Retirement No More – John Wick: Chapter 2 (2017)

They still can’t leave this man alone.  The man who cannot leave killing people and kicking ass in the rear view is back: John Wick (Keanu Reeves).  He gets approached to do a hit, but when he passes, his house gets burned down.  While he may be done with the game, it does not seem like the game is done with him.  When the first John Wick came out, I wasn’t as in love with it as many others were.  Perhaps it came out too close in proximity to The Equalizer for my taste, I never could really put my finger on it.  I liked Chapter 2 about the same as the first one, which is mid-level, but I do feel like if you went bananas over the first one, you’re apt to love this one as well.

1I’m sure there’s some sort of pun about new dogs and old wicks to be made here.

Now I do actually like this crazy alternate universe where almost every human being on the planet happens to be a world-class assassin, and I like that they have this neutral hotel where everybody has this unspoken agreement to not kill one another.  It really does seem like this is not the Earth that we live in, which I do feel is a double edge sword.  While it is interesting to create a world that plays by its own rules, I cared less because I know that the laws of realism do not apply.  For example, police typically fight crime, right?  Well here, they don’t exist, because there are plenty of gunfights in the open street, and there isn’t a siren to be found, and this is in New York City we are talking about here.  Also, at this point, John Wick is basically a Terminator, and while he gets tagged with bullets plenty, they never really slow him down, so tension is undercut by the fact that I know our main character is going to be just fine.

featuredBut hey, you may not be here for a healthy dose of realism.

There are positives to this, and I am not going to deny them.  While it may be light on the story, the action is always well filmed, and from a stylistic standpoint, it is always making the right choices.  Whether it is a rock concert killing spree or a trip to a modern art exhibit, this movie always knows what setting is going to heighten the action.  I also like that John Wick is professional at what he does, and as everybody learned from Zombieland, pros always double tap, which he does plenty of in his combat.  I know Keanu did a ton of training for this, and you can always tell he does the majority of his own stunts.  I also did like the Neo/Morpheus reunion, despite Laurence Fisburne overacting like nobody’s business, giving a 1997 Samuel L. Jackson performance.  I fall short of loving this, but it is still serviceable.

John Wick: Chapter 2 (2017) ***

–  Critic for Hire

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