

Eighteen years ago, Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss and Laurence Fishburne helped redefine sci-fi action movies when they starred in The Matrix. Now, on the heels of Reeves' triumphant return to the action genre in 2014's John Wick, he and Fishburne are re-teaming for the follow-up, John Wick: Chapter 2. And this time, it ain't just about a puppy.

Picking up immediately after the events of the first film, John Wick: Chapter 2 finds lean, mean killing machine John Wick (Reeves) ready to retire, after finally recovering the beloved '69 Mach 1 Mustang that was stolen from him. No sooner does he lay a fresh layer of concrete over his arsenal of weapons and stash of gold coins, however, does he receive a surprise visit from a former associate named Santonio D'Antonio (Riccardo Scamarcio), who wants to collect on a debt John owes him, by having John put a bullet in the head of his sister, Gianna (Claudia Gerini).

One exploded house later, and John finds himself en route to Rome, where he must first equip himself with the requisite guns, knives and stylish — yet bulletproof — black suits for the job. But when things go sideways, John must deal with the bullseye on his back, as he goes up against a slew of new opponents, including Gianna's personal protector, Cassian (Common), Santonio's right-hand woman, Ares (Ruby Rose), and basically every single assassin in North America, all of whom are out to claim the $7 million bounty that's been put on his head.

In the bloody mayhem that ensues, returning director Chad Stahelski and returning screenwriter Derek Kolstad make no bones about resurrecting the first movie's kill-or-be-killed scenario, an approach that might otherwise be regarded as lazy, were this any other film. In the world of John Wick, however, one would expect nothing less than another adrenaline-fueled killing spree, which is exactly what this sequel delivers, right down to a reprise of John Wick's cooler-than-cool nightclub sequence, this time set against the backdrop of an ancient Roman fort.

Aside from the brutal action and balletic gunplay, Chapter 2 also continues its predecessor's efforts to flesh out the vast network of underworld syndicates to which its titular antihero belongs. And to this end, not only does the movie give audiences a look at another Continental hotel (this time, located in Rome and run by legendary Italian actor Franco Nero), it also reveals the retro inner-workings of a telephone switchboard that handles the logistics of the film's assassinations, whose very existence belies just how far back the story's mythology stretches.

As for Fishburne's role in all of this, it's by no means a major part, but it's one that will no doubt bring a smirk to the faces of movie fans with fond memories of his and Reeves' reality-bending escapades in The Matrix trilogy. Nonetheless, the reunion is basically the icing on the cake for what is already a kick-ass follow-up to one of the most kick-ass films of all time. And considering that the movie's conclusion clearly sets up a no-holds-barred third installment, one can only hope that Carrie-Anne Moss or Hugo Weaving will eventually make an appearance as well.

John Wick: Chapter 2 releases February 10th, 2017 from eOne Films. The film has an MPAA rating of R for strong violence throughout, some language and brief nudity. Its runtime is 2 Hrs. 2 Mins.

You May Also Like